The Disillusionists by Carolyn Crane
Mind Games (#1)
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.
Double Cross (#2)
Kitten-Tiger and the Monk (#2.5)
Head Rush (#3)
Devil's Luck (#3.5)
I finally finished this series up earlier this year, and I loved it, it's become one of my favorite Urban Fantasy stories. I have only shown the blurb for the first book above so I don't spoil anything for you and because it was way too long otherwise.
The idea of using personality traits as a weapon grabbed me first. Zinging a criminal with an overdose of fear, recklessness, despair and apathy, anger and more in an attempt to short circuit them from their wicked ways, and reboot them into a life lived by the law isn't like anything I had heard before. Normally your super powers are being able to fly, shooting lightning bolts, super strength, you know the ones. But super paranoia? Super recklessness? How was that going to work?
While this new idea got my attention, it was the characters that kept me hooked, Justine the most, her inner monologues as she grapples with her paranoia were so akin to some of the conversations I've had with myself that I really bonded to her, I got her 100%. The other Disillusionists are pretty much defined by their traits, but are lovable in their own ways. Packard is a mystery, and one Justine is alternately drawn to and frustrated by. She initially idolizes Otto the Midcity police chief, as does most of the city for his heroic battle against crime, but in time finds out that he hasn't been completely honest with her either.
Towering over all is the Tangle, a complex mess of highway bridges that seem to be a character in it's own right. It's a fantastic stage that gives the feel of a system completely overburdened and decaying, that has become so massive and top heavy it's amazing it doesn't collapse on itself, but provides a perfect location for nefarious activity and hideouts.
I'm sad that the story has come to an end, but I'm satisfied with it.
Right now Carolyn is working on a romantic suspense series called Undercover Associates that I'm looking forward to trying out. While I'm typically more of a fantasy and paranormal fan, it's her character development and interaction that I really enjoy, regardless of the setting. For more information on her work see Carolyn Crane's Website.