I sat for a long time tapping my fingertips on the keyboard before actually typing a word of this review. I guess I was feeling a little intimidated, not by Jordan Summers, she is a very nice author. However, she is also a committed blogger and interacts with folks who post on her blog almost on a daily basis. Lately she has been interviewed and asked to guest blog at various sites all over the web. So I sat here thinking, okay what else can I say about her book ‘Red‘ that hasn’t already been said? All I can say is that Red deserves all the accolades it has received and more.
Red is a paranormal romance, but it is also a science fiction thriller, an action adventure and a mystery. The story is told from the first person and third person point of view. And, get this; the first person voice is that of a male serial killer. So, Jordan combined approximately four genres and told the story from two different points of view! How clever is that? I kept notes while I was reading the book in an effort to organize my thoughts so I could write this review.
We are immediately taken inside the mind of sociopathic serial killer who has stalked, befriended and is giving his latest prey a ride home. The killer does go through a physical metamorphosis and there is a violent death involved. There is however no rape. I thought it was brilliant the way Jordan told the story from inside the killer’s mind and we were able to visualize the scene through his warped perspective. The first person chapters with the scenes where the killer is scheming and immersed in his psychotic ramblings are short, they do not overtake the overall storyline.
The setting for this story is in the not too distant future in a world that has been ravaged by war. Society is divided into “Republics” taking up 70% of the land mass and the rest of the world is a no mans land. There is an electromagnetic barbed boundary fence around the southern ½ of the North American continent to keep out ‘unknowns’. The world’s population is divided into ‘pureblood knowns’ that are tagged with a computer chip indicating which Republic they belong too and the ‘unknowns’, who are essentially considered hostiles. There is also a group called the ‘Others’, who are purported to posess special abilities, however their existence is not confirmed. The International Police Tactical Team (IPTT) was formed after the war for the purpose of patrolling the borders of the Republics for unknowns and keeping peace. Murder has been all but eliminated.
We meet Gina “Red” Santiago a highly trained veteran of the elite IPTT in the middle of a firefight near an abandoned building in the desert. Her second has fallen in battle and she has called in for back up but they haven’t arrived. Through a series skilled battle maneuvers and shear cunning Red manages to dispatch the hostiles despite being seriously outnumbered. When help does arrive it becomes evident that she is considered an ‘outsider’ as far as the IPTT members are concerned. Her feeling of alienation has been a factor for her entire life experience.
Red has heightened senses that have enhanced not only her abilities as a warrior but also as a tracker. Following the firefight she leads a skeptical team to a woman’s dismembered body. The team leader, an arrogant, rude ‘chauvinist’ type of character concludes that it was an animal attack and dismisses her death. However, Red senses this is not the case and is bent on finding out the truth for the young woman and her family’s sake. So, on her own time and without back-up she sets out to the town of Nuria, a border town that is policed by Sheriff Morgan Hunter.
Hunter is an Alpha male, rugged, handsome and a battle-honed soldier. Unknown to anyone outside of the people of the town who are members of his pack, he is a werewolf. Morgan is the respected Alpha who protects his people in the tight knit town where Red, unexpectedly finds greetings of welcome when she anticipates hostility and suspicion because of being with IPTT. The attraction between Red and Morgan is instantaneous, and animalistic but the sexual tension between these two strong characters builds throughout the book. Red doesn’t understand her attraction to Morgan all she knows is that the draw comes from something deep inside that she doesn’t understand. This isn’t a story where the heroine and hero have sex up front, however when they finally do it is a cataclysmic coupling. There is a theme of significant deception written into the romantic plot causing major conflict in the development of their complex relationship.
While the romance between Red and Morgan arcs through this story, there is a mystery subplot with respect to the insane killer that is full of surprising twists and turns. The other plot device, I found wonderful was the way Jordan wove the “Little Red Riding Hood”, fable into the story and if you decide to read this book I think you will too.
Nuria is an unusual town full of people with dark secrets and power. I will say that one of the secondary characters ‘Raphael Vega’, plays a pivotal role in what proves to be a harrowing climax. This guy is mysterious and charismatic with ‘special’ abilities. I hope we see more of Raphael in the subsequent stories of what is to be a three book series. The other secondary characters are equally strong including a corrupt politician with insane ideas as to how the world should be ‘ruled’.
While yes ‘Red’ is fiction, it touched me deeply as Jordan gives us a look at a post apocalyptic world. IMHO it is a thrilling, unique page-turner that I would highly recommend for anyone who enjoys a cross genre read. Sadly I have to wait until June 2009 to see what will happen to Gina Santiago and Morgan Hunter next!
A synopsis of ‘Scarlet’, the next book in the series is posted below.
Jordan Summers Website Is: http://www.jordansummers.com/