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Mind Games (Disillusionists Series #1)

Mind Games (Disillusionists Series #1)

4.1 78
by Carolyn Crane

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Justine Jones has a secret. A hardcore hypochondriac, she’s convinced a blood vessel is about to burst in her brain. Then, out of the blue, a startlingly handsome man named Packard peers into Justine’s soul and invites her to join his private crime-fighting team. It’s a


Justine Jones has a secret. A hardcore hypochondriac, she’s convinced a blood vessel is about to burst in her brain. Then, out of the blue, a startlingly handsome man named Packard peers into Justine’s soul and invites her to join his private crime-fighting team. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal. With a little of Packard’s hands-on training, Justine can weaponize her neurosis, turning it outward on Midcity’s worst criminals, and finally get the freedom from fear she’s always craved. End of problem.

Or is it? In Midcity, a dashing police chief is fighting a unique breed of outlaw with more than human powers. And while Justine’s first missions, including one against a nymphomaniac husband-killer, are thrilling successes, there is more to Packard than meets the eye. Soon, while battling her attraction to two very different men, Justine is plunging deeper into a world of wizardry, eroticism, and cosmic secrets. With Packard’s help, Justine has freed herself from her madness—only to discover a reality more frightening than anyone’s worst fears.

From the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Wow! Crane's writing style brings to mind old-school noir, with the compelling attitude of superheroes from a graphic novel. A masterful blend of dark and light, good and bad and all the grays in between, it will draw readers thoroughly into her tale, as they root for the good guys—while trying to figure out just who the good guys are. The ending promises more adventures, and that is a very good thing." 4.5 stars—Romantic Times
"With a twisty, edgy storyline, a unique premise and a fascinating heroine, Mind Games jumpstarts a smart and original urban fantasy series. A fabulous debut!"—Meljean Brook, The Guardians series
"Carolyn Crane writes with deft and evocative flair, creating a fantasy-noir world touched with comic book cool. With a twisty plot, a unique heroine, memorable supporting characters, and an amazingly fresh premise, debut novel Mind Games is a delicious, unforgettable delight. I can´t wait for the next book!"—Ann Aguirre, author of Blue Diablo
“Carolyn Crane’s debut novel is a brilliant original in every way.  Just when I think that urban fantasy heroines are becoming too clichéd and predictable, Mind Games blows me out of the water with its unique premise.  Justine does not wield a katana, or ride a Harley, or kick like a ninja.  Instead she fights with her mind, and speaking as a nerd myself, I find that concept oh so sexy.”—dirtysexybooks.com

Mind Games is a violent U-Turn in a fresh direction, signaling the dynamic and welcome arrival of both Carolyn Crane and the most unique urban fantasy heroine I’ve seen on page in a long while, Justine Jones. And like Justine, Midcity is brightly imagined, beautifully dangerous, and perfectly flawed. Flashy and stylish, this is urban fantasy’s new shot-in-the-arm.” — Vicki Pettersson, New York Times Bestselling author of Cheat the Grave

“Masterful worldbuilding, sly humor, and fantastically quirky characters. I can’t say enough good things about this book. I loved, loved, loved it. A+” — Jill Sorenson, author of Set the Dark on Fire

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Disillusionists Series , #1
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Random House
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File size:
2 MB

Meet 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. This is her first novel, and the first book in The Disillusionists Trilogy.

From the Paperback edition.

