“Mind Game” by Iris Johansen blends fast-paced action involving “superheroes” with a bit of romance along with a touch of the supernatural. She is able to portray the characters as real-life people that possess some manipulative power.
Johansen said she feels she writes her characters having these powers “within all my books.”
“I think they present more interesting characters,” she said. “I enjoy exploring how we all have feelings and senses. I truly believe we all have something that is right below psychic powers, although, some have stronger powers than others. We titled the book “Mind Game” because it is about the mind within an adventurous and romantic plot. I want the characters to control it, understand it and expand it.”
While sleeping Jane MacGuire has a dream where she connects with a young woman, Lisa Ridondo, who frantically asks for her help. She is being held captive and is being tortured. Through a series of drawings, Jane connects the dots, determining that Lisa is somehow related to Seth Caleb, a man who both frightens and attracts her. After Seth confirms Lisa is his sister, both he and Jane venture out to rescue her. Taking the kidnappers by surprise they free Lisa who becomes Jane’s BFF.
Meanwhile, Seth is determined to find who the kidnapper’s leaders are and why they used Lisa to find him. The captors are trying to leverage him into using his unique, dangerous gifts to kill a target in a way that wouldn’t cause suspicion. Believing Seth and Jane are lovers and knowing there is sexual attraction between them, she becomes the next target in a ploy to force Caleb to kill or see her killed.
Seth takes center stage in this story on purpose.
“I wanted to develop Seth a bit more,” Johansen said. “I have always concentrated on Jane and her adopted mother, Eve. I find Seth a fascinating character that is a force to be reckoned with. He is a work in progress and grows with each book. He can be wicked, cynical, smart and sexy as hell. He probably would be the ‘bad boy’ of superheroes. He is a turbulent superhero. He wants acceptance but does not know how to achieve it. Because of his terrible childhood, which I explore in this book, he automatically pulls away.”
There is also a sub-plot that involves the other featured characters of this series, Eve Duncan, Joe Quinn and their son, Michael. Jane is related to Eve and Joe after they adopted her, and Michael is her stepbrother. Although Jane’s family is not the forefront of this story, surprises are in store for the trio. Eve is also prevalent in helping Jane understand how to connect with Lisa.
All these characters will remind readers of the “X-Men” superheroes rather than the Marvel ones. Instead of strength being at the forefront, it is the ability to manipulate. In the case of Jane, she can see actual events and people in her dreams. Seth has persuasive powers along with the ability to control a person’s blood flow. Michael has some psychic powers. Lisa is just finding out and developing her powers that will be determined in future books.
This book allows readers to see what it would be like for someone to have talents that are based on biology. The plot and characters are enthralling and likable with explosive energy that jumps off the pages.