Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dark Moon by Lori Handeland

Spoilers Alert!

Book Description

When dusk falls, nightmares become reality –

Dr Elise Hanover quite literally lives for her job – since quitting would mean meeting a silver bullet with her name on it. She works alone, struggling to unlock the mysteries of an affliction that should only exist in nightmares. But Elise knows from personal experience just how real it is. Because the first time its deadly power pulsed through her veins was the last time she saw the love of her life. Until now…

And forbidden passion is unleashed…

The surprise visit from FBI agent Nic Franklin is merely the first in a series of shocks. After her lab is firebombed and her most bloodthirsty test subject escapes, Elise and Nic have no choice but to join forces. Unfortunately, the situation in remote Fairhaven, Wisconsin, is far from safe: Nic has too many questions about Elise’s work and why she deserted him years ago; townsfolk are disappearing, and Elise feels her own condition intensifying in ways as terrifying and exhilarating as her rekindled attraction to Nic. Now, as a shadowy evil closes in, it’s becoming all to clear that Elise is the only one who can stop it – if it doesn’t stop her first…

Book 3 of the Nightcreature series – two words – not bad.

I read this book primarily because Elise intrigued me. And man, does that girl impress. Nicknamed The Ice Princess, she’s all-blonde good looks, cool, with a penchant for spiky leather Italian shoes. Racing against time, she’s working on a cure for her “affliction”, which is also in thousands others. I like Elise. For all her beauty, brains and deadly power, she comes across as a vulnerable but witty woman, who hides a broken heart and longing for her one true love, Nic. She left Nic seven years ago with nary a word when her “affliction” first presented itself. Seven years later, he re-enters her life and turns it upside down.

Nic is a macho and intelligent FBI agent who is sent a tip to investigate a remote research facility. Lo and behold…there Elise is – his long-lost love whom he feared is dead. I like Nic too. He grapples with what Elise is, the foreign world that she lives in, a life that she’s committed to, but he’s smart and he loves her. I feel that his character is somewhat lost in the story – he doesn’t come across as strong and vivid as he should be. He forms a solid backdrop for Elise and she takes center stage. I wanted more spot light on him.

Elise and Nic’s chemistry is palpable. As the story is told in first-person by Elise, we know her thoughts and feelings. Getting to know Nic’s is trickier. But as the story goes on, I don't doubt that he loves her as much as she loves him. Their romance, both previous and current, doesn’t get much space in the story, but whatever is there is good and ends good.

The main plot of this book is all about Elise - her "affliction"; how she hated herself and it; her feelings for Nic; her yearning for approval and affection from her boss, Edward Mandenauer, a cold and scary old man who commands the monster-hunting outfit called the Jager-Suchers. Elise eventually embraces all that she is and her powerful destiny.

The sub-plot has people murdered and missing from a small town. Strange things are happening and the Jager-Suchers roll into town to take care of business.

This entire story is one big roller coaster ride of action, mystery and Native American Ojibwe mysticism. Terminologies are aplenty and can be confusing (witchie wolves, dark moon, manitou, weendigo etc.) but they are explained properly.

Characters from Books 1 and 2 make their appearance, but this story is complete in and by itself. Atmospheric, mysterious and chilling in parts. No occult practice or overly gory scene.

My rating4
Sensuality ratingWarm

Damn. This series is definitely growing on me, even though I read it back to front. Now I’m intrigued by Leigh and Damien of Book 2, Hunter’s Moon. I’m tempted to buy their book, but what’s holding me back is Jessie, the heroine of Book 1, who I think has a substantial role in their book. From what I’ve read about Jessie, I know I can’t stand her. We’ll see about Book 2.

No comments: