Not only do I write urban fantasy, but I read it…a lot of it, like, every stinkin’ day. Sometimes I hate the genre and all the boring tropes that define it, and sometimes I’m surprised and thrilled by how a talented author can put a new spin on said tropes.
But when an author comes along with a can of lighter fluid and a gleam in her eye, and throws a lit match on the whole genre, I’m starstruck. Enter MIND GAMES by Carolyn Crane, a psychological urban fantasy-comicbook-noir about a hypochondriac who joins an underground team of crime-fighters.
If you buy this book based on expectations delivered via the cover, you’ll be sorely disappointed; it’s one of the most deceptive covers I’ve seen in the genre. And you also might be alarmed by the present tense, or the fact that the heroine is neurotic and unreliable. You might even be worried that the lack of supernatural monsters might disappoint. But it won’t.
What’s more, this isn’t a book that will mildly surprise you. It’s a love-or-hate thing that will either have you deserting it early on (if you have terrible taste) or wanting to gild it and put it on a pedestal…or at least board and bag it and store it in a long box with all the other treasures that you would never-ever sell in a million years. That was me. I didn’t just like the damn book, I LOVED it. In fact, it rung ALL my reading bells:
–I carried it with me, room-to-room, fearful that someone would steal it from me when I wasn’t looking
–Both related to and was repelled by heroine; got angry at heroine’s choices, to the point of berating the character out loud (and angry with myself for secretly knowing I’d make the same choices)
–Kept thinking about minor characters and plot points days after finishing the book, trying to piece together things I wasn’t sure about
–Laughed, chuckled, and grinned many times when re-reading certain phrases and lines
–Charmed by the author’s ability to describe big things with simple, ordinary words
–Two weeks later tried to fight off need to read book again
–Three weeks later worried that the second book in the series couldn’t possibly live up to the first
–Four weeks later paralyzed with fear that I may not read anything else so engrossing this year
Easily my favorite book of 2010. Marry me, Carolyn Crane.
Buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553592610/
Read her blog here: http://thethrillionthpage.blogspot.com/