- Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Spectra 9/28/2010
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553592629
- ISBN-13: 978-0553592627
Review Copy Source: Carolyn Crane
Reviewed by: Abigail
SOME SECRETS COME BACK TO HAUNT. OTHERS COME TO KILL…
Justine Jones has lived her life as a fearful hypochondriac until she’s lured into the web of a mysterious mastermind named Packard. He 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, and the other descending into a pit of moral depravity.
Urban fantasy is a genre largely dominated by vampires and werewolves. Occasionally we get a witch or a demon, or rarer still a creature mined from a more obscure mythology. Apparently Carolyn Crane didn’t get the memo because you won’t find a single fang or furry fellow in her Disillusionists Trilogy. Like Mind Games before it, DOUBLE CROSS is an urban fantasy with a retro comic book twist featuring a ragtag band of crime fighters suffering from crippling paranoia. Different? Absolutely. But in the hands of Carolyn Crane, never has being crazy been so much fun.
Tricked into lifelong minionhood by the (villainous?) mastermind Packard in Mind Games, DOUBLE CROSS picks up with the same motley crew of hypochondriacs, gamblers, and fatalists turned unwilling super heroes as they begin working for Midcity’s new Mayor by ‘zinging’ their particular psychosis into Hicap (X-men types) criminals and disillusioning (essentially resetting them back to neutral) them. If you’ve already read Mind Games, you’ll slip right back into this world and these characters like a spandex jumpsuit. If you haven’t, Crane does a decent job of bringing newbies up to speed, but you’ll have missed out on a lot of crucial back story and character development if you jump right into DOUBLE CROSS.
Whether you’re new to this series or not, I’m sure you’ll once again be shocked at how fun it is to be a voyeur amongst these characters in the throes of their deepest fears and neurosis. Throughout DOUBLE CROSS, Crane dropped little paranoid thoughts for her characters into random scenes to remind the reader how close they always are to falling back under that fear. It’s fascinating and perversely funny.
And let’s not forget the love triangle between Justine, Packard and Otto. Initially, Justine was powerfully drawn to Packard, but his betrayal drove her into the arms of the man she had idolized for years. Otto shares Justine’s Vein Star paranoia (you can’t imagine the conversational foreplay these two have about brain aneurisms), and she lives for his adoration. Packard, not one to back down, constantly challenges her to examine her feelings for Otto and compare them to the intensity she felt with him. Meanwhile, the animosity between Packard and Otto comes to a head as their disturbing history is finally revealed.
To sum up, DOUBLE CROSS has accomplished what few books ever do: it blows its excellent predecessor out of the water. Crazy characters, maniacal villains, twisted romance, and an ending that is scream out loud good. I was thinking about it for days afterwards and I still can’t believe the devious double cross (yeah, the title works on many levels). Part of me seriously hates Carolyn Crane for leaving me like this to wait in agony for the conclusion to The Disillusionists Trilogy when it comes out sometime next year. I just hope my Glory Hour lasts till then.
Sexual Content: A graphic sex scene. A semi graphic sex scene.
Click HERE to read an excerpt from DOUBLE CROSS