Oct 5, 2010

Posted by in Reviews | 7 Comments

Review: Double Cross by Carolyn Crane (The Disillusionists #2)

Urban Fantasy
September 27 2010
Mass Market Paperback
362 pages
Spectra Books

Kick Ass Chick – Justine Jones

From Goodreads
“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.”

What should you expect while reading “Double Cross” by Carolyn Crane?  Something along these lines:

You’re reading the book, “tra la la”, and then BLAM!  Some detail smacks you across the face and you feel a little dizzy.  But you get over it and keep reading.  “Tra la la la la”, and then SPLAMO!  Something else occurs that smacks you upside the head and you see stars.  But you shake it off and keep going.  This kind of thing happens regularly until, sorta kinda but not really completely out of left field, something is said that makes you say “omg omg omg OMG”.  Finally at about the 97% mark, you read something that makes you clutch your chest.  Your eyes swell, but you can’t let your mind go there.  You must persist.  The pain is harsh but you must keep reading and then you reach the end…and you curse.  You curse like a sailor!  WTF?!  Then you drop to your knees, completely spent.  Your cat wonders if you’re alright.  Your children bring you their teddy bears because that will make everything better.  Finally, when you muster up enough energy, you crawl off the ground and you shout at the top of your lungs “Thank you Carolyn Crane for creating this f-ed up world with your (obviously) slightly twisted mind and sharing it with us.”  Then you start to feel an itch because the third and final book’s release date has yet to be announced…and that makes you want to pull out 2 quarts of whiskey and settle in for the weekend rest of the year night.  And you’ll need that whiskey if you are hoping to get any sort of sleep after reading that roller coaster ride!

This book is amazing.   Plain and simple, it’s mind-blowing, unbelievable and totally awesome.

***Contains moderate spoilers for “Mind Games”, book one in the Disillusionists trilogy. ***

“Double Cross” finds us continuing our journey along side Justine, a psychological hit woman also known as a Disillusionist.  Being a Disillusionist has never sat well with Justine.  She is still very upset with Packard for having tricked her into being one of his minions and she swears to never forgive him for taking away her freedom.

There is still the ‘who will she pick’ aspect of the story that began in the first installment.  In one hand there is Otto, Midcity’s new mayor and fellow hypochondriac.  Otto and Justine makes sense because they share a common element – their neurosis.  They took a bit of a break to give Otto a chance to get over Justine’s deceit and to give him a chance to focus on his political campaign.  In the other hand there is Packard.  Packard, Packard, Packard.  He is STILL such a big conundrum!  He deceived Justine and he knows he did wrong, but he wanted to be free.  You can tell he is captivated by Justine, but how does she feel for him?  And he’s just so damn yummy!  Who makes sense and who is best are two different things…and Justine has to figure it out while helping make Midcity a safer place.

The story itself has two parts.  One is about Ez, one of Otto’s prisoners.   Once she touches someone, she can invade their dreams and eventually control them while they sleep.  She is accused of creating an army of sleepwalking cannibals.  Yup, she’s on my list of who I want as a best friend too…okay, not really.  Then there are the Dorks – a group of three who are assassinating Highcaps (those with special mental abilities).  Although the Dork plot line is solved in the book, Ez’s isn’t.  I’m assuming we will be seeing more sleepwalking cannibals in the third book.  Yup.  Sleepwalking cannibals.  Creepy.

It was nice to see quite a bit from a couple of the secondary characters we met in “Mind Games”.  Simon and Shelby play a large role in this book.  Part of Carolyn’s genius is that you are always wondering where everyone’s loyalties lie.  You are always second guessing their intentions and their motives.  The only one you’re ever really sure about it Justine.

You also meet Dashboard Gumby.  I’m not going to go into much detail about him.  I’m only going to say that he is freakin’ cute and a really sweet touch to an otherwise tumultuous ride.

You know you are dealing with a talented writer when you finish a book and don’t know what to do.  Cry, laugh, scream, smile like a fool or break out the Haagen-Daz…I wanted to do all of these things simultaneously when I turned the last page to “Double Cross”, proving once again that Ms. Carolyn Crane is one hell of a story teller and one hell of a writer.

5+ stars

Giggle worthy quote

“‘You know what it’s like with me and Packard?  It’s like in the Peanuts cartoons where Lucy holds the football for Charlie Brown, and tells him to run up and kick it, and then at the last minute she pulls it away and he falls.  And then she begs him to try again, she promises she won’t fool him again, so he tries again, but she pulls it away and he falls again.'”

Swoon worthy quote

“‘I’m thinking about that afternoon you came to the empty restaurant, that day after the Alchemist.  You were so alone.’  He pauses.  I was.  I’d never felt so alone.  ‘Nobody saw it, but I did.  I always see you.  And you came in that door and came up to me and everything was new.’  …  ‘And I touched you.’  He runs a finger along side the cart.  ‘Your skin was electric – I half thought there should be sparks.’  He lowers his voice.  ‘I know you felt it.  You looked so beautiful.  And then you came closer.'”

Books in The Disillusionists series –
Mind Games
Double Cross

  1. Your first paragraph just might be my favorite one ever. “Blam” “Splamo” and “Thanks Carolyn Crane for this f-ed up world”

    hahahaha….LOVE. You summed it up perfectly. UF has exploded onto my favorite list this year…it truly has blown PNR out of the water.

  2. I loved those quotes! Your review described how I was feeling exactly while reading the book.

  3. The peanuts quote is one of my favorite from Justine!

    What a great review. You’ve capture my emotions exactly.

    *shakes fist in the air*
    “Damn you Carolyn Crane”


    Great review! I totally felt the same way during and after reading this book.

  5. Team Gumby all the way!

    But Otto is still so sexy to me for some reason.

  6. Mandi – Thanks! I got SLAMOed often while reading this book!

    Colette – I believe that everyone felt that way while reading it!

    Jessica – “Damn you Carolyn Crane” but in the very best way!

    Spaz – The Peanut review made me smile. It really does sum them up perfectly!

    Katie – You like Otto because you like strange, twisted men… C’mon, admit it! 😉

  7. This was one of my favorites of this year. Nice review.

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