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Fourth in Psy/Changeling series
on 5 February 2008
This is the fourth in Nalini Singh's series of books about the world of the Psy, Changelings and Humans. The first two books "Slave to Sensation" and "Visions of Heat" featured Psy women who escaped from the world of Mr Spock-like emotionless after finding their mates amongst the Changelings big cats. The third book, "Caressed by Ice", took Werewolf Brenna as the heroine and Psy assassin Judd as the hero. This fourth book is the first that introduces a human as one of the main subjects - Talin McKay. Tally is a social worker whose troubled childhood still haunts her - as did her only real friend in her youth, Clay. Clay is a Leopard Changeling and when he killed Tally's abusive foster father and went to prison for the crime Tally disappeared from his life, requesting that he be told she had died in a car accident.
However when some of the children Tally oversees go missing and then are found dead she realises that she needs assistance to get to the bottom of the disappearances and her former friend Clay, now an important person in the DarkRiver Pack, can help. The Clay she knew as a young boy has changed into a wild and dangerous man of whom she is initially afraid. When Clay brings Tally back to his pack and she starts to interact with the others they work together to find out what's happened to the young people and it's a race against time to rescue young Jon before he is killed. But can Clay and Tally get past the issues of mistrust and abandonment of the previous twenty years in order to find their friendship again - and perhaps more?
The characters in the previous books all appear in this one, along with a couple of new characters who will probably feature in future books. Once again Nalini Singh has written a tightly-plotted and enjoyable book with her alternative world with the Psy/Changeling/Human triumvirate taking on a new twist. As with the previous three books much of the romance between hero and heroine is based on physical touch, 'skin privileges', and although Tally isn't Psy she is a damaged young woman because of her past. I wonder what the author would do if one of her characters didn't mind touch as that's such a part of her writing style! She wrote the character of Clay very well as a part-animal, part human and a frightening but also loyal and reliable man. Tally wasn't always as easy to get a handle on and the underlying thread of her illness was dealt with in a rather easy way. Still, like the other books in the series, this was a worthwhile read and I look forward to the next book.