Wow! Crane's writing style brings to mind old-school noir, with the compelling attitude of superheroes from a graphic novel. A masterful blend of dark and light, good and bad and all the grays in between, it will draw readers thoroughly into her tale, as they root for the good guys -- while trying to figure out just who the good guys are. The ending promises more adventures, and that is a very good thing.
Justine is a hypochondriac of infinite proportions. She's lured into a restaurant, Mongolian Delites, by Packard Sterling, who promises he can teach her to channel her fears, but in exchange, she must work for him. Packard leads a team of disillusionists who are hired by those who have been the victim of a crime. The team zings their fears and anxieties into the criminal, and the result is a total collapse.
Justine isn't interested in Packard's troupe until she gets a taste of the peace he can promise. She's also extremely attracted to Packard, but he has lied too many times. As she learns more about this mysterious man, Justine becomes determined to uncover all his secrets. (BANTAM SPECTRA, Mar., 384 pp., $7.99)