Double Cross (Disillusionists Series #2)

Double Cross (Disillusionists Series #2)

by Carolyn Crane

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Overview

Double Cross (Disillusionists Series #2) by Carolyn Crane

SOME SECRETS COME BACK TO HAUNT. OTHERS COME TO KILL.
 
Justine Jones lived her life as a fearful hypochondriac until she was lured into the web of a mysterious mastermind named Packard, who gifts her with extraordinary mental powers—dooming her to fight Midcity’s shadowy war on paranormal crime in order to find the peace she so desperately craves.

But now serial killers with unheard-of skills are terrorizing the most powerful beings in Midcity, including mastermind Packard and his oldest friend and worst enemy, Midcity’s new mayor, who has the ability to bend matter itself to his will. 

As the body count grows, Justine faces a crisis of conscience as she tests the limits of her new powers and faces an impossible choice between two flawed but brilliant men—one on a journey of redemption, the other descending into a pit of moral depravity.
 


From the Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345522726
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/28/2010
Series: Disillusionists Series , #2
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 525,559
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

CAROLYN CRANE lives in Minneapolis with her handsome husband and two daring cats. She enjoys reading and running and loves animals of all kinds. For more than a decade she’s made her living as a freelance writer. Double Cross is her second novel, and follows Mind Games in The Disillusionists Trilogy.


From the Paperback edition.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
 
EZ THE COAT CHECK GIRL, a.k.a. the Stationmaster, draws her face right up close to the glass window of her little booth and fixes me with a piercing gaze. Her fine features and short blonde hair lend her a certain elfin beauty; it’s hard to believe she’s a mass murderer. Honestly, how does a dream invader even kill people? People have bad dreams all the time. They’re just dreams. I should have asked when Packard assigned me her case.
 
“Do you get a lot of patients coming to your clinic with, you know, Morgan-Brooksteens parasites colonizing their organs?” she asks.
 
“Oh, yes.” I run my finger along the semicircular hole at the bottom of the window. The coat check booth is situated along a kind of balcony overlooking the glamorous piano bar below. They call this place the Sapphire Sunset. Soft music and voices rise up through the air, punctuated by occasional hoots of laughter.
 
“What happens to them?”
 
“Well, once a person’s organs are colonized …” I shake my head.
 
“But I thought there were promising new medications on the horizon!”
 
“ ‘Promising’ may be overstating it. Just between us, we don’t want people scared if they have symptoms.”
 
Ez stiffens. “People should be scared if they have symptoms?”
 
“No, I said we don’t want them to be scared.”
 
“Which implies they should be scared!” The conversation winds on like this for a while. It’s easy to frighten a hypochondriac once you understand that it’s just an adult version of monsters in the closet.
 
I study the booth as she describes her symptoms. Stationmaster Ez is separated from the world by two panes of glass; tokens are passed back and forth along a metal gully under the semicircular holes. To the left is a coat carousel, like a revolving door for coats. Patrons hang them on hooks and Ez spins the coats to her side. She slides a token across the gully for each coat, and then she hangs it up and rollers off lint. You’d never know it’s been her prison for three years. The curtain behind her probably hides where she sleeps and bathes.
 
Cut off even from touch! Otto only reserves this level of security for his most dangerous offenders; usually when he makes a force-field prison, non-prisoners can pass in and out. That’s how it was when he had Packard imprisoned in the Mongolian Delites restaurant.
 
A new tune noodles up from below. “Muskrat Love.”
 
Ez lowers her voice. “Whenever he plays that, I want to shove an ice pick in my ear.”
 
“I bet.” I’d like nothing better than to discuss the insanity of that song, but I can’t let her get off subject. “Look, I could take your pulse and examine your skin tonus,” I say. “That would provide certain indicators.”
 
She points to the window. “Antiburglar force field.”
 
I nod. So that’s how she explains it. Probably only the owner knows she lives here. Her eyes grow huge as I pass my hand through. I have to be touching a target to zing her.
 
“How’d you do that?”
 
I’m ready with my story: as a nurse, I have a descrambler that unknits fields just enough for me to pass through.
 
“I never heard of that!”
 
“What if you were having a heart attack? How would I treat you?” I don’t tell her the device is the chain bracelet I’m wearing; she might try to rip it right off. “Come on, let’s see.”
 
Cautiously she places her hand in mine and I pull it toward me, back across the gully, and pretend to inspect her skin as I stoke up the fear I’m going to zing her with. The abnormally large amount of fear I’m able to generate is the reason Packard drafted me into his psychological hit squad, and the reason he could teach me to dump it into other people just by touching them. Later, others from my squad will do the same thing to her, with different emotions. We’re like a demolition team of neurotics.
 
I focus on one of my triggers: the plastic hospital tray where you put your jewelry before an operation. I feel the panic thicken my throat, speed my pulse. The room goes bright.
 
I hate this job more every day.
 
“Can I get one of those? A descrambler?”
 
“Medical professionals only. Let’s see the other one.”
 
She extends her other hand toward mine. It occurs to me that this is probably the first time somebody has touched her in years. I feel like such a fiend.
 
“Can I just see the descrambler?” she asks. “I’d really like to just see it.”
 
“Sorry, I’m not supposed to show it around.” I concentrate on ripping the hole between our energy dimensions in the area beyond my fingers. The hole acts as a kind of siphon tube, allowing my dark, roiling emotions to rush out of me and into her. Out they flow, faster and faster. I try to maintain my composure, standing there inspecting her hand, but I feel this incredible levity as the heavy fear leaves my body, my mind, my entire being.
 
When it’s all gone, there’s only the sensation of wind inside my fingers, and exquisite calm. My shoulders drop. Everything’s new.
 
Ez’s face has gone ashen. “You see something! I know it. Shit!”
 
They never suspect my touch; they always think the fear is from the conversations. Which is exactly why we have the conversations.
 
“I have it, don’t I? The parasites are in me! They’ve colonized my body!”
 
Before I can answer, fingers dig into my shoulders and I’m jerked backward. My hand separates from hers, which is forced back inside the field.
 
I spin around. “Packard!”
 
He grabs my elbow and pulls me across the catwalk and down the wide, carpeted stairs, down into the sea of people.
 
“What are you doing?” I ask, nearly tripping down the last few steps.
 
He drags me into a corner below the coat check catwalk, where Ez can’t see us. This sort of rough treatment would make me a lot angrier if I hadn’t just zinged out all my negative emotions. All the same, I shake him off, and I do my best to fix him with a good glare. “Don’t ever do that again,” I say.
 
His green eyes burn into mine. “Or what?”
 
I have nothing to say to that, unfortunately.
 
“You zinged her!” he says. “I told you to wait for me.”
 
“You were an hour late,” I say.
 
“What have you done?” Packard’s handsomeness doesn’t come from being pretty and finely sculpted; he has a more brutal handsomeness, with big rough-hewn features that look as if they were carved with caveman tools. Tonight, his shortish cinnamon curls are a bit wilder than usual. He glares at his hands, then at me.
 
I should probably be more concerned at this point, but after you zing out all your fear and darkness, life seems pretty great. Glory hour, we call it. Most people think happiness is about gaining something, but it’s not. It’s all about getting rid of the darkness you accumulate.
 
It’s here I notice spots of blood on his white shirtfront and cuffs. His fine black jacket is darker in spots, too. “Oh my God, what happened, Packard? Are you okay?”
 
“How long did you touch her?”
 
“Just enough to zing her.”
 
“How did you get through?”
 
“Otto made me a descrambler.” I hold up my arm with the bracelet. “What’s going on?”
 
“I’m the one to hand out the descramblers if and when people need them.”
 
“Well, Otto gave me one.”
 
“She’s a dream invader.”
 
“I know,” I say.
 
Packard frowns. His roguish allure appealed to me at one time, but that was before I realized he’d tricked me into being his minion for life.
 
I cross my arms and look away, struggling to maintain my usual grudge against him. Everything and everyone is way too enchanting during glory hour. And if a person was alluring to you before glory hour, their allure increases a millionfold. Hell, even breathing is a wonderful, sensual experience during glory hour.
 
He says, “Once she touches you, she has you.”
 
“How was I supposed to zing her without touching her?”
 
Packard pulls a pair of long silver gloves from his pocket.
 
I take them. No wonder he wanted me to wear my silver dress. “They’re lovely.” I run a palm along the smooth cool silk. Everything is so wonderful during glory hour!
 
I look up to find him staring at me strangely. Packard is the most intense person I know. Even when he’s just stirring his coffee or adding up columns of numbers, he has this intensity to him. Like white-hot lava churns inside him, 24/7.
 
“Let me put this in a way that even your glorying mind can understand. I touched you while you were touching an extremely dangerous dream invader. She’s probably linked to us both now.”
 
“Packard, why do you have blood on you?”
 
He stares at my shiny shoes. I grab his sleeve. “Packard. The blood. What happened?”
 
Silence. Then, in a whisper: “Rickie and Francis were shot.”
 
“No! Are they …”
 
“They’re both alive. Rickie needs a lot of surgery. Francis was just hit in the shoulder.”
 
