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After having been struck by lightning, criminal investigator Xander Stone can read other people's thoughts. Islen Walker, on the other hand, has been held captive and tortured for so long that even her mind is a prison.

Islen's silent pleas for help echo in Xander's tortured brain. Convinced that he's losing it, he drowns the voices with booze. Unable to escape her voice, Xander tracks Islen to a trailer in the woods where she's moments from death. Both she and her grandmother "Gran" have been held captive for years by a nameless sadist known only as "Queen." Gran has long been convinced that a savior would rescue them, but Islen wasn't sure until Xander materialized. Gran turns out to be Xander's stepmother, who bailed on their family when Xander was still very young. There's a brief period where Islen thinks Xander is her uncle and has confusing and incestuous feelings for him. He's not, but to be honest, it's never quite cleared up if they are or aren't related. Xander and Islen's romance is unlikely, but the chemistry between them is definitely there. After Queen dies, everyone assumes Islen is safe. But Queen worked for King, a man she was passionately devoted to, who feels he must make sure Islen (whom he refers to as the Dragon) dies. King is the subject of the Chosen One. Confused yet? Added to the mix is a local ghost story about a man who murdered his wife and child, Xander's estrangement from his father, and golden lines like this one: “His gonads had turned into nomads and taken off without him.” 

The characters reach their happy ending, but you might not care.

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4926-3917-6
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2016