03 November 2014

Into the Blackness by Norma Jeanne Karlsson

Cease being everything you’re trained to be in order to find who you’re meant to be…with.

Nick Cooper is many things in life. He’s a vicious enforcer for a crime family. He’s a monster that tortures with a smirk tattooed on his lips. He’s an olive-skinned god, mysterious and captivating. He’s the best undercover field agent in the Domestic Crime Agency. He’s my partner for the next year. I have to play his wife which will test my abilities as an agent. Nick isn’t the type of man I’m used to dealing with. He’ll push me, tempt me, hurt me and eventually end up on the business end of a weapon I’m wielding. This mission will change everything I’ve ever known about people and myself. I can only hope I’ll survive it.

Katherine Russell is many things in life. She’s a chameleon, able to change and adapt to any situation. She’s lethal…as lethal as me. She’s a golden-haired ray of sunshine. She’s the best field agent the Domestic Crime Agency has ever had. She’s my partner for the next year. No, she’s my wife. There are worse things in life than sharing a fake marital bed with a gorgeous woman for a year. Trust me. Kat’s more than a beautiful woman though, and I have the feeling she’s going to challenge me, battle me, infuriate me and test all the walls I’ve spent a lifetime building around myself. Our mission is to find and eliminate a human trafficking kingpin. It’ll be child’s play compared to the journey my new partner is going to take me on. If I can manage to shed the monster of my past I’ll no longer be pulled into the blackness. I’ll be able to bask in the light that glows from every pore of Katherine Russell.

If only it were that simple.
The author of this series continues to surprise and amaze me with her work.  With this one she doesn’t disappoint the reader but she takes us on a different sort of journey with Nick, Kat and Jake.  Now before we go forward with this review I want to not only thank the author but point out for the reader, if you go to the end of the book, she had included a “family tree” so you can follow along as to who every character is.  I feel you can read this as a standalone but I would highly recommend you read the first three books for the pure entertainment factor and to really understand the characters you are about to meet in this book.  As is always true with these authors’ books, I will struggle to let the synopsis tell you about the book and prevent myself from giving a spoiler.  It is difficult for me because I want to talk about every aspect of this book, it was that great. 
Kat works for the Domestic Crime Agency with the reputation of being a kick butt agent who gets the job done.  She is just coming off an op where she was put in a position to “sell her body and soul” to get the bad guy, by any means I might add. I don’t think she was to open for any kind of relationship or connection to people. It was planned to be a year mission but she had nothing else in life.  Her world revolves around her job.  For this job she will be a classic housewife in a community that would remind the reader of a high society, appearance matters environment.  She will be a pretend wife and caregiver to her “husband’s” nephew who lives with them.  The target, a couple who is trafficking humans yet portray themselves as church going, focused on their two children kind of parents. 
For the husband to this op we get to have our Nick back.  After so many years of doing his Uncle’s dirty work he is now going to this agency to use his knowledge and power for good.  After all he has seen and done in his life there are thick walls around his heart and people just don’t get close to him.  He is still in love with Shannon but he is happy for her as she goes on in her life with her new family.  This is business and he is going to make some big mistakes with his “wife” as he goes but will she finally be able to tear down his walls and make him more emotional and connected to other people? 
Jake is an 18 year old man, fresh from high school and taken right to the agency’s camp, he is going to play the role of the 16 year old nephew.  He isn’t a weak player in this, he is a trained killer who suffers from baggage of his own as we witness some of his nightmares and behaviors but never really get a sense of what is going on.  I hope that he will have his own book later on in this series.  For this op he will be an orphan living with his uncle and aunt and try to get into the circle at school that will give him an inside to this family. 
You have three people, thrown together now to create a make believe family with the sole purpose of stopping the trafficking and take down this couple.  Things never go as smooth as it sounds and this story doesn’t slack in the intense drama and suspense.  You will be on the edge of your seat at times and speed reading to see what happens next.  We also get to see some of the older characters such as Shannon and I have to admit she hasn’t changed at all. 
So far out of the first four books and she has never repeated a plot or style in the story.  As each character is an individual, she has taken great care to make each story unique and fresh.  I adore this in a series, when I can’t predict what is going to happen or I read the whole thing and never once think I have seen that before.  I can only imagine how much creativity and work that takes from the author.  I would highly recommend this series to the readers if you can handle some raw and gritty, suspenseful, intense plots.  


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