by Carolyn Crane
Disillusionists, volume 1
Random House – MM Paperback
JUSTINE KNOWS SHE’S GOING TO DIE. ANY SECOND NOW.
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.
I wanted to read this when it came out, but I was drowning in a sea of review copies, and books that weren’t sent to me, sadly, often were neglected. But I never forgot it, and when I got my Kindle last month, this was the very first book I purchased.
It did not disappoint. I loved it. It was one of those novels that you just want to keep reading on and on, yet you know it has to end sometime. I honestly did not know what would happen next.
It begins with Justine and her boyfriend, Cubby, going out to dinner at a restaurant called Mongolian Delites. Justine sees a man who swindled her father out of some money, and she feels compelled to confront him. When she does so, the guy doesn’t know who she is, and the handsome restauranteur intervenes, apparently taking the man’s side while looking at Justine like she is a walking miracle. When Justine sneaks up to the bar to pay the bill for her boyfriend, the con man approaches her and laughs about his con on her father. She is about to indignantly confront him again when the restauranteur again intervenes, schmoozes the con man, but this time, the restauranteur tells Justine that he knows what the con man is about.
The next day, the restauranteur reveals that he heads up a crime-fighting team, and that the con man is their current target for “disillusionment”.
Justine is the last person anyone would expect to become a crime fighter, or even a minor miracle. She is obsessed by vein star syndrome, a kind of (fictional) brain aneurism that killed her mother, and she is convinced that she is a walking time bomb. Her boyfriend is starting to despise her, and she despises herself for her weaknesses. Packard offers her a unique way to cope, but unfortunately, it has a price.
In the meantime, she’s got this major fangirl crush on the dashing chief of police.
It’s fun. It’s gripping. And I could not put it down. I’ll be getting the next two book in the series for some cruise reading next month.