With haunting prose and deft psychological insight, Averil Dean spins a chilling story that explores the dark corners of obsessionlove, pain and revenge.
Ten years ago, someone ruined Alice Croft’s life. Now, she has a chance to right that wrongand she thinks she’s found the perfect man to carry out her plan.
After watching him for weeks, she breaks into Jack Calabrese’s house to collect the evidence that will confirm her hopes. When Jack comes home unexpectedly, Alice hides in the closet, fearing for her life. But upon finding her, Jack is strangely calm, solicitous and intrigued.
That night is the start of a dark and intense attraction, and soon Alice finds herself drawn into a labyrinth of terrifying surrender to a man who is more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. As their relationship spirals toward a breaking point, Alice starts to see just how deep Jack’s secrets runand how deadly they could be.
I was immediately drawn to this novel by the cover. I love these kind of covers, big bold text and tantalizing concept going on, and I read the blurb and was like ‘Hell yeah!’ so I got to read it as soon as I got the galley. I couldn’t put it down, and was in love with it by page 10 or something. That’s how freaking amazing this novel is.
In a contemporary Vashon Island in Puget Sound setting, Alice Croft’s life is this dark and intense mix of emotion, thought, kind of evil scheming and plotting and writing. She’s a published author, which of course us book nerds can’t help but love about anyone, hehe, and her series is doing well but she’s struggling with writing the next one because of all the tumult going on in her heart and mind.
Alice’s voice is entirely compelling, she’s observant, smart, foolishly gutsy and takes lots of risks with some things while wearing layers upon layers of protection when it comes to others. There was a point there, I think Chapter 2 it was, when I had this incredible desire to stick her head under water in my bathtub and watch her end her misery there. While reading it, you’ll understand why when the dog thing comes up. The scene was described in harsh, graphic detail and had me heaving (which is no small feat, might I add). But it was a very telling thing about Alice, and as the novel progressed it made total and perfect sense to me. It was exactly this darkness, endless and almost suffocating, that kept so engaged. I loved Alice the way you might have loved Dexter Morgan, for instance. She’s a perfectly unapologetic antihero at times consumed by the expanding darkness in her heart and thoughts.
As the plot progressed, we see her evolve and right at the end there she ends up doing the right-ish thing considering her situation, but there’s a considerable element of Greek fate element going on: what’s been done cannot be fixed or escaped, for any of the characters. And despite their feelings, or all the more because of them, there’s no magically escaping their pasts.
Jack Calabrese was one extremely charismatic character, and one I fully loved and rooted for. Because of that, my heart broke there at the end – which I won’t spoil for you, in case you’re wondering – and I kind of cried in fact for both of them. The villains lover in me wanted these guys to have a happy-ish ending, and there’s just no getting over that desire of mine. Jack was intense, dark yet somehow very contained, like a tornado raging into a small nailpolish bottle – you expect him to explode at some point with monstrous force. I loved him and the way he evolved as the story progressed, and though I wasn’t in love with the end there and what caused it, I fully understood and accepted it, even embraced it.
The love between Alice and Jack is one of the most interesting relationship I’ve read about this year. It’s hugely complex, endlessly dark and seductive, uber-filled with danger and insane chemistry. Everything about their interaction is simply stunningly intense and magnetic, and you’ll get pulled into this vortex of sensuality and danger and you won’t want it to end because it’s so fucking brilliant. There’s explicit one on one, some very delicious D/s going on with growing intensity as the story progresses, reaching scenes that might be too much for the fainter of heart. Keep in mind I’m a regular BDSM reader and I read extreme stuff with ease, so what’s intense and well done for me as a reader might entirely too much for you. This novel is not written in a way that holds you by the hand and eases you into all of this delicious darkness, it’s gonna plunge right into the thick of it and let you fend for yourself. So I advise caution when you do venture inside, but if you’re of a strong enough constitution, by all means, you simply must experience this work of art.
The novel is written in first person present tense, a combo I don’t generally respond to as well, but it worked like a charm for me this time. The one thing that hit my pet peeve nerve was the presence of flashbacks, I’m not a fan of that type of storytelling and usually get all itchy when the flow of time in the novel’s action isn’t the natural order of then, now, later from start to end. But in this story it worked, and I’ve had that happen to me a very limited number of times (right now, I can only remember one other book where it worked for me, in fact), so if you have the flashbacks pet peeve like I do keep in mind this may very well work beautifully for you too since it did for me. Just saying, I’m big on pet peeves, lol.
The novel’s presentation is attention grabbing, the cover is gorgeous and the blurb is hooking, and I’m telling you right now this book is for sure making my Top 10 Best Novels of 2013 (or read in 2013), my favorites list and receives the Bomy Award for Excellence ie the 5++++ rating on my blog. You’ve gotta read this, it’s as simple as that, and I’ll be for sure stalking Averil Dean to snatch up new releases.