I received a copy of this book from Random House UK – Transworld via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The second in the Dr Bloom series has a military theme but remains psychological suspense. Bloom’s help is requested by Karene when her partner a Captain in the Navy goes missing after an explosion at a military ball. The reader gains an omnipotent view of the story as it unfolds but who can be trusted and are all the players in plain sight?
The dynamic between Bloom and Marcus remains troubled after Seraphine, but can they still be an effective investigation team? There are noir elements in this fast-paced story and the insidious menace of Seraphine and her sinister game plan. Flawed, intelligent character gives his story its addictive quality. The plot has many players and twists that leave you gasping at times.
The best kind of psychological suspense with a strong conspiracy and political theme that one imagines will develop in the books to come.
Atae is a hybrid, a Kaji half-breed, living on the capital planet of the Kajian Empire. In a culture dictated by strength and honor, Atae’s father pushes her to prove herself worthy of being Kaji.
At the elite Sula Academy, hybrids like Atae compete alongside the Kaji purebreds, warriors with the ability to transform into savage battle beasts. Atae and her packmates prepare for the Sula Academy Tournament, which will determine their fate within their warrior culture, but a close brush with death threatens Atae’s position in the competition and forces her to confront her weaknesses.
Atae must find the strength to escape a spoiled prince’s wrath, survive her first crush, and help her packmates complete the Tournament, all while keeping the biggest secret of her life from her father. And she must do it without losing her true self in the process.
“I have an idea that I’d like to discuss with you,” the traitor says.
The warrior slams her fist into the traitor’s emerald eyes, and the traitor yelps in surprise at the brutal attack. The punch propels her backward several paces, but the traitor refuses to kneel. She opens one eye as the second swells shut. Still, she manages a menacing glare at the warrior, who crosses her arms with a smug smile.
“It must be quite an idea to risk coming back here,” the warrior says.
The traitor snarls at the quip and retaliates. Prepared, the warrior shifts her weight to the left, so the traitor’s fist skims past her. Surprised by her lack of contact, the traitor hesitates, and the warrior slams her knee into the traitor’s exposed mid-section with a loud snap of a rib. With the wind knocked out of her, the traitor topples forward. Amber eyes show no mercy as the warrior slams her fists into the traitor’s neck. The force of the blow sends the traitor crashing to the ground hard enough to crumble the dirt below them. With a satisfied grin, the warrior steps out of the rubble of soil and weeds to watch the traitor groan and struggle back to her feet.
“It must be an impressive idea to show your face to me, again,” the warrior says.
She grabs the traitor’s hair and wrenches her opponent’s head back in a painful hold. The warrior dips her face close to whisper promises of pain.
“What makes you think I won’t kill you here and now?”
Grimacing, the traitor glares at her attacker, but the warrior’s molten gaze is just as fierce. The traitor clenches her teeth and smashes her forehead into the warrior’s nose, producing a satisfying crunch. With a yelp, the warrior releases her grip and jumps back from the traitor to clutch her broken nose. The traitor wipes at the blood that seeps from her damaged forehead and huffs at the minor injury.
“Because we gave our words not to kill each other when we agreed to meet,” the traitor says. The warrior rolls her eyes as she cradles her nose in her hands and blood pools in her palms.
“Why should I trust a traitor?”
The traitor sighs, and her emerald eyes dim with pain and regret.
“I’ll show you. Wait here.”
The traitor returns to her shuttle before the warrior can argue. The amber-eyed female scoffs at her dismissal and splatters blood on the ground around her. The warrior takes a deep breath before snapping her nose into proper alignment. She bites back a painful groan and peers up into the night sky to fight the tears that flood her vision. She smiles at the adrenaline surging through her body. It’s been far too long since she’s suffered an injury. With dry eyes, she glances back to the traitor’s shuttle to find the emerald-eyed female descending the landing with something bundled in her robe.
Kelly A. Nix is a native-born Texan from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In high school, she competed in rodeo, earned a brown belt in Taekwondo, and strived to be an actress. After graduating with her M.B.A., Kelly enjoys her career in the veterinary industry, and she spends most of her free time with her family, traveling, and writing. An animal lover, she shares her home with three cats, Louise, Rachel, and Orange Kitty, and a Great Dane mix named Dingo.