Justine Jones use to be paranoid about something being medically wrong with her. Then, this man named Packard changed her and taught her how to zing all that fear into someone else making her a disillusionist. She now works for Packard, though she doesn’t always want to. He sends her on missions for the mayor of Midcity disillusioning highcap criminals so that they can be released back into society.
Highcaps are people who have an extra skill like telekinesis or being able to wipe out memories. They aren’t officially recognized but they are out there and some do cause crimes. These criminals can’t be held in regular jails but are kept contained in areas that are maintained by the mayor. Otto who is a highcap himself but doesn’t let anyone know.
Justine knows though as she is his unofficial girlfriend. They don’t go out in public unless Otto is in disguise. Otto has lots of power but keeping so many criminals contained it getting to him. Packard has the disillusionists breaking the highcap criminals so they can be released.
Justine has another issue, For some reason she feels drawn to Packard, especially after the kiss they shared last summer. She doesn’t like what is going on but has no way to stop her dreams.
When a group called the Dorks starts killing highcaps, Justine, Packard and others start trying to figure out who they are. Somehow, they are tied to Packard and Otto’s past, but how? Plus, Justine begins to wonder about one of the criminals. How is Otto sure she is guilty?
This is the second book in Carolyn Crane’s The Justine Jones: Disillusionist Trilogy. You do not have to read the first book to be able to follow the second but the first book will probably explain how Justine got trapped working for Packard. I can’t tell you for sure as I didn’t read the first book.
The characters are complex as they try to live a normal life while doing paranormal activities. Each main character has a special gift or talent. Justine, as she isn’t a highcap, zings people fear. Packard can see people’s psychological make-up while Otto can hold bearers and move things into solid surfaces. Yet each much maintain a normal behavior to not rise suspicion. Pretending to be what you are not becomes common place.
Justine’s relationships with her friends and co-workers are just as complex. Packard controls her so why does she feel drawn to him? Otto is her boyfriend, so why does having sex with him feel wrong? Sophie is her friend but Justine also worries about her power. Nothing is straightforward and not everything is as it seems.
Trust and loyalty are necessary to survive in Midcity. Justine’s will be taken to the max and if she’s not careful, destroyed.
This book is not a light, fun filled story. It is dark and heavy. Life and death are common place. Descriptions of Midcity are gloomy and not very inviting. This isn’t a place for the naive or unwary.
I’m not sure how to rate this story. It’s not what I typically read. The story was extremely well written. It is written from Justine’s point of view and you travel along with her. Her emotions and dilemmas become real and, at times, almost painful to read. You want things to work out well for her but you are as confused as she is as what would be the best coarse to take. Justine attempts to keep her morals and convictions even as things around her tell her that what she is being told is false.
So, for the style and type of story this is, it is superb. If you are a fan of dark urban fantasy, this may be just what you are looking for in a unique, compelling story.
SOME SECRETS COME BACK TO HAUNT. OTHERS COME TO KILL.
Justine Jones lived her life as a fearful hypochondriac until she was lured into the web of a mysterious mastermind named Packard, who 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, the other descending into a pit of moral depravity.