“Shit!” Now I’m focused. Rickie’s a telekinetic Packard took under his wing; Francis is a regular human and Packard’s right-hand man.
 
“Three figures. Hooded gray sweatshirts,” he adds.
 
“The Dorks.”
 
He nods gravely. The trio of serial killers known as the Dorks has been terrorizing Midcity for two weeks. Five shootings and eight dead. Regular people think it’s random. It’s not.
 

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Double Cross 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read from book 1 to 2 but number 2 had loads of wasted writing in paragraphs that went around and around. Many decisions by Justine made your head look like it was at a tennis match. Then bam, youd be back on track with a reasonable idea that Justine would formulate in her crazy mind. Putting aside the fact this was a book of mind control it still took you for synaptic ride. Lets just say, when it was good it was good but when it was bad it was very very bad.
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ReenaJacobs More than 1 year ago
So the saga continues with Justine, my favorite hypochondriac. After reading Double Cross, I have to say, Mind Games is still my favorite in the series. Double Cross wasn’t bad, I think it just lacked the newness I experienced with Mind Games. Justine was pretty much the same gal from the prior book. It wasn’t until the she was backed into a corner that she put her foot down. I don’t know if I’d call it character growth, but more on the lines that everyone has limits. She spent a lot of time getting to understand the inner workings of Packard and Otto. In many ways, Double Cross seemed to be more about those two guys than Justine. This time around I learned so much more about the men in her life. The actions they were willing to take in order to come out on top amazed me. I loved them; I hated them. Packard really showed some character growth, while Otto made quite a showing for himself also. Well, I want to go into more detail, but everything which pops into my head is a spolier, so I’ll just leave it at that. (Sub)plots: The early parts of the novel reintroduced me to the secondary characters. Definitely something I needed considering how long it’d been since I’d read Mind Games, even if it did make for a slow start. I’d say the subplots were mostly setups for the grand finale which ended in a cliffhanger. And what cliffhanger it was. When Justine was saying, “Oh my God” so was I. I’m more than curious to know how this trilogy will end. A couple of my favorite lines: “If you ignore me and nobody’s there to see it, are you really ignoring me?” “Sometimes you have to be a bad person to save yourself, and it takes a little chunk out of your soul, but you do it anyway.” So like I said, I didn’t like it as much as Mind Games, but it was still pretty decent. 4.5 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love you Caroline Crane!!!! I dont think i've ever read such a unique, perfect, and mind blowing blend!!! I'm completely blown away and i honestly didn't expect the second novel to be as good as the first, but i stand corrected. Cant wait to read the next volume and i hope there are plenty more wonderful reads by her to come.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The only down side about this book is that it doesn't really end just stops at a critical point. I thought it was fitting that Packard would loose Justine through his own scheming. I love the authors twist on creating a superhero from what most people would consider neurotic issues. The ending leaves me sad, frustrated, and anxious for the next. I recommend reading.
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jeri03 More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend this series, Can't wait until the next book to come out
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BookAddictPatti More than 1 year ago
I loved the first book in this series, Mind Games (my review here), and was impatiently awaiting this second book in the series. OMG - was it soooo worth the wait! If you haven't read it yet (what are you waiting for?!?) I would recommend reading Mind Games before you read Double Cross. *This review contains spoilers for Mind Games* Justine is still working for Packard and dating Otto. She's disillusioning but is starting to have second thoughts about it, especially when she learns one of her targets might be innocent. This target seems to have a certain sway over her though, and her dreams are suddenly not her own. There's a gang on the loose, targeting highcaps (people with special mental abilities) - I laughed throughout the book at the name of the gang - The Dorks. It seems the mayor had decided that the press was not allowed to give serial killers cool names, thus "The Dorks". The list of names they're allowed to use was hysterical :) As this story moves on, the past catches up to Packard and Otto, and Justine is caught in between their uneasy truce. She's convincing herself she's happy with Otto and mad at Packard, but the tension between Justine and Packard is HOT! (Notice he's made the book boyfriend list!) There's a revelation in this book that shakes Justine and her other disillusionists to their very core. There's also a revelation at the end of Double Cross that shook this reader to the core - the ending slayed me! I really can't do justice to how amazing this book was. I was on the edge of my seat, I didn't trust any of the characters and couldn't stop turning the pages to find out what was coming next. Ms. Crane's writing made this story feel real; I found myself thinking of cheesy 80's pop tunes in the elevator to ward off mind-readers! I'm already tapping my fingers impatiently, waiting for the next book; I've got to know what comes next!
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