Whispers in the Dark -- Maya Banks
Book 4 of KGI series
2012 Release -- Berkeley Sensation
Adult, Romantic Suspense, Paranormal, Military, Erotica
Maya Banks' fourth installment of the KGI series, Whispers in the Dark, was one of the better of the series' books so far, suspense-wise. It was definitely a page-turner and kept me hooked right from the start. I hadn't been expecting a paranormal twist in this romantic suspense series, but it made for an interesting concept and allowed as a pretty good plot device to propel the book with.
Picking up from the previous book, Hidden Away, Nathan Kelly, youngest of the big Kelly family, has been MIA. We learn that he's been held captive somewhere in Afghanistan and has been beaten and tortured regularly. As his resolve starts to slip and death seems like the best solution to his current captivity and torment, his feels of despair somehow reach out to telepath, Shea Peterson and the two begin their strange, psychic bond.
Shea and her sister, Grace, are on the run because of what they are: psychics. Grace, specifically because she also has the ability to heal others, but at a cost to herself. Because they face an unknown enemy, Shea had decided it would be smarter for them to split up--she has vowed to keep Grace safe and so cuts off all communication with her sister. If she doesn't know where Grace is, she can't give up her sister's location to the bad guys.
When Shea senses that Nathan is coming close to giving up hope for his survival, she reaches out to him, hoping both to comfort him and help him. She talks to him and encourages him to stay strong, she warms his spirit and takes away his feelings of pain and despair, and she pleads with him to help her help him be thinking about where he might be held captive so that she can get the information to someone who can save him.
And when Nathan is safe and sound, back with his family, it's his turn to seek Shea out and help save her and her sister; to find out who's after them and help them stop running from their faceless enemies and keep them safe.
A lot goes on in this book, though with the fast-pacing of events, it's easy to quickly move from one scene to another without dwelling. Whispers in the Dark was very enjoyable and exciting. The beginning was strong with an immediate hook and introduced the premise in an "In Your Face" kind of way that you can't argue with; there is no room for doubting the sudden paranormal twist you hadn't been expecting. And despite some of the tacky dialogue and some of the questionable decisions that Shea makes and some of the reveals and turn of events that gave me slight pause, the entire ordeal is fairly believable in the whole KGI world.
The latter half of the story line is what starts getting a little out of control and ridiculous as each new secret is revealed... but on some levels, it's not like the reveals are completely implausible, and, on some levels, we were sort of expecting some kind of Big Government Conspiracy anyway, right? (I mean, two sisters who are psychic are on the run from some unknown entity who had killed their parents and who are able to keep finding them no matter where they go? That's a type of story line that smacks of Big Government Conspiracy!)
So things still managed to fall into place somehow as the conclusion rounds the corner; and I suspect that the next book will finish up this paranormal chapter of the KGI series with Grace's turn in the main character slot.
The romance was strong and sweet; Nathan Kelly and Shea Peterson have pretty good chemistry and a pretty decent love story to tell. But I can't help but to be a bit conflicted about the "insta-eternal-love" scenario that surfaces due to the whole psychic spin we set into KGI's world for this book--the fact that Shea and Nathan forged a fated bond the first time they connect at the beginning of the book was a good way to try to steer clear of the whole insta-love possibilities, but it sort of... didn't.
Of course, it certainly DOES take away a lot of the standard romantic angst scenarios that could have occurred--since the two of them already know they're going to be together forever, there's no reason for them to fight the inevitable or ask those "Does he/she really love me?" questions. I mean, they can practically read each other's minds and feel each other's rawest emotions. So at least that helps to build on the romantic foundation of the Nathan/Shea love story--of which I'm not so much complaining about, but simply giving some pause on some of my conflicting opinions.
As per usual, the characters are full of heart and wonderful interactions, which makes up for some of the tacky dialogue and some of the out-of-control story progression in his book. The brothers are all snarky and loving as usual; I kind of miss Rusty's whole "Up yours!" attitude, and she gets little time in this book anyway, so it's not like it's a big deal. Nathan and Shea are great characters as a couple and as individuals and I'm interested to see how Grace's story turns out in the next book.
And all is still well in KGI land.