Pros: Great pacing and dangerous stakes
Rating: 4 out of 5
It’s going to take me a long time to catch up on old review books. This time I picked Thea Harrison’s Rising Darkness to dive into; I really enjoyed her Lord’s Fall recently. At least this time I came in on the first book of the series (A Game of Shadows), which makes things easier.
Mary is an ER doctor, but lately she’s been looking… ill. She doesn’t want to eat, and thinks she’s hearing voices in her head. Her ex-husband and friend Justin insists she go to a doctor herself. Instead, Mary goes for a drive. Not much later she sees a news item (on a bar’s TV) that shows her entire house on fire. She’s being stalked, and her only hope is to join up with Michael, a dangerous and oddly familiar man who’s tracking her as implacably as the bad guys are.
Michael falls into the huge, angry killer erotic romance stereotype at first, but he shows more nuance later. The bad guy has some quirks that add depth to him; it’s easy to see him as both man and monster, which is excellent. Ultimately I enjoyed the characters in Rising Darkness.
I found the pacing delightful. Things get plenty scary for Thea nice and early, escalating in quick bursts throughout the story. The stakes feel sufficiently high, and danger abounds. I got pulled in far enough that I stopped taking notes as I read, which is a great indicator.
There are some dark bits. A remembered scene of horrific torture hit me harder than I’m used to; if you’re not okay with that, or the presence of the passionate, delightful sex scenes that offset the darkness, then look for another book to read. There’s only one thing I didn’t like about the sex scenes: reincarnation is an ongoing plot point throughout the book, and apparently there were times when Mary and Michael lived as parent and child, or as siblings. That added a disturbing little incest vibe for me.
I enjoyed Thea Harrison’s Rising Darkness quite a bit, and look forward to reading later books in the series.
NOTE: Review book provided by publisher