Mind Games

Some days it seems like I have a mountain of books to read – and never enough time. It could be worse though.

Back when I was working in radio, a couple of book publicists discovered that I was willing to not only interview authors coming through town but that I would actually read the books beforehand. (Sadly, this is uncommon for radio reviewers. I understand the time constraints though.)

During peak publishing season, September through November, it was not uncommon for me to receive six books a day to read, all in the hopes one or more would pique my interest and I would agree to interview the author. Children’s books, cookbooks, novels and non-fiction – I received them all. I didn’t read every one, there just wasn’t time.

These days I try to be more selective in my books reviews, but I can still get behind. Sometimes it isn’t my fault. Like with Mind Games, a 2018 novel by Nancy Mehl.

I remember being intrigued by a new series featuring an FBI profiler, and since I like crime/mystery novels I asked for a review copy. Since I live in Germany most of the year, I asked for an electronic copy – publishers don’t usually mail books overseas. When it didn’t show up I didn’t think anything of it, my life is always busy.

Imagine my surprise therefore to discover a hard copy sitting on my desk when I went home in the fall. Somehow a print copy had arrived instead. I brought it back to Germany (with a dozen other books) and have just finished it.

The premise drew me in: the woman who catches serial killers is herself the daughter of a serial killer. Is becoming an FBI agent an act of atonement for Kaely Quinn? As a child, did she suspect her father was more than he appeared on the surface? Is there a tie between her past and the killer who is taunting her, promising she will be his or her final victim?

When it comes to mysteries and thrillers, I am a harsh critic. Usually I can figure out the ending somewhere in the first hundred pages. There is a formula to these things after all. With Mind Games I had no difficulty figuring out who the killer was. Then I changed my mind. And changed my mind again.

When the culprit was revealed I was not surprised, just annoyed with myself. The clues were there, but I missed them. So did Kaely Quinn, almost at the cost of her life.

I will admit, some aspects of this novel seemed a stretch to me – but they are minor. It is a little too fast paced – I’m not sure a real-life killer could have moved that fast. And I was left with the occasional plausibility question as to whether something really could happen as described, but I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt. I was being entertained, and that is what counts.

I see from Nancy Mehl’s website that there is a new novel in the Kaely Quinn series, Fire Storm, now available. I’ve got that one mentally flagged as beach reading this summer. I want to know what happens next to Kaely Quinn.

 

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”

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