Title: Mind Over Monsters
Author: Jennifer Harlow
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Mystery
Series: A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation (Book 1)
Publication Date: October 8, 2011
Format: Paperback, 288 Pages
ISBN-10: 0738726672 (Midnight Ink)
ISBN-13: 978-0738726670 (Midnight Ink)
Reviewed by: Kristie
Beatrice Alexander is no ordinary schoolteacher—she can move objects with her mind, an embarrassing skill she hasn’t yet mastered or embraced. After nearly killing her brother by accident, she joins the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad, the Federal Response to Extra-Sensory and Kindred Supernaturals. This top-secret branch of the FBI combats ghosts, ghouls, and other monsters threatening humanity.
With her teammates—among them a handsome former-detective werewolf and an annoying Don Juan vampire who’s dead-set on seducing her—Beatrice investigates her first case. Disgustingly dismembered bodies have turned up, bearing bite marks of the undead. Someone—or something—is raising a horde of hideous, bloodthirsty zombies. Armed with Bette, her trusty machete, Beatrice takes on the master of the flesh-devouring corpses, who’s guarding a horrifying secret . . .
Featuring a team of monster hunters with unique paranormal abilities, the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation series combines humor, suspense, and supernatural crime-fighting.
Quick & Dirty: This paranormal mystery starts off a little slow but then picks up for an enjoyable ending.
Opening Sentence: I was surprised to find that a man who wore a three-thousand-dollar suit was staying at the Comfort Inn.
Beatrice Alexander is a psychokinetic. She can move objects with her mind. The bigger the object, the more it takes out of her. So when she saves her student from being run over by lifting a Hummer over them, she spends several days in the hospital. Her brother confronts her at the hospital, saying that she is a freak and it upsets her enough that she inadvertently almost kills him (although how she almost kills him isn’t really explained). News of her exploits reaches the ears of the FBI and she is confronted by the leader of a special unit called the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad with a job offer and a way to help her control her gift.
After training, Beatrice moves to Kansas where the team is stationed. The rest of her team is an eclectic bunch: werewolf, vampire, teleporter, medium, pyrokinetic and psychometric. Beatrice barely has time to get to know her new teammates when they are sent out on a mission. Two people in Colorado have been found ripped apart and it’s up to Beatrice and her team to find out who is causing these murders. In the process of trying to solve these murders, Beatrice fights her feelings for Will, the werewolf and Oliver, the vampire. Beatrice misses her old life in San Diego, but she’s never had more fun when she is trying to solve the case. As the story moves along, Beatrice discovers she has other talents as well as being able to move objects. These new talents actually scare her teammates but ultimately they help in the end.
Beatrice is really the girl next door type just with strange powers. She has kept mainly to herself so no one would find out about her powers. She has unintentionally levitated objects when she is mad or has nightmares. She is a likable character. She is not woe-is-me about her powers. She never complains. She does what she can to fill her new role. She is a little freaked out about learning that these strange creatures are real but she doesn’t dwell on it. She believes she isn’t brave but when it comes down to it, she definitely steps up to save the day. I really did like Beatrice. She is a character that I definitely would read about again.
Mind Over Monsters does start off a little slow, but the pacing was enough to keep me hooked. The real action doesn’t really kick in until about 100 pages in and Bette the machete doesn’t show up for quite a while, but when she does, Beatrice really does kick butt. I enjoyed the world that Jennifer Harlow creates for Beatrice; it is really easy to follow.
Mind Over Monsters is only told from Beatrice’s point of view. Her character does grow as the story goes along, but there really isn’t any depth to the supporting characters. She has a crush on Will but she really spends more time with Oliver and even though he is really cocky, I’m rooting for that relationship more.
This series has the potential to be a really good. Since the foundation of the world has been laid down, I hope the next book focuses on the relationships with the characters more. I couldn’t find anything on the next book except for the excerpt at the end of the book, no title name or release date, but I am actually looking forward to reading it.
My hand moves for the gun beside me, but I’m not quick enough. I blink and his snout is inches from my face, teeth bared, his paws on either side of me, straddling me. He breathes in short bursts right beside my face, his hot breath smelling of rotten flesh. My eyes water and it takes all my willpower not to let them become full-fledged tears. He’s going to eat me.
I try to pick him up, but the concussion must have impaired my psychokinesis. Go to Plan B. My hand begins inching toward the gun again. Werewolf Will’s eyes move from my face, to the gun, then back to me. He responds with a low menacing growl, complete with more teeth. My hand shifts back to the ground, and the noise stops. I’m out of ideas. I can’t think over my pounding heart. Seconds tick away like hours as neither of us budges. His green eyes study my face as if it was a piece of fine art. How can his eyes be so human when the rest . . . There’s no anger in those eyes. No malice. Just sadness. “Will?” I whisper. His lips move into a snarl as his snout moves closer. My eyes close and my breath literally stops. This is it. Please just let it be quick.
But instead of teeth on my face, a soft, wet something moves up my cheek. My eyes fly open. We’re face to face until he moves to my other cheek, licking from jaw to eye. Oh. My. God. This is too frigging bizarre. He returns to my other cheek, caressing it with his tongue. I must taste good. Or this is a werewolf French kiss. As if that wasn’t creepy enough, his snout tenderly muzzles where he just licked. This is not how I imagined our first kiss. “Um, Will?” I whisper.
A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation Series:
FTC Advisory: Midnight Ink provided me with a copy of Mind Over Monsters. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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