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Mind Games 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
rabidreaderWS More than 1 year ago
This book is GOOD! Carolyn Crane has not only given her main character a new angle, a different flaw than most urban fantasy heroines, but she has worked it, used it as part of the plot. Justine has hypochondria and constantly worries about all kinds of ailments, but specifically worries about something called Vein Star Syndrome. I haven't looked this up to see if it's real or not. I'm happy to just sit back and enjoy the book<br/><br/>Justine is trying to deal with her boyfriend, who is having a hard time dealing with her hypochondria, while she's living in fear of dying when she comes across the owner of a Mongolian restaurant. He get's her involved in a "psychological hit squad", helping to fight crime in mysterious ways. She makes friends and learns to use her own fears as a kind of magical power. As you read you learn a little more about this magical world, mixed in the everyday life. In fact, things come to life, such as kids wearing bicycle helmets while they are outside playing, to protect their heads from telekinetic terrorists, or "highcaps".<br/><br/>One of the things I enjoyed about this book is that I learned about a variety of magical differences (between our own reality and this novel's reality) as I went further into the book. I didn't notice any long, protracted paragraphs of information coming at me (commonly known as info-dumps). While I don't mind a little bit of info-dumping, I recently read a book where it totally took me out of the story so I appreciate the way Carolyn Crane handled the gifting of information in her novel. <br/><br/>(please newer writers, don't info-dump right in the middle of an action scene! Please- especially if you want some of your older readers to stay engaged in the book; we might forget that we are reading an adventurous book, think we're reading a textbook and in MY case, put the damned thing down. Done with textbook learnin', long time ago)<br/><br/>Justine also has some reservations about what she is doing, but throughout the book she's working on these reservations. There's one moment where she almost lets anger take over. It works here. I'm also okay with characters that aren't perfect, because then we would have to be reading about saints, all the time, and we centainly aren't all saints.<br/><br/>More things I liked/loved in this novel - dialogue (wonderful!), humor (throughout the book, but not overdone), the sex fit (sometimes, most of the times, it seems inserted for the sake of having it in there - OMG major punnage there-sorry, I can be a little juvenile at times), and great plot twists. I liked the ending also - it's not completely "happily ever after", but not depressingly "things will never be better". You know people will have work to do, relationships are going to shift around and there's going to be sequels (yay! at least two, it's a trilogy). In fact from the beginning of the book to the end, Justine herself had gone through some changes, at the way she looks at herself and the world, as well as how she views others.<br/><br/>Great debut novel, looking forward to the sequels.<br/>
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this novel. This was something original in a sea of the same. I couldn't recommend this book enough.
Yvette4 More than 1 year ago
This is the story of a psychological hit squad. Members of the squad have special abilities and targets that they "disillusion." The squad is run by Packard, a man with special abilities and secrets. Justine is the newest squad member. My description here is very simplistic and does not even begin to convey how truly good the writing is. The characters are very flawed, yet believable and real. The plot is definitely fresh and new and so enjoyable. Highly recommended! I loved it and will definitely re-read.
alexia561 More than 1 year ago
Thought that this book was one of the most original, clever stories I've come across in a long time! Loved Justine, the hypochondriac heroine. And the whole idea of a team of disillusionists was incredibly unique! To actually put together a team of people who use their fears to disillusion their targets, basically rebooting them, was very clever. I didn't exactly get how they transferred their fears into their victims, but they had it down to a science and it seemed to work. And the team was made up of ordinary humans, not the mutated 'highcaps' who have special abilities. Justine is a hypochondriac, convinced that she's going to die any minute now from vein star syndrome. Her life is an endless round of ER visits, countless looks of pity, numerous broken relationships, and panic attack after panic attack. While she doesn't like the idea of being a vigilante, she can't resist the allure of finally being free from her fear. But little does she know that once she signs up, there's no going back. Being a disillusionist is a lifetime commitment, whether she likes it or not. Gave this book a 4/5 rating as I thought it was well written, had great characters, an interesting premise, and had a great plot! This was the first in the series, and I'm looking forward to see what happens next! Book two, Double Cross, is due at the end of September. Can hardly wait!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As has been mentioned in an earlier review, this is a book with a unique storyline, unlike any other UF book I've read. Having read so many, often they all seem the same, but this one stood out. Enough so that I'm writing this review. Interesting characters and premise is just the beginning. Since it is quite unusual, it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I found it an unexpected gem. It was fresh and an intersteing new take by a new author on the scene. I'm eagerly awaiting the next story, Double Cross, scheduled for release in September.
