After being discharged from the military under circumstances he’d rather not talk about, John “Dom” Domenici is now working for Alexander Kempthorne at Kempthorne & Co. Alexander has intrigued Dom for the two years he’s known him and with Alexander being wealthy and secretive, Dom often feels a few steps behind. But going back to East London, where Dom came from, is dangerous and Dom is hanging on to his job. Alexander knows all about Dom, he knows all about the psychic energy that he possesses, and that’s why Dom is there in the first place, to help contain powerful artifacts. Now, Alexander wants Dom to accompany him to an event where the rich and powerful will be bidding on illegal artifacts and Alexander needs Dom’s help.
Dom is stepping into a world of secrets, a world he has been on the fringe of all along. Dom has always known Alexander has many secrets, but now Dom also has an American agent showing up wherever Dom is. The agent, Kage Mitchell, is so good looking that Dom immediately nicknames him “Hollywood,” and the attraction is there between the men from the start. There is a lot Dom doesn’t know about both Alexander and Kage and when he learns that there are deep secrets in the heart of London, it’s going to be Dom that will have to stop the forces from rising before it’s all over for good.
I saw a new book from Ariana Nash and I was immediately ready. Twisted Pretty Things differs from the previous books I have read from Nash as this book is urban fantasy where all the others I have read from the author have been high fantasy. We meet Dom right away and the book is told solely from his first person point of view. He’s an interesting character with interesting skills and I was intrigued with him from the start.
Here are some things to know about Dom: Dom is a latent, which means he is able to generate and manipulate psychic energy. He is also an authenticator and he is able to read items that have been turned into artifacts, with an artifact being an item that has been near a traumatic event and has soaked up the energy, as well as the memories of that event. Dom works for Kempthorne & Co, an artifact retrieval agency, and they safely remove artifacts from the public. All latents feel the call of the artifacts, some artifacts are more potent than others, and a latent can boost their power in disastrous ways from absorbing power through an artifact. So, there is a lot to take in as we meet Dom and the world he walks through.
For a lot of the book, I felt I was trying to catch up to what was really going on. Everything is mysterious and not everything is explained. Some of this had to do with this being an ongoing series, and some I found that the information was just not given an accessible path to follow.
Dom has chemistry with both Kage and Alexander and while he does spend more intimate time with one of them, it’s not clear who Dom will continue to have a relationship with, if he does end up with either of them. While romance is not the main focus here, I was fine with that as there was enough tension as Dom plays well off of both men and they both bring out different aspects in him. Alexander has a dark past and we get glimpses of it, but he largely remains a mystery. Kage is the secretive American and there were times it felt to me that he was made to be American so digs could be made about what is wrong with Americans and my reading perspective didn’t care for that.
There is a lot of movement in the book and many action scenes. I still had all the questions about Kempthorne & Co., and many questions as to why Dom never had adequate back up and what’s up with his co-workers and questions about the world and questions about Alexander and Kage and more questions than answers. While this is book one and I don’t expect all the answers, I needed a better framework to get this series started and I do hope to find out more of these answers in the next book.