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Mind Game: An Eve Duncan Novel


Mind Game: An Eve Duncan Novel

This is Iris Johansen’s 100th novel, and the 22nd volume in the Eve Duncan series, so newcomers beware. Though the author valiantly tries to provide a précis of each character’s backstory, there are too many of both characters and stories to recount in any useful detail. The result is some awkward insertions into conversations, with one character reminding the other how she or he saved or offended them in some previous encounter.

The story opens with Jane MacGuire, an artist who is one of the recurring characters in the series, recovering from a disturbing dream. It’s the eve of her return to Scotland, where she will be following the directions of Cira, the legendary founder of the MacDuff clan, who has been communicating with her in dreams about a treasure buried near Loch Gaelkar. Though this latest dream is different, it hasn’t yet deterred her from leaving New York, where she’s been staying with her beloved adoptive parents, Eve Duncan and Joe Quinn. Eve also has a psychic skill similar to Jane’s telepathic ability; indeed, many of Johansen’s characters exhibit unusual traits that give them an exotic aura. That may be in part because they don’t speak conventionally: Michael, Eve and Joe’s not-yet two-year-old, says at one point, “I’ll always remember” --- and it’s clear he understands what that signifies.

"[T]he plot and characters seem like caricatures that cry out for a dose of reality or, at least, familiar humanity."

Jane is going to Scotland to accompany a group of men whom she has known for years, including a scion of the MacDuff clan, to discover the treasure that Cira brought with her to Scotland after Vesuvius erupted millennia ago. The dream that haunts her now involves another --- contemporary --- woman, Lisa. Each time Jane dreams, she’s forced to draw a picture of this woman, who has now begun to bleed.

Eventually it becomes apparent why Lisa is so desperate for Jane’s help: she’s being held prisoner by her guardians and wants Jane to free her. Enter Seth Caleb, another recurring character in the series with whom Jane has a complicated relationship. Arriving in Scotland in his private plane, he proceeds to reveal his connection to Lisa in order to enlist Jane in finding her. Eve and Michael, along with Jane’s old friend, Margaret, also show up. Conveniently for the plot, Eve and Joe have decided to get married in Scotland, ensuring that their lives also will be endangered as various bad guys go after them.

If the plot seems confusing (and that’s without getting to the Greek Islands, Dubai, etc.), it’s because there are at least two plots going on simultaneously, but both involving the telepathic Jane, along with Caleb (who has other powers) and the various characters who populate this series. Perhaps if one has loyally read Johansen’s oeuvre, or at least the previous Eve Duncan tomes, this might be more coherent. As it is, the plot and characters seem like caricatures that cry out for a dose of reality or, at least, familiar humanity.

Reviewed by Lorraine W. Shanley on October 27, 2017

Mind Game: An Eve Duncan Novel
by Iris Johansen

  • Publication Date: September 25, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 1250075920
  • ISBN-13: 9781250075925