Taken by Cynthia Eden

Taken by Cynthia EdenTaken by Cynthia Eden
Series: LOST #5
Published by Avon on November 29th 2016
Pages: 400
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Bailey Jones somehow survived her harrowing abduction by the infamous Death Angel. But while her physical scars have healed, she can’t stop wondering about a woman she helped to escape, who simply disappeared. When LOST agent Asher Young is assigned to her case, Bailey instantly feels an attraction to the intense ex-SEAL who seems to be carrying dark secrets of his own.

Asher can’t afford to let his growing feelings for Bailey distract him from his job. Only she can soothe his horrific nightmares, but the last thing he wants is for the demons from his past to ever hurt her. Bailey has gotten past his guard, and the emotions he feels for her—they’re as dark and dangerous as the past he doesn’t want to face.

When corpses begin surfacing—all marked with the same tattoo depicting the Death Angel’s calling card—Asher must race to stop a twisted killer who wants nothing more than to claim his next prize: Bailey . . .

‘Taken’ was an entertaining read and did send me on a whodunnit quest, a game I always play each time a murder/serial killer mystery comes up. But I guessed it correctly this time, even managing to piece things together before the climatic (and predictable) end.

Perhaps this is exactly why I can’t seem to shake the feeling that the LOST cases are getting too familiar and it’s this familiarity that has taken the sheen off this book. While I loved the previous story in this series and the complex case it presented, ‘Taken’ follows that pattern in a way that made me yearn for Cynthia Eden to up the ante on the plot and suspense. Like every other LOST book, every secondary character in law enforcement or in the medical profession is a suspect and a red-herring and bureaucracy mucks up an investigation that is hindered by either weather, the media or the police themselves. The killer is hell bent on the heroine – all the cases somehow point to her – and once we uncover the reason why, the story races from guessing game to resolution.

While I do understand Eden’s need to give her lead characters a darker, edgier side, there were several character motivations that I couldn’t understand and consequently thought were actually made out to be more significant than they really should have been. Asher’s childhood trauma for instance, that consequently affected his ability to commit but stirs every protective instinct with women felt too unbelievable for me to swallow and his own sudden fixation with needing to take away Bailey’s pain felt more like a psychological run-off than love. Bailey in turn, because of her own childhood tragedy, wants Asher as a first step to reclaiming her old life. But because these damaged characters seem to turn to each other to exorcise their own demons or fulfill some gaping need more than anything else, it was hard to take this pairing at face value, let alone accept the near instant-love that seemed to appear after they tumble into bed.

Admittedly, ‘Taken’ isn’t the best of Eden’s books, but it’s definitely a decent story, especially if you’re new to this author.