Title: State of Mind
Author: Libby Drew
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Science Fiction, M/M
Length: Novel (217 pages)
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Grier Crist works for the Organization—a group of Gifted “agents” who use their powers to keep peace, help those in need, and combat criminal influence around the globe. When a suspicious bombing drives Grier to break his ties with the group and go into hiding, the head of the Organization sends model agent Alec Devlin after him, claiming Grier is a murderer and traitor to their cause.
Grier manages to turn the tables and take Alec hostage long enough to convince him that the Organization is lying and hiding something sinister. The two strike a bargain: amidst enemies who want them dead, friends with their own agendas, and the growing passion between them, they’ll work together to bring down the Organization in order to protect the world… and each other.
Grier Crist and Alec Devlin work for the Organization—a group of Gifted agents who use their powers to keep peace, help those in need, and combat criminal influence around the globe. At least that is what each agent is told. But after Grier fails to stop a terrorist bombing, his doubts overwhelm his duty to simply follow orders and he quits his job. Not that the Organization is going to let him leave so easily. He realizes that to survive on the outside will require every trick he has learned in his years as a top agent.
Alec Devlin is a young, idealistic agent. He believes in the Organization and its goals and most of all he trusts his boss and mentor, Ethan Hunter. Ethan rescued Alec when he was a small frightened boy, mistreated by his grandparents who were raising him after his mother died of a drug overdose. Some of the first words exchanged between the two were about trust. Alec had learned early on to trust no one, but through the years Ethan had proved his credibility.
It will take a very special agent with many ‘gifts’ to track down the rogue. With support of the Organization and the ever present ‘Monitor’, Alec sets out on his mission. But once contact is made, he doesn’t immediately call in for back up because he gets a very unusual vibe from Grier, a sexual one. Alec is not opposed to using his good looks in his job and if Grier takes the bait, the capture can be made even easier. But Grier is more wily than it first appears. He captures Alec and convinces the man that something is wrong with the Organization. They make a deal, Grier will help Alec find out the truth and Alec will help Grier learn a new skill.
As the two attempt to contact a friend of Grier’s, the Organization closes in…..
I really liked State of Mind. I read it in less than a day and I don’t think I read all that quickly. From the first blast of a terrorist’s bomb and Grier’s reaction to a lost child and frantic mother, I was hooked. This is Libby Drew’s first published book, but she told me in an email that she has been posting her work on free sites for years.
The primary heroes are well written and their backgrounds and motivations are revealed as the story plays out. I like finding out little bits and pieces of a character’s story during the telling of that story. I don’t like it all at once, at the very beginning. The heroes are complicated men, born with abilities that are not common in the general population, and they use those ‘gifts’ to help others, in a selfless and caring manner. The secondary characters are well written too – Nicholas, Grier’s friend, is a spoiled, egotistical playboy, but he and Grier have a past and he has information that Grier and Alec need. Nicholas’ father, Roman Petrov is a dangerous rival to Ethan Hunter.
Underneath all the action is a tension between the two men. Not just Grier’s cynicism toward Ethan, and Alec defending the man, but a sexual undertone. The men are attracted to each other, each man reveals his first feelings in the thoughts we are privy to, but circumstances intervene time and again. I kept waiting for the sex, which took awhile, but it was very satisfying when it finally happened.
State of Mind is a fast paced story. Just when I thought Alec and Grier could step back, relax, and explore their feelings for each other, more villains show up. That’s probably why I read it so quickly. I even skipped church Sunday morning. (Don’t tell my dad, but I faked a ‘I don’t feel so good, you go without me’ sob story.) 🙂
I highly recommend State of Mind. 5 out 5 stars – almost a Desert Island Keeper except for a few little niggles that didn’t fit, like static during cell phone calls and a friend of Alec’s that he’s kept hidden from the Organization even though he supposedly trusts them. But overall, VERY GOOD reading!!
There is a planned sequel starring Nicholas so we might see Grier and Alec again.