Justine Jones is a hypochondriac. She is constantly under the impression that she is dying from an affliction called vein star syndrome. She lives her life in constant fear of dying. Despite this she does have a job at a boutique and has a boyfriend, Cubby.
After an odd meeting with the man that swindled her father out of money Justine is asked to join a psychological hit squad that is run by Packard. They’re called disillusionists and as described by Justine:
…dissilusionists are screwed-up neurotics who channel their overload of crazy emotional energy into others. It’s a kind of physics. A kind of energy physics. In a sense, disillusionists crash and reboot people.
Justine’s not sure she likes the idea of being on a hit squad of this kind, she thinks they’re kind of like vigilantes but she figures she’ll do it because when she “zings” someone – which is what they call it when they put their crazy into someone else – all of her fear disappears. But after she agrees to join she finds that things aren’t exactly what they seem. Like who is Packard, really? And why is he stuck in a Mongolian restaurant? Who put him there? And what the hell do they mean she can’t ever leave the disillusionists??
Justine is so messed up. I mean that girl is just positive that she’s going to die from vein star syndrome. Ok, her mother died from it, when Justine was just 13, but apparently no assurances from the medical professionals will assuage her conviction that there is something wrong. When she meets up with Packard and he takes all of her fear away she is one of the happiest people on earth. She’s carefree and uninhibited in what she can accomplish in her life…until about a month later when the fear returns. Because of the resurgence of her fear she returns to Packard and agrees to be on his hit squad – even though she has her reservations. But she’s all for getting the crime rate under control. She is put on a couple of assignments and though one goes horribly wrong, she perseveres. I really liked this about her – her strength in horrible situations. Once her fear is gone she’s quite a strong willed and minded individual and it just showed me how crippled by her supposed affliction she had been all those years.
When she finds out that she has basically become a disillusionist for life she feels betrayed by Packard – who is a man that she has become quite attracted to both physically and emotionally. The other members of the hit squad are all shocked that she wasn’t given a choice and Justine becomes determined that she will not be a disillusionist forever. She will find a way to be free! Despite her feelings of betrayal, however, she still wants to find a way to get Packard out of his prison in the Mongolian restaurant. But when she finds the “criminal” that put Packard into his prison she finds herself falling for him in a big way. How big of a criminal could the police chief be, anyway?
I have to tell ya that I’m not normally a reader of UF. Yes, I’ve read some but it’s not really my go-to genre. But since this was Carolyn Crane’s first book I had to read it and frankly the premise of it hooked me. Well let me tell you I’m so damn glad I read it! Mind Games is a wonderfully action-packed book. It’s got suspense, intrigue, crime-fighting, hot sex and hypochondria. What’s not to love? One of my other favorite things about this book is its dialogue. It’s got a ton of it and I loved that. I’ve found myself completely involved in Justine’s world, loved Carolyn's writing and can’t wait to find out what happens next.
Rating: 5 out of 5