Dr. Rikki Kinn is a virus hunter for the CDC. She is called to a hot zone in the Congo to investigate what appears to be a new and more virulent strain of Ebola, but with various factions trying to either kill or abduct her, there's something more involved than a simple outbreak.
Amiri is a cheetah shifter who has worked for Dirk & Steele since they rescued him from Consortium testing labs in Russia (see SHADOW TOUCH). Together with his psychic friend Max and his pyrokinetic friend Eddie, he has been sent to protect Rikki, but no one has been told exactly what she needs protecting from.
This is a case in which strangers have to decide whom to trust in a split second, in which a firm scientific mind has to accept magic. But there are layers of trust and acceptance, and Ms. Liu is an absolute expert at peeling back the layers and getting to the true heart of the matter in vivid and tantalizing ways.
Ms. Liu's descriptive imagery is superb. She made me feel like I was right there, painting a beautiful, violent, painful, and fascinating picture with her wonderfully well-chosen words. She made the setting real and she kept a multi-thread story woven without a hitch.
As if the scenery and suspense weren't enough, the sheer emotionalism of the tale was gripping too: Rikki dealing with scars of her past while trying to process all the new information, and Amiri dealing with his own painful past, setting foot back in his homeland after many years away, and the sheer terror of the cheetah inside trying to protect his mate. Rictor makes an unexpected (what else?!) appearance and offers readers a glimpse into his own complicated emotions, making me even more impatient for his story.
THE LAST TWILIGHT was riveting from start to finish, and is, as far as I'm concerned, Ms. Liu's best effort to date.