Ronan Bayne left the police force so he could investigate cases involving the supernatural, which the government refuses to acknowledge. So when his old chief calls him in to consult on a case, Ronan knows it’s serious. Ten women have gone missing in three states without a trace. There is nothing connecting them together, no common denominator, except the blood from the previous victim is found at the new victim’s crime scene. Immediately, Ronan accepts the case and goes to Oregon, where the last woman disappeared.
Dustin McPherson is a psychic, and he’s finally at a good place with it. He’s accepted his visions, and he’s happy using them to help people. When he sees the most recent victim in a vision, he knows he has to help. But the local police refuse to believe him and won’t listen. So he goes to the crime scene, hoping to pick up more from the victim, and runs into Ronan. At first, Ronan doesn’t believe what Dustin is saying. But with a little bit of proof, he’s willing to see what Dustin can offer. With the help of local police, they make some inroads on the case, and agree to start working it together.
Ronan and Dustin travel to the different crime scenes in each state, all the while piecing more clues together. It’s clear the women were terrified, and relying heavily on Dustin’s abilities, they finally have enough clues to know what kind of demon is after the women. When another woman is taken, they head back to California and the latest crime scene.
Dustin and Ronan have been getting to know each other, and they are finally in a place where they act on their attraction. But they both know it isn’t wise, considering they are working together.
With the help of Ronan’s team, the local police, and Dustin’s visions, they narrow down the clues until they are able to find the missing women, saving them from a horrible fate. But they don’t escape without injury, and it seems like their fling won’t be enough to keep them together. Unless they can admit that their feelings go deeper.
The only reason I finished this book and didn’t give up on it at the 11% mark was because it was a review book. This is the kind of review that I hate to write, but to put it bluntly, I can’t recommend this book. I’m going to do my best to explain why this story, though it may have an intriguing premise, for me fell short in execution.
As I said, there was a lot of promise in the premise, and the intriguing blurb was the reason I decided to pick this one up. But almost instantly, I found a disconnect with the writing. The story is told in third person present tense, and this is a style that I do not enjoy. Knowing that’s a personal preference, I was willing to give the book the benefit of the doubt, as I have been surprised in the past. But this story fails to fall into a rhythm with the writing, and I was constantly jarred out of the text. The robotic, stilted sentences were little more than a litany of actions. There was no smooth flow to the narrative, and it read as juvenile at times. Basically, I found it to sound like the MCs were narrating their lives for me, telling each thing they were doing instead of showing me their actions. Because of this, I felt no connection to the story whatsoever. I was removed from the action, and so I cared very little about what the guys were actually doing.
On top of that, I had problems with the dialogue. Not only was it too stilted and unnatural, but the characters, more often than not, spoke in paragraphs. It just didn’t read as believable, as in my experience, people don’t often spout out long paragraphs when just conversing. Dialogue is more natural when there’s a give and take, a back and forth, and that was missing for me here.
Both Ronan and Dustin were flat and one dimensional. I can see where the author attempted to give them depth, but instead in read like inconsistencies. Ronan is a hardened ex-cop who grew up in an Army family. He’s a by the book kind of guy. Stoic and unemotional. Or he’s supposed to be. Really, he just read as bland and flat, as if he was not even capable of emotion. He was a robot, but one who blushed, which I found unbelievable as well, considering who he was supposed to be. So when Ronan had moments that were supposed to be vulnerability, it just seemed like he was suddenly changing his personality. He said he didn’t want to talk about painful things from his past, and then some time later, was suddenly saying it would be good to talk about it. This is just one example, but I found him inconsistent throughout the story.
Dustin was ever so slightly more fleshed out, as there were true glimpses of his spark and his shyness. At least we got to see a few moments from him where he was actually emoting. But he too seemed inconsistent. He was the brazen, brash personality, living his life out loud, but then he’d have these moments where he was shy. And he said he was shy and nervous, so that’s how I knew. He certainly didn’t show me that. He spoke briefly of mental illness and his issues, but it wasn’t fleshed out and developed, and I really felt like it was a huge missed opportunity, since it was tied into his psychic abilities. But honestly, for the majority of the book, I felt like I was reading about cardboard cutouts.
This story could have been an on the edge of your seat ride. With these two men who know the supernatural exists trying desperately to save ten women from the clutches of a demon who was draining their life, I should have been frantically turning pages as the MCs raced against time. But there was no sense of urgency at all. None. Ronan leisurely went about the crime scenes, at first by himself and then with Dustin in tow. They went from place to place, finding new clues, but it all seemed so relaxed that they might as well been on a scavenger hunt for a stuffed toy prize. While I’ll give credit for the creative demon and his motivations, I didn’t care that he was abducting and holding women for his nefarious purposes.
I also thought the plot relied too heavily on deus ex machina. I mean, once Dustin was on the scene, the whole mystery solving revolved around his ability to find clues and what he saw through his visions. Ronan was supposed to be this great investigator, but I have no idea how he would have solved any of this without Dustin’s abilities, as every clue unearthed was because of the visions. Not to mention, everything seemed to work out in their favor a little too easily. There was very little push back from the local law enforcement, which seemed unreal to me, and Dustin was brought on as a consultant in seconds. Dustin’s psychic powers were questioned in the very beginning, which made sense, but then it turned out he had a dozen or more cases he’d helped in before. So why were things still being questioned? And how was it that the supernatural wasn’t known to the world at large, but everyone they ran across and worked with, with the exception of maybe two people, just kind of rolled with it and believed it? This just simply read false, and didn’t work for me.
The one good thing I will say about this book is that when Dustin and Ronan finally had sex, it was at the right time, story wise. These guys weren’t having crazy sex while they were trying to track down a bad guy. They got to know each other, and there was a lull in the action (as it were) when they finally took that step. But that’s all the good I can say about it. Since the characters were so flat to begin with, there was no chemistry at all between them anyway, so I didn’t get much from their sex scenes. On top of that, the miscommunication thrown in at the end felt like it was tossed in for good measure and didn’t feel real for these guys. Not that they showed much emotion, but what little they did show made the ending feel forced.
In the end, I have to say that I can’t recommend this book. Stilted and choppy writing conveyed a lackluster plot and unengaging MCs. What could have been an interesting story fell short in every aspect, and made for a rather tedious read. Skip this one altogether.