Review By Kayleigh

Mind Games is a classic Nora story with a twisty cat and mouse game of a killer and a victim.

Favourite Quote:

Content, Thea snuggled in, closed her eyes. She drifted into the dream, so full of color and adventure and magic. While she dreamed, clouds began to smother the stars. In the distance, thunder grumbled.

When the storm came, as predicted, the magic dream became the nightmare.

Goodreads Synopsis: 

As they do each June, the Foxes have driven the winding roads of Appalachia to drop off their children for a two-week stay at their grandmother’s. Here, twelve-year-old Thea can run free and breathe in the smells of pine and fresh bread and Grammie’s handmade candles. But as her parents head back to suburban Virginia, they have no idea they’re about to cross paths with a ticking time bomb.

Back in Kentucky, Thea and her grandmother Lucy both awaken from the same nightmare. And though the two have never discussed the special kind of sight they share, they know as soon as their tearful eyes meet that something terrible has happened.

The kids will be staying with Grammie now in Redbud Hollow, and thanks to Thea’s vision, their parents’ killer will spend his life in supermax. Over time, Thea will make friends, build a career, find love. But that ability to see into minds and souls still lurks within her, and though Grammie calls it a gift, it feels more like a curse―because the inmate who shattered her childhood has the same ability. Thea can hear his twisted thoughts and witness his evil acts from miles away. He knows it, and hungers for vengeance. A long, silent battle will be waged between them―and eventually bring them face to face, and head to head…

Nora has slowly been transitioning her books from a straight romance to more of a women’s fiction with a romantic subplot, and I think Mind Games is an excellent example of this. This is an engaging story with classic Nora elements: A strong female character, a fabulous setting, and an interesting suspenseful murder. The actual romantic relationship for our main character Thea, doesn’t really pick up steam until half way through the book, and you’ll note, he isn’t even discussed in the synopsis. 

This is a fairly intense story – it starts off in vivid detail about the murder of Thea’s parents and the unique gift Thea has that causes her to witness the incident thousands of miles away. From there, we watch her grow up, and figure out how to deal with her gift. She builds a life for herself, helps solve some tragic cases with the police, and deals with a vicious killer who’s head she can get into, and who can get into hers. Nora is an incredible storyteller and I loved the world she has built here. Thea is a fascinating and whip smart character. While she’s almost fiercely independent (which is partially from eldest daughter syndrome and the tragedy in her life and her gift) she is also deeply caring and has an incredible family. Grammie and her brother are two delightful characters that light up the page. 

In classic Nora style, the twisted mystery held my attention. It’s interesting because as a reader, we know who the villain is from the get go. The story is less about solving the mystery and more about solving how Thea will live a fulfilling life free from him. Mind Games has one of the most unique show downs between a hero and a villain that I’ve read in a while. I’m interested in learning what other readers thought of it. 

Mind Games is a twisty paranormal-lite women’s fiction read that will be best enjoyed with a glass of iced tea and a hammock this summer! 

Thank you St. Martin’s Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.