Series: Killer Instinct #1
Published by Harlequin Books on March 28th 2017
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Former FBI agent Samantha Dark was one of the most respected profilers in the bureau, an expert on the twisted minds and dark hearts of the most depraved criminals. But when her own former lover turned out to be the serial killer she was hunting, Samantha's career was destroyed. Blamed for the FBI's failure on the complex case, Samantha fled Washington, DC, for the quiet anonymity of Alabama.
Now an all-too-familiar killer is hunting once again. She can catch the sadistic assassin, but that means putting her trust in her former partner, Blake Gamble. Ex-military, Blake is tough, protective, precise. With her entire life on the brink, she knows he wants her back in the FBI and possibly more.
But someone else wants her, too. A threat is waiting in the dark, a killer who has set his sights on the ultimate trophy victim: Samantha.
The stylistic hallmarks of Cynthia Eden never show up more clearly than in her romantic suspense thrillers: the unapologetically tense atmosphere, the brutality of the murders, the psychopathic killer(s) and the characters with their own baggage that hinder them from moving on properly. If it all sounds somewhat repetitive, it’s because it is to an extent, but Eden manages to make every crime story fresh despite the similarities of her the tortured heroines and alpha heroes who tend to populate the pages of these thrillers. In fact, I thought very much about the LOST series as I went through this book and saw how much this is already mirroring it.
But from the moment I read “The Gathering Dusk”, I was eager to see how Samantha’s and Blake’s very obvious chemistry was going to combust and “After the Dark” didn’t disappoint as it kicked the drama into high gear with betrayal, a relentless body count and mind-bending psychoanalysis. There’s always the hunter and the hunted, but Eden complicated this predatory relationship and I liked how this became a game of wits as it showed how personal the relationship really was between Samantha and Latham—with Blake as the unusual third party who got in the way with his steady and admirable straight shooting behaviour. There’s no straightforward whodunnit moment like most crime books, leaving you with the feeling that the game could be won either way—with fate playing a huge hand in it.
It all makes for good storytelling, really. I liked how the climax played out (the resolution was sort of expected) but most of all, I liked how this series is keeping me excited for the next book to come.