Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Berkley
Released on January 3, 2012
I was in the mood for a darker romantic suspense with a bit of paranormal so I laid my hand on this book just waiting for me to take it off the shelf. I’ve read other romantic suspenses from this author and appreciated her ability to weave a gritty and atmospheric story of a small town hiding some big evil.
The Departed is the second of the FBI Psychics series, but it was the first one I read. I had no trouble jumping in with this one. The circle of people working the cases are loosely connected, but the FBI cases, settings, and romances don’t seem to carry over so this stood alone just fine.
The Departed opens with an FBI team of who work the case unconventionally using their various psychic talents to bring a closed case and justice for living and dead while getting some real villains off the streets.
Taylor Jones heads this unit and has devoted his life to this, particularly the missing children. His sister went missing and both his parents are dead. He has never gotten passed this so won’t act on the attraction he feels toward one of his team, Dez Lincoln, even though she reciprocates. Her near death at the last scene made his feeling of guilt and responsibility flare up along with knowing he was her boss and couldn’t have a relationship with a co-worker. He pushes her way and she takes the nudge all the way out of the FBI, but still does the work of seeing and speaking with ghosts to help the dead find resolution.
Dez was crushed by Taylor’s rejection, but then a ghost calls her to a small town in Indiana where she finds horrors hidden behind white picket fences and learns of the ghosts from the past riding Taylor. They are as attracted as ever, but she has to hold the pain of being pushed away because when her reason for being there is over, she won’t let him hurt her this time. But, what if things have changed?
The book started out with an intense scene and set the table for what to expect through the rest of the book. I confess that it felt a bit like I was being dropped into the middle of something when the romance pair shuck clothes and go at it within the first few pages. But, then the breakup happens and a year passes to reset things for the main part of the story. That opener turned out to be a good thing so I could see a bit of what it was like before the reunion after and I didn’t have to wonder why the pair of them were edgy around each other.
A ghost and a group assault on a teen girl start things off in the next phase of the story. It was a good blend of small town, gritty suspense, and sensual slow burn into spicy romance. Because Taylor’s FBI unit are psychics, it was not a usual procedural and they worked a case differently. Dez was usually confined to the dead though if she pushed, she could get feelings and intent off the living if they were broadcasting strong enough.
The narration is mostly Dez and Taylor, but the other main players got page time, too. It wasn’t distracting and actually served to hone my interest more deeply in the situation. Dez finds herself with more than one ghost asking for her help and ends up with a cold case close to home for Taylor that puts a strain on them both. Again, it seems like a lot going on, but it all transitioned well and worked to make a whole picture.
I love that Dez sees ghosts and solves murders and brings resolution for the dead and their family, but I also appreciated how the author showed the difficulties and the toll this takes on her. And, showed her tug o’ war feelings about Taylor so that she was wary of loving him because he pushed her away and being abandoned by her mother in the past makes this rejection even more acute.
Taylor pushed her away, but I never felt like he was being a jerk. He is not open with her or anyone about his past pain, but he also had the work taboo thing as her boss. He never denies he cares and he’s not mean to her though apparently everyone else sees him as something of a jerk because he’s hard-nosed about getting a job done and protecting the people in his unit. His pain was palpable and I was really rooting for him to open up and let Dez be there for him like he wanted to be there for her.
My one niggle was that I could have used a longer denouement after all the twists and reveals at the end so I got a better feel of where they were going with their shared future and even the decision he was going to make about his career. Maybe this is answered further in the series.
I’ve got a few more FBI Psychics stories on the shelf and I am eager to keep going with this series. For those who like to get to know all the players and have a slow-develop twisting suspense and romance, these are a good fit.
Mt. TBR #56