A humble accountant becomes mixed up in a war between supernatural beings from another dimension in Neely’s (A Mighty Good Man, 2014) paranormal romance.
Accountant Libby Klink is stuck in traffic on the interstate outside Pittsburgh, and it’s almost certain that she’ll be late for work. However, she’s more worried about the strange man who walks up to her idling car, addresses her by name, and asks to speak with her. The man, Nick Geary, then seemingly uses a glowing stone on his necklace to cause Libby to experience a vivid memory of her beloved late father. She lets him in her car, and he explains that he’s a Keeper, who, like others of his kind, acts as a guardian of humankind. Keepers receive “Compulsions” (or messages) from Watchers, who reside in a parallel realm; the Watchers sent Nick to get Libby’s help with something, although he doesn’t know specifics. They decide to travel to see Nick’s family (all Keepers) in Pittsburgh, but on the way, Nick and Libby encounter Haenus Vickery, the leader of the Betrayers, who feed off humans’ “dark” energy but crave the Keepers’ more potent life force. The Betrayers, however, now have something called “Similitude,” which allows them to drain Keepers’ energy with relative ease; someone armed with Similitude, has already killed Nick’s Keeper cousin Dev. But it soon becomes clear that Libby is special, and she may be a threat to the Betrayers, which makes her their latest target. Neely’s short novel moves at a frantic pace. Although it’s dominated by dialogue as Nick and others explain the Keepers’ world to Libby, it dishes out plenty of backstory and plot revelations along the way. Surprises include a secret that Nick is hiding about an event that happened 13 years ago, and what exactly it is that makes Libby a threat to Haenus. Unfortunately, the narrative’s brisk pace sometimes backfires; Nick and Libby’s romance proceeds too quickly, and Libby, an anxiety sufferer, seems to buy into Nick’s unbelievable story much too easily. Still, it’s invigorating to watch as Libby steadily steels herself for her inevitable face-off against Haenus. And although this is the first installment of a series, Nick and Libby’s relationship gets definite closure.
A fast, punchy story with a colorful fictional world for sequels to explore.