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Mind Game is the latest book in the Iris Johansen Eve Duncan series, and it follows the stories of a few people close to Eve. The focus this time is on Jane MacGuire, who has an ability to connect with people during her dreams.
While reading the Eve Duncan series in order is not specifically required (the author has a knack for making sure you know most of what happened in previous books during her telling of the current story), Mind Game does directly relate to Hide Away (book #20 in the series), where Jane MacQuire, Eve’s adopted daughter, played an important part in Scotland (although the story also focused on Cara, which would continue in Night and Day).
Jane has been watching the memories of Cira, a long-dead queen, during her own dreams. Her memories led her to Scotland where the queen and her family supposedly buried a treasure. So far, Cira was the only one who could enter Jane’s thoughts. Until now.
When Jane suddenly starts to dream about another girl, she feels that the girl is contemporary and she is still alive, unlike her dream queen. She also knows that she somehow has to help the young woman, but how can she do it when she doesn’t even know where she is? The only thing she feels is that the girl’s face is somehow familiar to her and that she needs to help her before it’s too late.
Jane has also a talent for drawing, which she does every time after one of her weird dreams end. When she shows the drawings of the young girl to Eve and Joe, they also feel that the woman slightly resembles someone they know, but they can’t place her at all.
Seth Caleb is someone who makes Jane’s heart beat faster every time they meet. He has stolen her love, but they keep each other at arm’s length because Jane can’t trust Caleb, a secretive killer and probably con man as well. When Jane goes back to Scotland to work on finding Cira’s treasure, she meets Caleb once again. What’s more, he even knows who the young woman from Jane’s dreams is.
Now Jane and Caleb have to work together to save the young woman from a horrible fate, and while doing so, things seem to, once again, heat up between them, making it more and more difficult for both to stay away from each other for long.
We once again meet old and beloved characters like Eve and Joe, of course, and also Margaret, Jock, McDuff (the laird in Scotland), and Cara as well. We also meet new people who, I’m sure, will feature prominently in a next Eve Duncan book.
I think what I loved most in Mind Game is the interaction (the mind game) between Jane and Caleb. The tension is always high between them, it literally crackles, and it’s fun to see how their issue is eventually resolved (and for those who have read previous Eve Duncan books, it’s not a big surprise).
Probably the one thing I missed in this book was a bit more of Eve. I love Eve, Joe and their 2-years-old toddler, Michael, who seems much wiser than his young years. I hope they will feature again in a new book with their nuclear family. Michael is not only a darling but an enigma that needs to be solved, as well.
But while we’re waiting for a new Eve book, we can easily delight in the people whom she cares very much for, as they are adorable in their own way.
There is a lot of danger in Mind Game, a lot of mystery, suspense, and also romance. Iris Johansen knows to mix these elements to the max to give us that emotional relief that we all need.
Now, Iris Johansen writes rather in a simplistic way. You won’t find any hints of Hemingway throughout her lines. Her books do not claim to be anything but pure entertainment, a few hours spent away from daily worries. They do not claim to make you a better English speaker or writer.
So, while I do understand the point of view of those who gave the book low ratings, I also know that I love the whole world setting, the characters that became close to my heart and the fun storylines Iris Johansen likes to weave in her book. This is the perfect beach read or (seeing how we’re fast approaching winter) the perfect book to cozy with along with a favorite cup of coffee or tea on a cold and snowy weekend afternoon.
Mind Game by Iris Johansen
Series: Eve Duncan #22
Published by St. Martins Press
Genres: Romantic Suspense, Thriller
Also by this author: Shattered Mirror