Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mind Games by Nancy M. Griffis

Publisher:           Regal Crest Enterprises

The year is 2081 and some humans have suddenly begun to show an extraordinary degree of psychic ability. Because they possess a characteristic that most people do not have, those who don't understand them persecute the psychically gifted and there is a growing movement in the US to isolate them in detainment camps. When you read Mind Games, it's not difficult to see the comparisons with the experiences of Jews, gays, AIDS patients and the like. 

One of the most powerfully gifted, Rebecca Curtains, has joined the police force in Washington, DC, to use her telepathic ability to solve cases and to show that other people have nothing to fear from the psychics. The problem is that she finds as much prejudice within the police department as exists in the rest of the country. The book opens with her being the victim of a gay bashing that her work partner not only allowed, but may have set up. Consequently, Rebecca finds herself with a new partner, Genie Marshall, who is famous in the Violent Crimes Division for not being able to work with anyone. Rebecca needs a "normal" person to ground her when she works or she can get lost in her mind. Ironically, Genie is able to establish that bond and they become an extremely effective team.
The partnership is formed in the midst of a violent crime wave being committed by a serial killer. 

When Rebecca is unable to pick up any traces of the killer at any of the crime scenes, she begins to realize that the killer has psychic abilities too and now he tries to use them to destroy her. The only thing that keeps her from going insane is the bond she has established with Genie. 

Rebecca is also having problems with the psychic community because there is a growing separatist movement that wants the psychics to withdraw from the rest of society. The partners have to deal with the distractions of the psychics versus "normals" situation, while trying to chase and being chased by the serial killer whose control over Rebecca grows constantly stronger.

Mind Games is an entertaining mystery. The suspense is maintained through the story and it's not clear until the very end who the serial killer is. That's always a plus in a mystery. Rebecca and Genie are an interesting pair to read about, although they end up in the hospital an unusual amount of time. The only problem with Mind Games is not in the mystery, but in the fact that it's supposed to be set in the future. For a society that has begun developing genetic psychics, there's no explanation for this trend and the invention and science of everything else seems frozen in time. Nothing else seems to have changed seventy-five years in the future.

If Mind Games was meant to be just a mystery, then set it in the present. There are certainly enough stories about psychics helping the police today to make the story plausible. If it's supposed to be science fiction, then the general style of life has to be different in the future. This isn't a key point to the story, but it is enough to distract from the story. If you're looking for a nice mystery with just a little romance included, this is the book.

No comments:

Post a Comment