The Gathering Dusk is the prequel to the Killer Instinct series. It introduced the reader to Samantha Dark, a top-notch FBI profiler and her partner, former Navy Seal Blake Gamble. The story started out on an interesting note, which had me keen to learn more. Blake and Sam had attempted to apprehend a serial killer and save his latest victim. Things, however, did not go as planned and lives were lost, which placed them both in the crosshairs of a killer seeking revenge. In the aftermath, Samantha struggled with the guilt because of the loss of life, which brought to the forefront memories from her past.
Despite the brevity of the story, it proved to be a gripping and intense read, which whetted my appetite for more. Blake is the type who plays by the rules, but with Samantha, he would do just about anything to protect her. They both shared a chemistry, which slowly developed as the story progressed, but someone from Samantha’s past, who was privy to her darkest secrets, did not like this development, placing them both in further danger. Samantha has proven time and time again that her profiling skills were unparalleled, but this latest development regarding the individual from her past had her questioning her abilities.
The reader found Samantha fascinating, the way her mind works and how her profiles were spot on. Hints provided indicated she had a troubled past, which made the reader curious to learn more. However, regarding Blake the reader felt cheated as the information regarding his background was lacking. I was not sure if the length played a role in this lack of information or if it was a deliberate move by the author.
The story ended on an intriguing note, which had me immediately picking up the next book in the series. Overall, a quick read and great introduction to the series
This book includes mature content and is not suitable for readers under 17.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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Title: After the Dark
Author: Cynthia Eden
Series: Killer Instinct #1
Published by Harlequin on March 28, 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
In New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden’s gripping new series, a disgraced FBI profiler must save her reputation by stopping a sadistic killer she knows all too well.
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.
After the Dark follows the events of The Gathering Dusk. Samantha no longer works for the FBI and has returned to her hometown in Alabama. The outcome of her last case turned out to be a humiliating experience. She failed to recognise that the serial killer they had been hunting was none other than her ex-lover. Samantha took this failure hard and sets and took it on herself to hunt him on her own while trying to figure out what made her fail to see what had been in front of her eyes.
Meanwhile, the killer is still on the loose and appears to be killing again. Needing her help, Blake came to Alabama to convince her to work with him to put an end to ex-lover’s reign of terror while hoping to pursue the attraction that burnt between them.
After the Dark took the reader on a journey filled with tension, suspense and non-stop action. Seeing Into the mind of the killer has always been one thing which fascinated the reader with stories featuring psychopaths, and in this regard, Eden did a splendid job. When Blake and Sam began their investigation, they discovered they are hunting not one but two killers. Despite knowing the identity of the killers, it did not detract from the tension as not knowing when they would make their next move and who would be their next victim made for some serious nerve-wracking moments. The main villain proved to be the scariest of all. His obsession with Sam made him unpredictable, which made more dangerous than his counterpart. Like most serial killer books, the reader has read, this was graphic and definitively not for the faint of heart.
Like most suspense books, the romance took a back seat to the danger and the investigation. However, the moments they spent together outside of the investigation sizzled and popped. Blake’s need to protect Samantha proved overbearing. His need to protect Samantha was understandable, but in his zeal to keep her safe, he ignored her abilities, which led to some missed opportunities.
Overall, the reader had a great time with this installment and is looking forward to reading the other books in the series.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: