I didn’t enjoy this book very much, and the further into the story I got, the less I liked it. I began to feel resentful, thinking of the other books I could have been reading when I was reading this instead.
Initially, I thought the concept sounded interesting. The characters have these special abilities. Brady can sense people’s feelings through touch and Gemma can make things disappear and reappear. I thought they were going to be these cool X-Men-like characters. I’m a huge fan of the X-Men. But their special abilities played a very minor role in this story. Brady isn’t able to sense feelings of guilt from sociopaths – because they don’t consider themselves to be guilty – so his abilities were almost useless in this case. And Gemma has no real control over her powers for most of the book. Also, she claims to be able to read a person’s “true self” the first time she sees someone – however, this hasn’t prevented her from making some extremely bad judgment calls regarding the people in her life.
Too much of the book is about how horrible Gemma’s soon to be ex-husband was. I got tired of reading about what a bad person he was and wanted the story to move on. The author wants to be sure that readers understand the husband was truly evil. He was cruel, he was manipulative, he belittled Gemma, he cut her off from her family, he had a sadistic sex addiction. He even played a practical joke on her that caused her to have a miscarriage. Even though he did all these horrible things, Gemma remained married to him for six years. Supposedly she came from a wonderful family, with no past history of abuse and was very close to her brother, so I was never clear as to why she felt she couldn’t leave this miserable situation.
The only explanation given is that the love of her life, her high school sweetheart, died shortly before they were to be married. She felt she could never love again, so she punished herself by marrying someone she didn’t love. I’m not quite sure why she felt obligated to get married at all. But it’s clear that she’s someone who needs a man to take care of her.
After she separates from her husband, she becomes completely dependent on her brother, who then hires his friend, Brady, to watch over her. Her brother and Brady are both former Navy SEALs, which is good because she needs people trained in dealing with exceptionally bad people. She seems to be surrounded by people like this. Now that her husband is dead, there’s someone out to harm her, someone connected to her husband, who is as, or more evil than was her husband.
I usually enjoy a good mystery, but I figured out the guilty person early in the book. To me it seemed obvious, so I found the rest of the book kind of boring as the characters struggled to figure out who was responsible for what was happening to them. And there are so many bad things happening to them and the people around them – vandalism, multiple murders, fires.
As for the romance, I understand that there is supposed to be something hot and intense between Gemma and Brady, but I didn’t feel it. Their attraction to each other didn’t seem to flow well with the rest of the story. They didn’t seem very convincing or genuine, and their sex scenes felt rushed and unsatisfying.
I found the situations to be too absurd and unrealistic. I’ll tolerate pretty much anything in a book if I like the characters, but I didn’t care much about these people. Gemma seemed so weak and unable to take care of herself and not very smart at all, I felt a strong dislike toward her. Brady’s life was so shrouded in mystery, I never felt I knew enough about him to have any sort of strong feelings toward him.
I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.