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A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Psych    by William Rabkin order for
Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read
by William Rabkin
Order:  USA  Can
Signet, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

One of my favorite TV shows is USA's original series, Psych. Imagine my delight when Psych: A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read arrived on my doorstep I was ... well, psyched! William Rabkin's original novel captures the spirit of the TV show so effectively that fans will not be able to help watching the scenes play out in their mind.

Burton (Gus) Guster is getting pretty fed up with Shawn Spencer always taking advantage of him. Things reach a boiling point when Gus's car is impounded and it is all Shawn's fault. After they walk the eight miles to the impound lot, the guard tries to shoot the duo when Shawn psychically outs the guard as an escaped convict. As they flee the scene, Gus is run over by a beautiful woman. Suffering only a day-long concussion, Gus awakes to find Shawn making friends with Tara, the lady who hit him. Tara may be beautiful, but she turns out to be crazy, claiming to be Shawn's psychic slave. Although Shawn runs the psychic detective agency, Psych, he is not really a psychic, so how does Tara seem to know what he wants? And what happens when Tara takes her orders a little too far? Soon Shawn and Gus are running for their lives from both Tara and the police.

Rabkin does an excellent job turning the hilarious TV comedy duo of Shawn and Gus into a great pair of protagonists in an equally hilarious mystery novel. All the characters come to life in the book the same way they come to life on the small screen, and even those who have never seen the show will fall in love with this zany crime-fighting team. The story has many twists, turns, red herrings and laughs to keep the reader turning pages long into the night.

For those unfamiliar with Shawn and Gus, I would almost call them the 21st century's answer to Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings. Shawn, like Poirot, uses his mind to solve crimes ... although Shawn does it mostly because he is a slacker. Gus tends to end up in the line of fire through Shawn's direction, just as Hastings does Poirot's footwork. This parallel really came through in the book as Shawn drew all of the key players together for the denouement, much as Poirot does. Psych fans definitely need to check out William Rabkin's Psych: A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read. Mystery lovers looking for a humorous read should also pick up this book and see what all the hype around the TV show is about.

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