Mind Games - Carolyn Crane
Justine Jones is a hypochondriac. Not a run of the mill, ‘I have a headache maybe it’s something serious pop aspirin and forget about it’ kind of hypochondriac. She is the kind of person who has convinced herself that she is suffering from a life threatening condition and will drop dead every time her scalp prickles. Enter Sterling Packard, who approaches Justine out of the blue and promises her that he can get her the help she needs to free herself completely from her crippling neurosis. What he wants is for her to join his team, the Disillusionists, who go after bad guys that have somehow slipped the system. What Justine doesn’t realize is that by joining she will be unable to leave without risking her life. Mind Games was an interesting PN/UF novel, with nary a supernatural creature in sight. The premise that this group of individuals take out criminals by disillusioning them (breaking down their self worth, driving them to gamble their money away, ratcheting up minor health concerns into the belief that they have some life threatening disease) is refreshing and made all the more intriguing by the secretive Packard, their high capacity functioning leader. Packard gets under Justine’s skin and over the course of the story we learn that she affects him similarly. But things take a turn when their latest case, against Midcity’s illustrious and heroic mayor, makes Justine realize that there are conflicting interests afoot and she must untangle her loyalty and feelings to figure out the truth. I’ve heard that the next 2 books of the trilogy are even better than Mind Games, I look forward to finding out what comes next!