Author: Carolyn Crane
Series: DISILLUSIONISTS TRILOGY
Plot Type: UF
Ratings: V3, S3½, H2
Publisher and Titles: Spectra
Mind Games (2010)
Double Cross (2010)
Head Rush (e-book, 2011) (FINAL BOOK IN REGULAR SERIES)
Devil's Luck (e-book novella, 2012, Simon's story)
Crane takes a fresh approach to retribution in this series set in Midcity, USA, located on the shore of Lake Michigan like an alternate Chicago or Milwaukee. She also gives us an imaginative and unconventional heroine and a love triangle unlike any I’ve seen in other UF series. In this world, people with magic (who would be called mages in other series) are called high caps (an acronym for high capacity humans), each with a particular magical ability and each tending to misuse his or her power. Individual high caps can manifest any one of a number of psychic powers, including telekinesis, telepathy, dream invasion, structural interface, psychological insight, memory revision, and prognostication.
Team members (called disillusionists) are taught to channel their bad feelings into the villains’ psyches. As the bad guys and gals absorb more and more of each disillusionist’s fears and anxieties, the team members have a "glory hour" in which they feel much better, but the villains feel much worse, to the point that their lives eventually collapse and they must rebuild their essence from the beginning. Thus, the villains are punished—but nonviolently—and turned into good citizens who have learned from their past mistakes. What a concept! No need for prisons or trials or executions or criminal lawyers!
BOOK 1: Mind Games
In Mind Games, Justine has two other love interests: her normal, human boyfriend, Cubby (who soon disappears from the story), and Otto Sanchez, the hunky police chief, seemingly a good guy (or is he?) who is trying to stop a crime wave in Midcity. Supporting characters are the other disillusionist team members, each with his or her own problems and sad life story. Click HERE to read chapter 1.
BOOK 2: Double Cross
In Double Cross, serial killers threaten Packard, the mayor, and other highcaps, while Justine’s relationships with Otto and Packard take unexpected turns. The ending of Double Cross is definitely a cliffhanger for all three of them. Click HERE to read chapter 1.
I love this series for its fresh take on the UF theme, its neurotically feisty heroine, and its cast of quirky characters. The whole disillusionist/retribution idea is fascinating, and Crane does an excellent job of portraying both the pros and cons of this world.