Race the Darkness by Abbie Roads #Review

Posted October 14, 2016 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 26 Comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Race the Darkness by Abbie Roads #Review
Race the Darkness

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: #1 Fatal Dreams
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on October 4, 2016
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

Get it at: add to goodreads

Race the Darkness was…chilling.  And I was oh so glad that Abbie Roads wasn’t afraid to explore the dark corners of humanity with this one.  New series by a new to me debut author and I found her blend of paranormal-thriller romance just the thing.  Did it make me feel the heroine was pushed beyond endurance and what a human being can handle?  Yes.  But then again, the evil that tortured her seemed beyond human, too.

Xander Stone was struck by lightning and the burn scars that disfigure him are the least of his troubles now that he is forced through the pain caused by other people’s thoughts pushing into his mind and by his hyper-hearing.  It does make him a useful tool to the law enforcement agencies when they need him to ‘listen’ to the criminals sitting in the interrogation room.

Xander’s life was not exactly happy before the lightning incident.  At age seven, when his step-mother and step-sister left, something broke inside his father and the man ignored Xander ever since.  His uncle is a bitter man.  And Xander isn’t much better.  He and a police detective are hostile because of the way Xander is with the man’s sister, but she knows the score and Xander made it clear there would be no relationship.

And into his mind comes a woman’s voice begging for his help.  Xander thinks he is finally certifiable and tries to ignore it, but then he is compelled to find her.  When he does, it almost drives him to his knees with guilt.

Isleen Walker has been living imprisoned and tortured by a mad woman for eight long years.  Her grandmother was abducted with her and her mind has already snapped.  But just when Isleen is about to give up, her gran is lucid long enough to tell her that her dream rescuer will come.  Isleen has seen the same man in her dream for years and she has called out to him in her dreams, but so far, nothing.  Then he is there and they must work together to keep her safe from the sadistic threat that isn’t done with her.

Alright, this one was riveting and shocking.  The evil and insanity were chilling.  The characters were boldly drawn and not always likeable particularly Xander.  He’s had a lot happen to him and it makes him rough around the edges and always angry which makes sense.  He doesn’t give a flip about anything anymore.  It was interesting seeing him interact with everyone around him and have to change now that Isleen was in his life and the truth from the past is coming out.

The romance was the beautiful though fast fated mate type which was alright because Xander needed all the help he could get.  Isleen is broken and needs to feel safe at all cost.  Xander gives her that.  But she’s got a spark left in her when she encounters Xander’s friends with benefits partner who doesn’t want to let Xander go and doesn’t want to think that they never had anything real.  This was never an issue of cheating, but it does mean that Xander has some ‘splaining to do and must make things right all around.  The romance is a powerful element, but I didn’t feel like it was the most important one which made it a nice balanced story.  There is the danger and it was not blithely swept under the rug.

The suspense was long and drawn out so that by the time the horrible truth came out, I was breathless with shock.  Wow, didn’t see that coming at all.  And this was even with getting one of the bad guys’ perspective.

Now, I want to make it clear that I really enjoyed this book, but I also found a couple things that nagged at me.  One, was Isleen.  Without spoilerish details, let’s just say that eight years of deprivation and torture and then what came afterward that kept piling on felt just that- piling on. It was getting extreme even before the last horrific scenes took place.  Secondly, I loved this romantic pair and loved them together, but I felt that the romance relied heavily on the connection to the legend of a fated mates thing.  First he is her rescuer, and then her rescuer, then the issue of the other woman, then her rescuer, and so forth.  I guess I wanted to see some evidence of a relationship build before the ‘I love yous’.  So definitely not big deal stuff, but it was there.

So, in summary, I felt this was a strong beginning and I enjoyed the author’s dark, gritty world, psychic gifts, and characters.  Her plot was nicely twisty and I look forward to the next book featuring the enigmatic FBI consultant who was introduced in this one.  I definitely recommend it for other thriller romance fans.

