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    Review of BORN TO DARKNESS by Suzanne Brockmann

    Ballantine, March 2012

    In the near future, America is run by corporate entities and a new drug, "Destiny" offers effective immortality... at the price of instant addiction, the chance of "jokering" by developing unusual paranormal talents, and the price tag of $5000 a hit. A small foundation works with the police to handle "jokers" who, with psychic abilities to rebound bullets, fly or control minds, are simply too dangerous for the ordinary police to handle. This foundation, run by Dr. Bach, aided by Mac, Diaz and Elliot, works to identify and train individuals who are capable of integrating more of their mental capacity... allowing them to read and control minds, influence healing, and fight jokers. Unfortunately, these individuals are very rare... Bach, Mac and Diaz are the only members who can attain the 50% level, so when a new prospect is found, hopes run high.

    The foundation has identified a teenage girl, Nika, as a prospect but Nika is kidnapped before they can contact her--kidnapped by the criminal corporation that makes Destiny. Now, Bach, Mac and Diaz must find her, defeat her captors, and bring her to the institute before she is completely destroyed.

    Author Suzanne Brockmann (see more reviews of romance by Brockmann) develops romantic relationships between three couples, (Mac and sexy ex-Navy Seal officer Shane Laughlin, Diaz and Elliot, and Bach and Nika's older sister, Anna). Of these, that between Mac and Shane is the most interesting. Mac's talent includes the ability to create an instant sexual bond with any man... and she is certain that Shane is interested only because he's reacting to her talent. Mac's desire to create distance between herself and the men in her life has resulted in her being alone, but also protects her from the kind of emotional danger that almost destroyed her as a teen. Dangerous Shane, who was on a mission to pick up a female, any female, when he met her is exactly the kind of man Mac fears most. Diaz and Elliot are a mostly sweet romance... the two men have lusted after one another in secret for years and are now opening themselves to the possibility of a relationship. Bach has never recovered from a youthful romance and has preached the need for celibacy... he finds it almost impossible to admit his attraction to Anna.

    Brockmann weaves romance and adventure through her story. I enjoyed her view of a future America controlled by corporations (Shane's last mission as a Seal involved not a security target but a corporate inconvenience) and limited by constant budget cuts (when Anna reported her sister's kidnapping, the police suggested she turn to profit-seeking amateur-detectives because the police didn't have the staff to do the job). It's a dark but powerful vision that, leaving the paranormal aspects aside, has a frightening believability.

    BORN TO DARKNESS is a dark story. Teenage girls are kidnapped, terrorized, raped, drained of their blood, and casually killed. Some romances result in failure rather than happily ever after. And sometimes sex can be a double-edged weapon. Still, I found it hard to put this book down. Brockmann's strong writing transitioned to a paranormal world far more believable than the usual vampires and shapeshifters. This is a book you may want to slow down and think about.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 3/19/12

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