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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

on 17 June 2017
It's Psych! What else is there to say?
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It helps a mystery novelization if the person writing it has actually written mystery scripts for the series.

In the case of William Rabkin, he's not only penned an episode for "Psych," but also episodes for "Monk," "Diagnosis Murder" and "Nero Wolfe." That said, "Psych: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Read" is a fun if imperfect little read -- it preserves the wacky, mildly lawless flavour of the TV series, but one of the subplots overstretches credibility.

After Shawn publicly saves a wealthy widow in court, he and Gus earn the wrath of the hate-spewing district attorney, Coules. He takes his revenge by having Gus's car impounded -- and when the boys try to get it back, Shawn's observations prompt the attendant to start shooting. Then poor Gus gets hit with a Mercedes, driven by a sexy, obviously-insane woman named Tara.

Things have not improved when he wakes up: the attendant has been found dead, and Tara has vowed to serve Shawn in all things, because she says he's beaming commands into her head. As the final dose of weirdness, their megamogul ex-classmate Dallas Steele gets back in touch, and reveals that he wants Shawn to invest a bunch of money for him.

Unfortunately Shawn and Gus are quickly implicated in the murders (thanks to Coules) and Dallas reveals a bizarre revenge scheme to publicly discredit Shawn. Worst of all, it turns out that Tara won't hesitate to beat or taser those she thinks Shawn is upset with (including Shawn's dad). And when another body crops up, Shawn must prove that he had nothing to do with it... or else.

"Psych: A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Read" basically reads like an overlong episode of the TV series, complete with a "little Shawn and Gus" flashback, verbal sparring with Lassiter and some lectures from Henry (who has taken up scrapbooking). All it's missing is the obligatory pineapple cameo -- come on, where is Shawn's favorite spiky citrus?

And Rabkin correctly captures the wacky tone of the series, from Shawn's disguises ("Since there was only one cassock, and Gus refused to wear the matching nun's habit") to his theatrical crime-solving methods and bantering dialogue ("You're a medium?" "I used to be, but I think I've put on a few pounds"). Not easy to take that from screen to novel.

And he spins up a series of enjoyably interconnected murders, where it's never quite clear who did what muder and why. The biggest problem is that the whole Dallas Steele subplot is forced. Very forced. Despite Rabkin's best efforts, Steele's vendetta and the subsequent press conference seem far too cartoonish.

Fortunately he does a fair job capturing the personalities of wild, charming Shawn and down-to-earth, steadfast Gus, as well as Lassiter and Henry (who gets tasered). Rabkin misses the mark with a few -- Coules is a 2-D baddie whose vendetta against Shawn gets tiring, Juliet spends the whole book sulking, and Tara is lovingly described as a supersexy, utterly deranged woman who tends to break necks.

"Psych: A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste" has some flaws, but it's still a fun light read that maintains the flavour of the TV series. Here's hoping that Rabkin's next "Psych" novel hits a higher mark.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 March 2009
After one parking ticket too many, Gus' car is towed, leaving Shawn and Gus without wheels. When they go to the impound lot to try to retrieve it, they are met with an angry attendant with a gun. Gus flees the scene and has a run in with a car, leaving him in a coma. When he wakes up 24 hours later, Shawn is being kept company by Tara, a beautiful woman who claims to be a slave to Shawn's every psychic command.

Trying again to retrieve Gus' car, the duo, now a trio, find the attendant murdered. Shawn thinks that it is the sign of a huge government conspiracy (well, as huge as you can get when only the city of Santa Barbara is involved), but Gus thinks they should look a little closer to home. Tara is creeping him out. And when more strange things start to happen, Gus thinks Tara needs to go. The only problem is, she won't leave. How can Gus and Shawn get her to leave? Is she responsible for the things that keep happening to their enemies?

As a huge fan of Psych, I was really looking forward to this book. And it didn't disappoint in the slightest. Take my advise, don't read this book in public. Some of the lines were so funny and situations so absurd I couldn't stop myself from laughing out loud as I read. While the entire book is entertaining, the mystery aspect really kicks into high gear in the second half. Even with the twists and turns, there are still plenty of funny moments. And the author found a great way to insert Shawn's vision into the book.

The book focuses mainly on Shawn and Gus, leaving the rest of the TV cast to even more supporting roles than usual. I could certainly hear all the actors speaking the lines for their characters. While I do agree with other reviewers that O'Hara seemed to be a bit more of a grump than on the show, I did think her attitude toward Shawn was supported by the events of the book.

Along those lines, I did find a couple scenes that go a bit further then they can get away with on TV in bad taste, but neither scene is more then a few lines. I mainly bring it up so fans of the show aren't surprised by them.

My only real complaint is the narrative technique. Most chapters start with Shawn and Gus in the middle of something. After a page, we "flash back" to the end of the last chapter and spend several pages getting them to where we already know they are. It's never confusing. A little of that is fine, but overuse is one of my biggest pet peeves.

Fans looking to play the "find the pineapple" game will be disappointed to learn there isn't one here. But that's a minor "flaw."

Fans of the TV show will be delighted by this novel. It's a great way to spend some more time with some funny characters.
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on 22 May 2009
This book was brilliant but be prepared, it helps if you read a large chunk at a time as so many things are said and happen. I wanted to pace myself over a few nights but felt the need to re-cap. It is a very funny, very good book. For all of those Juliet's critics out there, I whole-heartedly agree with her attitude. I probably would have handled it a lot less professionally!! It was nice to get inside of Henry's mind to see how he views his son. Gus and Shawn were as they should be and the plot was very involved. I enjoyed how everything tied together. Plenty of 'one-liners' as you get in the programme. Can't wait for the next one!!
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on 13 September 2009
Very enjoyable book - just like the TV series.
Plenty of laughs, can't wait to read another one...
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on 11 May 2014
I ordered this to read on holiday and manage to get through in one session. I love the Psych T.V series and thought I'd try one of the books. Although transferring from T.V to book can be quite hard, I found as I knew the characters, their personalities came through in the book. Although not as good as the series, I did laugh at number of points so I would give it a go.
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on 30 November 2014
Loved it. Characters were just as they are in the show. Some good light hearted crime solving and laugh out loud moments.
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on 15 November 2014
Great read
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