After their last case involved nearly losing their lives to a serial killer, Chevy and Seneca would love to take things slow, however they are being called in for another murder case. An older couple has been found dead in their home, kneeling and staring at a wall, with no apparent signs of struggle. The men try to go into the victims’ minds and find out what happened, but they aren’t able to get any clues. When a whole group of people are then found, still alive, but similarly staring at a wall in a near catatonic state, it is clear that something dark and dangerous is going on.
As more people turn up compelled by this unknown force, Chevy and Seneca begin digging deeper, probing their minds to try to figure out what is causing the strange behavior. Soon things get even worse, as those who are able to break free of the compulsion end up end up strangely losing any sense of right and wrong and begin acting out in violent ways. Chevy and Seneca find themselves a target as well, as the victims begin turning their hostilities toward the couple. It isn’t helped by the fact that Seneca’s gift of mimicking others’ abilities seems to be going out of whack, and something about his abilities is drawing in both the leader and the followers of this dangerous group. Chevy and Seneca’s lives are at risk, but the connection they have with each other may be just the thing to help them both get out alive.
Lost in the Mind is the second book in Alice Winter’s fascinating In the Mind series and reunites us with Chevy and Seneca. The case is new here and most of the background is explained, so while I think your experience would be enhanced here by reading Within the Mind, you could probably jump into this story without having read the first book.
The guys are living together and happy as a couple, recovering from their battle with the serial killer. Neither is particularly thrilled to get called into another homicide case, but they are soon drawn in by the strange mystery of what is causing these people to go into a trance-like state, staring at the wall, and later to seemingly lose all inhibitions and sense of right and wrong. There is someone causing this behavior, manipulating people, but it is not clear how or to what end. Like with Within the Mind, this story combines a traditional law enforcement investigation with the paranormal and psychological elements as Chevy and Seneca delve into the twisted minds of the victims. We also explore each man’s gifts a little more, particularly Seneca’s, and we see how their connection to each other is leading to a growth and change in their individual gifts that ends up having a big impact here. This story is twisty, but not quite as complex as the first book, where admittedly I found myself a bit lost at times. There is a nice mystery and sense of excitement and danger here that carries the story well.
While the action is driven by the investigation, the heart of this story is really the connection between Seneca and Chevy. They banter and bicker and give each other a hard time, but the love between them is undeniable. I love that these guys aren’t afraid to express their feelings for each other and, when things get difficult, they lean on each other for support. As I mentioned earlier, the case ends up tying together with the men personally and their connection with each other is what helps them get through it. I enjoyed seeing how these guys have progressed in their relationship and how solid things are between them.
I’ll make one note here, which isn’t really a criticism as much as an observation, and that is that I found in this story that Seneca and Chevy have become more and more like Felix and Lane from Winters’ amazing In Darkness series in terms of the way they interact with each other and the humor and banter between them (or perhaps Lane and Felix have become more like them, but I read In Darkness first). I totally adore both these couples and one of my favorite aspects of these two series is the interaction and humor between the men. So I’m all here for it, but I did feel at times we were treading very familiar ground, particularly with some of the humor. A running joke in the In Darkness series is Felix’s fondness for Lane’s mother and the “threat” that she loves him more, that he wants to steal her away from Lane, etc. And here we now have the same jokes between Seneca and Chevy’s mom. So I think it would be helpful for Winters to try to keep these two sets of couples a little more distinct in terms of their humor and interaction, while still keeping the playfulness between them.
I really enjoy Winters’ writing so much and I was quite excited to revisit Seneca and Chevy here in this story. I think the world Winters has created here really lends itself to so many mysteries and investigations and I hope there is a lot more to come for our heroes.