Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: strong, but the knife does not belong there.
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’ve won this book almost two years ago, on Smexy’s blog and was very excited about it. But the first time I tried it, I really did not like it. But then, I am a huge mood reader and I really dislike medical things. I’ve picked it up again a few days ago, and this time, I was captivated by this strange and unique story.
Justine is a very unusual heroine, totally absorbed with the fact that she is dying of star vein syndrome, like her mother. Constantly alert the little pricks and pains associated as symptoms and running of to the ER for a CAT scan. Her boyfriend Cubby is getting tired and fed up with it. He thinks it is all between her ears, and she should get over it (of course he is right, and Justine knows it, but as a true hypochondriac, she can’t help herself).
And then suddenly, there is this strange but attractive man in the Mongolian restaurant they are having dinner at, that tells Justine he understands what she is going through, and he can help her get rid of it, be normal for real. Justine doesn’t believe him, but still, she wants to know what he is talking about, and goes back to the restaurant the next day.
This man, Packard, tells her he can teach her to zap her anxiety and fear into someone else, and be free from it, but only for a little while. And he can take it, that is his special power. He continues to tell her the most outrageous story, that he and a bunch of people like her, but with different fears and anxieties, are using their power for good. They disillusion evil people, criminals, kind of reboot their minds, and turn them good. And she can help them, as he has been searching for someone just like her for a long time. Justine doesn’t really believe him, but when Packard teaches her how to “zing” him, it works, and she feels so wonderfully light and free and normal, it is amazing. She refuses to join up though, and leaves the restaurant.
But the feeling doesn’t last, and a month later, she is desperate to get rid of her fears again, after a round of ER rooms and CAT scans. And when Packard introduces her to some of his other “minions”, Justine reluctantly agrees to help them. Packard wants her to quit her job, he will pay for her training and her work, and much more than she normally makes. But she has to keep quiet about her new job “in security” and is not allowed to tell her boyfriend about it. Besides, who would believe her?
Still, Justine struggles with the morality of it all, who are they to decide these people deserve to be disillusioned? To be changed? But the evidence provided to her, makes her agree to her first two targets. A woman who has killed her husband in a most horrible manner, and who has escaped justice. A man who is a serial killer and rapist. Both are secret hypochondriacs, and when Justine zings them with her own anxiety, their fear goes through the roof, and they are easy targets for her collegues to work on further.
Justine has admired Police Chief Otto Sanchez for a long time now, he really makes an effort fighting crime. Like the highcap telekinesist, who kills random people by slinging bricks. And now he is her third target, and she doesn’t believe that he is evil. Justine doesn’t have a choice, she has become dependent on Packard for her sanity, and she cannot refuse him. But when she gets closer to Sanchez, she can’t go on with it. Who is she to believe, Otto? Or Packard? She is attracted to both of them, for different reasons, but Packard lied to her and deceived her, effectively taking away her free will and enslaving her to do his bidding.
This story sure is strange, original, captivating. It is told in first POV, by Justine, and I have to tell you, I am so happy I am not afraid of getting all kinds of diseases. If you are, I don’t think you should read this book, although I have no idea if vein star syndrome is real. Or any of the other scary thinks mentioned. And no, I have no intention of googling them, I don’t want to know.
I liked Justine, she was so happy to be free, to be “normal”, without the constant fear of dying. But she was also thinking things through, morally speaking. Packard really had to convince her to do a job. But Justine gets trapped between the two enemies, Packard and Sanchez, and doesn’t know who to believe anymore. And I have to admit, I don’t know either. I also don’t know who she will end up with. She had to break up with her boyfriend Cubby, she just could not involve him in her dangerous new life, especially after the Silver Widow got her claws in him.
Justine is just a human being with a lot of flaws, and certainly not kick ass or with sudden super powers. She tries to do what is just and good, but she also wants to live.
Yes, I liked this book, and I certainly want to read the rest of the series.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian