17 November 2009

Book Banter -- Shadowlight

Title: Shadowlight
Author: Lynn Viehl
Genre: paranormal romance
Length: 311 pages
Where Word Nerd's copy came from: Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library
Plot Basics: Jessa has a unique ability, to tell the truth about people and see their secrets by touching them. When her ability has brought her in contact with criminals, she's been quietly alerting the authorities. But her ability has caught the attention of not just the government, but a group of genetic researchers who want to use her DNA to replicate the effect and another shadow group who wants to protect her. Gavin Mathias ends up abducting her to keep her safe, Jessa discovers that she's can't read him. Yet a dangerous man threatens them both as he relentlessly pursues Jessa for her talent.
Banter Points: Viehl's books are one of Word Nerd's brain candy reads. Yes, they are romance, but there is a plot -- and a good one -- to back it up. Shadowlight builds on Viehl's Darkyn books and it's neat to see this spinoff series. Having read the Darkyn books is good, but not necessary to get into these. Not to spoil things too much, but it's a great intersection of science and superhero power and (ahem) vampires in her rich alternate world.
Bummer Points: Word Nerd still has an admitted problem with romance books and the whole romantic suspense genre and that's that mid-plot, when the bad guys are closing in, the alpha male and the heroine have an overwhelming desire to rip each others clothes off for a chapter and engage in some horizontal mambo-ing. Viehl makes it work better than some, but it's just difficult for Word Nerd to suspend her disbelief there. Vampires? Genetic alterations? No problem. Sex while on the run from bad guys? Really?
Word Nerd Recommendation: If you're looking for a Pultizer Prize winner, this isn't it. But, if you want something fluffy and fun, this is a good choice. Especially a good choice for people who liked early Anita Blake style books.

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