Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mind Games by Carolyn Crane

This book is so full of twists and turns and moral dilemmas that my mind is boggled.

The heroine, Justine, is a hypochondriac obsessed with a malady called vein star syndrome. Her mother was convinced that she had it, despite a lack of symptoms and died because of it when Justine was 13. Justine drives away friends, colleagues, and boyfriends with her trips to the ER, her constant research, and general paranoia.

Then she meets Packard. He's the head of a group of disillusionists, people who take their own paranoia and push that negative energy into others. Justine is able to push her fears about vein star syndrome into Packard and maintain a normal life. For a time.

Justine doesn't want to join Packard's group, but is forced to when she realizes that she must continue to zap her fears into Packard or risk brain damage. She ends up helping to break down criminals who have committed horrible crimes and yet can't be convicted. These criminals become different people, those who work for good due to the degree of their disillusionment.

Justine feels uneasy about her position in the group and the disillusionment that she causes. At the same time, she is drawn to Packard and committed to finding his nemesis, a man who has trapped him in a restaurant for the past 8 years. Then she meets another man who challenges her ideas about disillusionment and about Packard.

I have to admit that this novel really challenged my ideas of good and evil. I wasn't sure who the good guys and who the bad guys were. The morality of the groups' actions was a fine grey line, and I wasn't sure where anything fell. At the very least, I'll be thinking about what constitutes good and evil for quite a while.