My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As I said in my update, this book is like American Gothic, the famous painting which looks ordinary on the surface but the more you examine it, the stranger it gets.
Santino’s incredible world building skills are in full force for this edgy suspense story which mixes in the romance element without ever fully giving in to that particular trope’s usual formula.
There’s no miscommunication, no odd little hiccup at 70% to allow the couple to reunite, instead there’s a strangely subdued relationship developing between Nate and Trent while around them, stranger things happen.
I clocked the likely villain fairly early on but not anything on how the plot would develop and the final denouement was a quiet surprise in how it came about.
There is an element of cliff hanger to this one in so much as the storyline continues into book two but this opening novel does also wrap up what’s been happening with Nate and Trent and puts them into a pretty steady and secure relationship.
Steam levels are appropriately low, which works for the nature of the narrative but there is a nice connection when they do occur.
I enjoyed it but, unlike other Santino stories, I don’t think I’d be likely to read it again.