William Rabkin, A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Read (New York: Obsidian, 2009), 274pp
Tie-in books are usually inferior to the thing they are based on, and A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Read, the first book to be based on the television show Psych, is no exception. This is not to say that it is a bad book - it is not. It is a very easy read and, as I'm sure anyone picking it up will already be familiar with the characters and the set-up, the reader can just dive straight in. The plot is interesting enough to retain the reader's interest, but is nothing exceptional. Some of the comedic timing is a bit off, though the book does have plenty of moments of humour. But, in my opinion, the book's main flaw is that the essence of Psych is difficult to translate into book form. The bromance between Shawn and Gus depends as much on the interplay between the two actors James Roday and Dulé Hill as it does on the script, and the characters Jules and Lassie (both criminally underutilised here, especially Jules) are reduced to roles as extras, whereas in the show they are important characters who provide a nice foil to the antics of Shawn and Gus. I think that the only relationship that really rang one-hundred percent true in this book was the one between Shawn and his curmudgeonly father, Henry. In addition, the characters introduced solely for this book - Veronica Mason, Dallas Steele, Tara Larison, Bert Coules, etc. - are rather one-dimensional. But no-one's expecting a great piece of literature here, and the book is an enjoyable quick read. Dedicated fans of Psych, having exhausted their series' box sets (and with rumours that the show's next season will be its last), will be grateful for any competent addition to the franchise. Importantly, whilst A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Read doesn't really add anything unique or special to the franchise, it doesn't embarrass it either, so Psych fans should give it a go.