A telepath has a near-death experience and later struggles with an inner darkness in Heintz’s (The Six Train to Wisconsin, 2013) paranormal drama.
Kai Guhn had a hand in saving a little boy after a disturbed person kidnapped them both. Her injuries put her in the hospital, but her husband, Oliver, and brother, Caleb, ensure her release when it’s clear that the meds are jamming her “psychic shield.” As a result, she’s in mental anguish, overloaded with other people’s thoughts. She already feels betrayed by Oliver: the abduction was, in part, a revenge against him, and the fact that he shared a kiss with his ex-girlfriend Mickey has done nothing to mend their own strained marriage. But she has a few secrets of her own: she once used her telepathy to hurt bullies who’d tormented her high school friend. Now she feels a “darkness” after having been trapped inside her kidnapper’s head. To break this apparent connection, Kai leaves her town of Butternut, Wisconsin, for New York City. As Oliver searches for evidence against a cop who murdered his childhood pal, Kai faces a new threat in Manhattan: an apparent frame-up against Caleb for illicit activities. This novel, like the preceding installment, is a tortured love story with shades of the supernatural. The characters’ superabilities are understated and well-incorporated in the melodrama; at one point, for example, Kai’s father loses control of his own telekinesis, possibly instigated by the darkness in his daughter’s head. Kai does tend to wallow in her misery, though, and although she’s angry that Oliver sought comfort from Mickey, she later does the same thing with Mickey’s brother, Alex. Still, her distrust of Oliver is, sadly, well-founded, and Kai is generally pragmatic throughout. The latter half of the novel is decidedly more engrossing as Kai and Oliver see what it’s like to be without each other, and her predicament in New York reveals her personal and paranormal strength.
A daring, if occasionally dreary, series installment that shows that love can be an unremitting trial—with or without superpowers.