Review of TOUCHED BY DARKNESS by Catherine Spangler (see her website)
Berkley Sensation, January 2007
For countless centuries, since they destroyed Atlantis, the Belians have gained power through suffering and death. Dr. Kara Cantrell knows too much about the suffering they caused--a Belian killed her lover, Richard, and left her to raise their child alone. She's fled to tiny Zorro, Texas where she hopes she'll forever be free of both Belians and the Sentinals who have battled them through all the years. But no town is too small to escape evil and the arrival of a dark stranger notifies her that everything has changed.
Damien Morgan is an assassin. He's devoted his life to tracking down and banishing the Belians who take over human hosts and indulge in pain and death. He's come to Zorro hunting a new, but horribly powerful Belian--a Belian so strong Damien might not be able to face him on his own. That's where beautiful Dr. Kara comes in. She's the most talented Conductor he's ever seen, and he is attracted to her at both the physical and higher chakra levels. But he recognizes the trap--the emotional bond between Conductor and Sentinal that can leave both of them exposed--and Damien is willing to form emotional ties with no one--not even the beautiful doctor and her wonderfun son--a boy who's already developing Sentinal powers.
As the Belian grows stronger and begins his reign of terror, Damien and Kara are forced to face their fears, acknowledge that they have run from those fears, and turn to fight. But the Belian is sneaky--how can they hope to track him down before he kills again, and again. Can they even save Kara's son, Alex--when the Belian recognizes his unformed Sentinal powers?
Author Catherine Spangler (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Spangler) writes a compelling paranormal thriller. Kara and Damien are both damaged, carry histories that have prevented them from entering into the kind of relationships both need. Throwing them together in the midst of danger is certain to awaken their sexual awareness (especially given the normal Sentinal/Condustor bond), but can this translate into something that will last? Tracking down the Belian's identity adds an intriguing mystery as readers try to outguess Kara and Damien, in order to identify the killer before it's too late.
Spangler's writing grabs the reader, makes the story feel as real as a newspaper headline. Her worldbuilding, with its basis in Atlantian legend, adds a depth to the story. I certainly hope we see more of the eternal battle between Belian and Sentinal from author Spangler.
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