SeeMichelleRead More than 1 year ago
Having lived on the outskirts of normality her entire life due to a eccentric father, Justine Jones would like nothing more to be normal. It's why she's worked so hard for the perfect job and the perfect boyfriend, Cubby. But the one wrinkle in her otherwise neat and tidy life is a severe case of hypochondria. Severe to the point of obsession actually. Justine is sure she is going to drop dead at any moment from the same rare condition called vein star syndrome that killed her mother years before. Knowing that her preoccupation with the disease is going to wreck her life but unable to do anything to stop it, Justine simply continues forward until a simple dinner with Cubby changes everything. One minute Justine is sitting there, enjoying a cozy dinner at Mongolian Delites and in the next, she's meeting the magnetic and steely manager, Sterling Packard. Not such a chance encounter she'll will soon discover. Packard reveals himself to be a highcap, or a human with a rare supernatural ability - his being able to see directly into the emotions of anyone. After taking a glimpse at Justine's neurotic, illness-obsessed mind, he's decided to recruit her into his elite band of crime fighters called the Disilluosinists. Their specialty is to take down those criminals who the law has a hard time pinning down by debilitating them with each of the Disillusionist's own 'specialty' (aka: their particular brand of crazy). Gambling, hypochondria, low self esteem - the Disillusionists hit hard and enjoy an extremely high success rate. Justine isn't too sure about turning vigilante but as she ventures deeper and deeper into the criminal maze of Midcity, she'll quickly learn that innocence and guilt are not so black and white as she thought. To start things off, I have to go ahead and say that Mind Games is unlike any other Urban Fantasy novel you've probably ever read. Ever. It's part sci-fi, part fantasy, a whole lotta noir thriller thrown in for good measure, and multiple parts humor. Hold on people. First off, Justine is unlike any other UF heroine out there. Instead of flashing on the scene fists flying ready to take 'em all down, she's a literal and complete mess. Her hypochondria is gonna land her in an institution any day now but it's not until Packard takes a deep look into her mind and sees her willingness to stand up for justice despite her fears does she get a chance to find her own hidden strengths. And then begin to use those strengths. I loved watching Justine learn to develop her abilities while interacting with her fellow Disillusionists. All of whom alternately either gave the willies or had me cheering loudly - sometimes both at the same time. Mind Games is one of those novels that simply defies classification. One thing for sure however, it boasts an impressive twisty, turny psychological storyline (complete with some truly nasty villains) which stunned me with each new revelation and left me clamoring for more. I just knew it was gonna be good. And it was.
SamG More than 1 year ago
Wow. Okay people, not even kidding: This novel is insanely fun to read. The hours will fly by. I think it might actually be a time machine--it's cool, funny as hell, page-flipping, emergency-ignoring exciting. As a man coming to this book from the literary / sci fi / comic book side of things, I have to admit I was surprised by all this, and especially the writing, whcih is tight, crisp and polished. The characters are original, idiosyncratic, neurotic and brilliantly complex. I've read a lot of raves about this book that discuss the "gray areas" and it's true--the characters are both downtrodden and highly dangerous. The plot touches important ethical ideas and meaty moral dilemmas, but it doesn't take itself too seriously.
EllzReadz More than 1 year ago
My thoughts...This first book in the Disillusionist Trilogy by Carolyn Crane. The book started off by setting the stage with Justine's phobias. It kept a steady pace for about the first 75 pages, then it took off full speed and did not stop until the end. The plot is full of nail-biting, edge of your seat suspense. I did not know who to trust, who was crazy or sane, or what was going to happen next. The Disillusionist team takes criminals and transfers their weaknesses to them. For example, Justine the hypochondriac builds up all her fear of an aneurysm and transfers it to the criminal. This causes the criminal to break down mentally and reboot. This definitely leads to some moral dilemmas for the heroine. The plot of Mind Games is very original. It is sure to please fans of Urban Fantasy. One of the best aspects of this book are the characters. Justine, despite her malady is very strong, kick-butt heroine. I