My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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  • Romantic suspense, yay! I love that. And ohhh, 4 stars. I need to check this out! Awesome review Sophie 🙂

    • I’m getting back into romantic suspense, too. Hope you like it if you try it.

  • Debbie Haupt

    This sounds fantastic and #1 with a debut author I want! Thanks!

    • Oh yes! I was impressed with her writing. Hope you get the chance, Debbie.

  • I’d not heard of this book! Sourcebooks Casa has been publishing some really good ones though. I’m glad it was riveting, and the romance was powerful but not overwhelming to the story! It sounds like you hit the jackpot with this one. =)

    Great review, Sophia!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • Yes, it was fun to try a new to me author and really enjoy her book, Alyssa.

  • I’ve seen this one, debated of picking it up. I like hearing that it’s chilling, perfect for this time of year.

    • Exactly! It was a great match since I was in the mood for spooky reads.

  • I think one would be a bit too dark for me, but I do always find it impressive how authors can write books like this that explore the dark depths of humanity. It always makes me uncomfortable to read about characters that are so evil and do so many bad things, I rather be spared the details. It does sound like the romance is well done and that sounds nice how it isn’t the most important element as with everything going on I think it would feel weird if the romance would take over everything. Although it does sound like some extra time to build the romance would’ve been nice. I am glad to hear you enjoyed this one and it was interesting reading your thoughts about it.

    • Yeah, this one really pushed my comfort zone. The bad guys in this one were really crazy and evil. You’re exactly right about why I liked that there was less romance in this one. It wouldn’t have fit with all that weird and disturbing stuff going on.

  • Oh wow that’s a long time to be held captive. This sounds like a really interesting read. Thanks for the wonderful review.

    • I thought so, too. I can’t believe she was remotely sane after all that.

      You’re welcome, Mary!

  • I am so glad to see that you liked this one! I have had my eye on it but wanted to wait until some reviews came in to decided if it would be something I would like. I love that you were surprised in the end. Great review!

    • Ha! I do that, too, Carole- let people be my guinea pig readers to see how they react to a book.

      Yes, I did get a shocker there in the end and it was a sickening one, but there was good stuff after that to make me feel better.

      Thanks, Carole!

  • Oh my goodness, Sophia!! It sure does sound chilling, and that’s exactly what I want every now and then! Having some shockers, some real hearth-ache and a story that flows well is always amazing 🙂 Great review!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    • I agree! Once in a while a really chilling story is just what I need. Oh, yes, the things this poor girl went through broke my heart.

      Thanks, Lexxie!

  • I agree that it was really dark and chilling. I think I gave it 4 stars, but it leaned a bit closer to 3.5 for me. For the most part I did enjoy the read however, and plan to read the next one if I can. As usual, very thought out review!

    • There were some weak spots, for sure, but I definitely want to get the mysterious FBI guy’s story in the next book.

      Thanks, Lorna!

  • And you got me, dark, gritty, chilling ..yep mine!

    • Probably not as some, but definitely dark enough for an October spooky read. 🙂

  • Oh man! When this one was offered I wasn’t in a spot for intense and based off that cover knew it would be. Dang it sounds good, though. Love that it gave you some surprises, too!

    • It is always tough to gauge the mood or how life can alter the mood when some of these are offered. I’d say snag it and sit on it until you’re ready, but I’m thinking the publishers might frown on that sort of plan (though I get tempted at times). 😉

      • LOL I’ve been so tempted to do that, myself! So many look good but trying to be good especially when I’m not totally ready for them. Once I get all caught up though…look out!

        • I’m thinking this is a sign of an avid reader.

          I hope to nearly be caught up by the end of the year so it leaves me more free to grab every book that catches my fancy instead of having to pick and choose. 🙂 Reader bliss!!!!

  • I like the sound of this one, even if Xander needs to own up to his transgressions before finding his mate. LOL! I’m curious about what all Isleen has been through and the shocking truth that comes out. What is it? Okay, don’t answer that.

    • Nope, lips are sealed. If you ever pick this up, you’ll thank me for it. 🙂