Author: Jordan Summers ISBN: 9780765359155 6/2009 PARANORMAL/FUTURISTIC Publisher: TOR
RRAH's THOUGHTS AND PONDERINGS:
Jordan Summers sets her paranormal romance SCARLET (Dead World Book 2) in the 23rd century. Borders have been redrawn across the globe, clones are grown on farms for general labor, the ecosystems are nearly all destroyed with most cities surviving under biospheric domes, travel is often done using trackless maglev trains or hydrocell cars, and scientific manipulation of people’s genes in order to create super soldiers has resulted in a group of beings known as “others” that include vamps and werewolves. Gina Rodriguez (known as Red) has fallen in love with the police chief, Morgan Hunter, of a border town called Nuria. She’s just discovered that like Morgan (the town’s Alpha), she is a werewolf, but she can’t yet control her shapeshifting. One day Morgan sees an ad on the vidscreen showing two new clone models soon to come off the farm—his dead wife and child. He decides that he has to destroy the lab’s ability to sell his family, but what if it’s just a wolf trap? He leaves Gina in charge of the police department, and before you know it there are dead bodies popping up and it looks like she killed them. Will she and Morgan be able to figure out who their real enemy is before their world is destroyed?
Summers creates a very dark setting with ominous foreshadowing. Gina is left to handle things on her own without Morgan’s help, without the help of the town leaders, and even part of her police staff quit and leave town because they are afraid to be associated with her. Her feelings of despair, abandonment, and also her frustration with not being able to shapeshift on command, send her spiraling downward. Morgan is so wrapped up in his own pain that he doesn’t see how much she needs him until it’s nearly too late. The master manipulator is ready to use both Red and Morgan to destroy Gina’s grandfather; the “Others,” no matter where they live; as well as anybody, no matter how close they are to him. Gina doesn’t help matters when she practices shapeshifting without a spotter and leaves herself vulnerable to the amorous attentions of her vampire friend, Raphael Vega. Thankfully, he finds a new obsession for his intimate fantasies.
I actually worried about Red’s relationship with her big, bad wolf. They are so obviously being played, and as smart as they are, they just don’t see it. Raphael is almost more clued in to the deceit than anyone else. It is good to see that some of her staff rally behind her despite their dire situation. The thing that most concerned me was that Gina might not be ready to handle such criminal masterminds on her own. When Morgan gets thrown into prison, she still believes in the system rather than realizing the depth of corruption.
SCARLET is dark, foreboding, twisted, and also filled with action, passion and intrigue. This is definitely one I’d recommend reading during the daylight. The darkness can just suck the life right out of you. Readers who thrive on blood and death mixed with their romance, will enjoy the shadowland inhabited by Red, Morgan, Raphael and their nemesis. Personally, I look forward with trepidation to the third bloody story in this series.