Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Publication: Ballantine Books (March 20, 2012)
Description: As the New York Times bestselling author of the Troubleshooters series and a “superstar of romantic suspense” (USA Today), Suzanne Brockmann has an acclaimed history of taking readers’ breath away with her novels of hot passion and high adventure. Now she takes her talent for sexy, action-packed storytelling in a thrilling new direction: forward—into a future, both fantastic and frightening, that only the brilliant Brockmann could envision.
Dishonorably discharged, former Navy SEAL Shane Laughlin is down to his last ten bucks when he finally finds work as a test subject at the Obermeyer Institute, a little-known and believed-to-be-fringe scientific research facility. When he enters the OI compound, he is plunged into a strange world where seemingly mild-mannered scientists—including women half his size—can kick his highly skilled ass.
Shane soon discovers that there are certain individuals who possess the unique ability to access untapped regions of the brain with extraordinary results—including telekinesis, super strength, and reversal of the aging process. Known as “Greater-Thans,” this rare breed is recruited by OI, where they are rigorously trained using ancient techniques to cultivate their powers and wield them responsibly.
But in the depths of America’s second Great Depression, where the divide between the haves and the have-nots has grown even wider, those who are rich—and reckless—enough have a quick, seductive alternative: Destiny, a highly addictive designer drug that can make anyone a Greater-Than, with the power of eternal youth. The sinister cartel known as The Organization has begun mass-producing Destiny, and the demand is epidemic. But few realize the drug’s true danger, and fewer still know the dirty secret of Destiny’s crucial ingredient.
Michelle “Mac” Mackenzie knows the ugly truth. And as one of the Obermeyer Institute’s crack team of operatives, she’s determined to end the scourge of Destiny. But her kick-ass attitude gets knocked for a loop when she finds that one of the new test subjects is none other than Shane, the same smoldering stranger who just rocked her world in a one-night stand. Although Shane isn’t a Greater-Than like Mac, as an ex-SEAL, he’s got talents of his own. But Mac’s got powerful reasons to keep her distance from him—and reasons that are just as strong to want him close. She’s used to risking her life, but now, in the midst of the ultimate war on drugs, she must face sacrificing her heart.
My Thoughts: I found both the romance and the suspense in this gritty futuristic to be engaging and enthralling. Lovers of urban fantasy and lovers of romance will both find something very entertaining here. In a future US in the midst of a Depression and being controlled by corporations, Shane Laughlin finds himself looking for work about losing his career as a Navy SEAL because he didn't blindly follow orders that would have cost the death of an innocent woman. But a new job isn't easy to find. He is contacted by the Obermeyer Institute to enter their testing program.
Given that he is down to his last ten dollars, Shane agrees. But on the night before his interview he is hustling pool in a bar to earn enough money to find a bedmate when Mac walks in. Mac has just been dumped by her boyfriend and she is looking for someone to hook up with. They are each attracted to the other and end up going to her apartment. Mac hasn't mentioned that she is Dr. Michelle Mackenzie and works for that same Obermeyer Institute.
The goal of the institute is to find people who have the potential to integrate more of their brain than the usual 10 percent. They have found that those with potential can develop some pretty amazing gifts like telepathy and telekinesis. Mac herself is a 50. She is very empathic, is able to heal her own injuries, adjust her appearance, and send out a charisma that draws men to her and makes them think they love her. Therefore, she doesn't trust any man's declaration of love. Shane has his work cut out for him to convince her that they do belong together.
Besides the relationship issue is the broader issue of an Organization that is kidnapping young potentials and using their blood to create a new drug called Destiny. Destiny is great; it gives youth and health to anyone who takes it. Unfortunately, it is also instantly addictive, expensive and the users are prone to go violently insane. Insanity combined with very strong and often unusual psychic powers is not a good thing!
After a young potential named Nika Taylor is abducted just before being contacted by the Obermeyer Institute, her older sister Anna is contacted by the OI in the person of Dr. Joseph Bach who ends up taking her home with him to protect her from the people who kidnapped her sister. The story centers around the hunt for and rescue of Nika. But along the way we get to see relationships develop between Mac and Shane, Dr. Bach and Anna, and between another 50 Stephan Diaz and the doctor who is head of the Research and Support department Elliott Zerkwoski.
All the characters are well-developed and are interesting people. All the romances comes with their share of conflict and the conflicts are different for each of them. This is a nicely complex story filled with people I came to care about. I strongly recommend that you add it to your wishlist. I know that I have already ordered my own finished copy of this one.
Favorite Quote (from the ARC and subject to change in the finished copy):
"Yeah, I guess my biggest question," Shane said as he stayed standing, leaning against the wall that separated the main room from the bedroom, "is about how to handle the anticipation. I mean, I'm not sure I can wait to find out whether my big super-power is going to be flying or invisibility."I received this ARC from Ballantine Books through the Amazon Vine program. You can buy your copy here.
The doctor laughed. "A nonbeliever. Better and better. For the record, Mac thinks you could be very special."