The Fear Principle by B. A. Chepaitis

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Why I Read It: Intrigued by mystery set in future with strong female lead.

Where I Got It: From the publisher through Audiobookjukebox (thanks!)

Who I Recommend This To: Dark mystery/psychological thriller enthusiasts.

Narrator: Diane Havens

Publisher: Wildside Press LLC

Length: 8 hours 46 minutes

Series: Book 1 of Jaguar Series

Set in a future where part of our solar system has been successfully populated by humans for generations, Jaguar Adams is a healer of sorts. After the destructive Killing Times on Earth during Jaguar’s childhood, the criminal system and the treatment of the criminal psyche were revamped.  Jaguar and the other Teachers work with hardened criminals on a planetoid orbiting Earth, using a variety of talents and subterfuge to force the criminal to face their principle fear. Time and the plethora of subjects who have undergone this treatment have shown successful rehabilitation of these criminals. Jaguar is already working a case when her boss Alex decides to add a second to her work load – Claire, an assassin embroiled in some political intrigue. However, Nick, a coworker and once trusted friend, wants Claire’s case. The rivalry turns violent and the mystery heats up.

B. A. Chepaitis wove together an intriguing tale of the search for justice, the survival of betrayal, and the principle fears of the main characters. Ever had a really good dark smoky whiskey? Yeah. That’s what this book was like. Sometimes I would sit for hours savoring this book, and sometimes I had way less time, yet each dip into this novel left me wanting more. I was fascinated with the main characters from the beginning because each of them had a past to unravel in relation to the current drama that was unfolding. While Jaguar nearly gave everything in her attempt to help others face their principle fear, in the end she had a fear of her own to face. I found myself relating to several of these characters as they were not wholly evil or good.

It took me a little while to get used to Diane Havens as the narrator. Speaking principally from Jaguar’s point of view, most of the book is done in a sultry tone and once I got to know Jaguar a bit better, I found this to fit. The narration started off a little stilted, but cleared up into a nice pace and distinct characters within 40 minutes. By the end of the book, I felt Havens was Jaguar’s voice and I look forward to listening to the next in the series.

What I Liked: Jaguar and her strong sense of right and wrong; there are big cats in this tale; The Killing Times creeped me out; the key to Claire’s rehabilitation; Jaguar’s use of sex and her refusal to be ashamed of it.

What I Disliked: I have mixed feelings about Nick as he turned into one of those characters you love to hate; I didn’t quite grasp the new technology that was the source of the political intrigue and wanted that fleshed out a bit more.

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