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    « New Fiendish Review: Bloodshot by Cherie Priest | Main | New Fiendish Review: The Right Hand of Magic by Nancy Collins »

    New Fiendish Review: Mind Games by Carolyn Crane

    BOOK:                  Mind Games

    AUTHOR:             Carolyn Crane

    PUBLISHER:        Spectra

    ISBN/ASIN:         9780553592610

    RATING:               4 Stars  

    RELEASE DATE:  Out Now!!!

    There is power in fear and better yet….a lot of money to be had if you know the right people….

    Justine Jones might be a hypochondriac and a neurotic…and yes she might have chased away a few boyfriends with her ridiculous fears, but her personal demons rise to a new level when she is recruited by a shadowy group that makes it their mission to rehabilitate criminals by disillusioning them. That is tactilely invading their psyche and breaking them down emotionally. Once you’re in, you can’t quit, you can’t leave….or you’re dead.

    In this “intacto” urban fantasy, Carolyn Crane ventures into graphic novel territory with a plot that can either be interpreted as campy or interesting. I found I really gravitated towards Crane’s vision of MidCity, plagued by a constant onslaught of terrorizing crimes perpetuated by rogue highcaps, a fringe group of telepaths, precogs, and telekinetics who possess the genetic disposition for extraordinary psychic ability. Even some MidCity residents believe they are myth, and the high caps have never come out of the closet so-to-speak….so essentially they exist as an urban bogeyman. But for others like Sterling Packard who has been imprisoned in a tawdry ethnic restaurant for eight years….he knows they exist. After all…he is one.

    Mind Games was highly entertaining, suspenseful, fresh and astoundingly unique and has an overwhelming graphic novel feel to it-like a stunningly rendered urban fantasy in neon blazing with quirky style. Conflicts like The Brick Slinger and the Dorks are classic comic kitsch, as is Justine’s crush on Chief Otto Sanchez. And Packard’s psychic assault team? They are essentially nothing more than vigilante super heroes; but warm and fuzzy vigilantes with a mission.

    The best thing a writer can do is break the rules…and break them well. Yes, there are cases that this has failed miserably in other novels, but Crane has succeed, done that effectively blurring the line between good and bad, interjecting quite a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor…um yeah…the vein star syndrome thing…classic. Crane reveals an even bigger ethical conflict with the highcaps. Is Justine doing the right thing as a disillusionist? What is Packard hiding? Cranes bigger picture of the highcaps, and their plight as they infiltrate MidCity society on all levels, is clearly a set-up for action in Double Cross, and further for the third installment. I envision an all-out psychic war on the horizon.

    I loved Mind Games because it was so different that the typical urban fantasies I’ve read chock full of snarky humor at every page turn. I’ll definitely be going to read Double Cross, Crane’s sequel.

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)

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