found her very easy to relate to because she seemed like a normal person with extreme fears. She made me think there is a bit of hypochondriac in all of us when I considered how easy it would be to obsess over health issues. Each of the disillusionists have a different fear or compulsion that they are unable to control. We also meet several characters called Highcaps. These are people who have extra use of their brain functions. Overall, I found all the characters interesting and memorable, even the villains. This is a wonderful start to a new series which I am going to continue to read. Crane's writing style leaves a strong impression and stays with you long after you finish the book. This is a very fresh spin on Urban Fantasy and I would definitely recommend this book to adult readers (there is adult language and situations through out the story). Book two, Double Cross will be out in September, 2010.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unique and Surprisingly addictive! In my world paranormal romance is perfect typically i go for vampires and werewolves but I loved this series! This series is nothing like you would expect it takes paranormal to a different places than most of us are used to and it did not disappoint in any way. There is so much to the characters yet your always wondering what really makes them tick. It seems as though so much goes on but in reality the details just take you away and make it so real it makes you feel like your living it. The psychological aspects of all the characters is incredible! This is a must read in my book if you like anything out of the box!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was thrown into this urban fantasy world on the first page, and i didnt know if it was going to work. Stick with it, you wont be able to put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ReenaJacobs More than 1 year ago
I’ll be honest. I grudgingly started Mind Games by Carolyn Crane. The cover didn’t attract me–no sexy half-clad men on the front, just a kickass gal with a knife. The back blurb wasn’t catchy. Hello? This didn’t look anything like the paranormal romances I loved to read. So, I avoided it. It certainly wasn’t a book I’d pick up in the bookstore. So you might ask why I bought the book in the first place. Well simple, it was recommended by twitter peeps. Stepping out of my comfort zone is hard a times, but I finally gave in and decided to give it a try. The first thing I noticed about Mind Games was the first person present tense narrative. Not a style I’ve seen often, so it immediately intrigued me. I have to admit, I didn’t really like the present tense. Each time I picked up the book after a break, I had to reorientate myself to the style. But that’s okay, cause the book itself made up for not conforming to my personal and highly selective preferences. The entire book was one big surprise for me. It was like getting on a roller coast without the preview of the previous riders. Each turn was a thrill, and I never knew what to expect. Ms. Crane threw things at me that made me want to read more just to figure out the big picture. It was excellent! And the plot–what can I say about the plot. It was like an onion with each layer being peeled away piece by piece. Justine was odd to say the least. She definitely wasn’t the typical heroine with external issues ruining her life. No, Justine’s biggest problem was herself. Her obsession with vein star syndrome made her dysfunctional in so many ways, it amazed me she was able to live life at all. I absolutely loved this atypical heroine. She was refreshing and even a little bit wicked. In this novel, Justine has to dig deep to answer Jordan the Therapist’s question, “When is good not good?” It’s certainly a thin line. As for Packard, the conniving bitch, he was a character I loved to hate even as I almost felt sorry for him but couldn’t quite muster the feelings. Throughout the novel, I couldn’t tell if he was a good guy or a bad guy. In the end, I just settled for the thin line, because he certainly walked it. I also loved the group dynamics. The disillusionists were like a bunch of kids playing games–immature but full of good times while being naughty. Overall, this was a most excellent read! I felt like I was reading a comic book in novel format. Other times, it had me laughing so hard, I couldn’t continue because the tears blinded my vision.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
terilhack More than 1 year ago
At first Mind Games was sluggish to read through, with the constant reminder of the main characters fear of her veins star "illness" I was not sure if I would be able to finish the book, that was until Parker. Reading more into the story I really enjoyed Mind Games, because what it brought to the reader was a group of people using their powers to fight evil or redemption from crimes committed. I loved the concept of "touch therapy" and it was a totally new UF angle that had not been present in other series
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Kelly28 More than 1 year ago
This was a good book - I really liked the main characters. It got a little confusing at times, though, and didn't always explain what was going on very well. Overall it was a good start to the trilogy.
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