Darkness Haunts by Susan Illene

IlleneDarknessHauntsNarrator: Cris Dukehart

Publisher: Tantor Audio (2014)

Length: 9 hours 2 minutes

Series: Book 1 The Sensor

Author’s Page

Melena Sanders, ex-military, is planning to attend college in the fall in California but right now she has to track down her missing friend, Aniya. A cryptic message left by her points Mel to Fairbanks, Alaska. There she discovers a war brewing that involves plenty of supernatural folks. Not all are human friendly. Luckily for Mel, she’s a little more than human. She’s a Sensor and that gives her just enough of an edge to be a true threat to these werewolves, vampires, and witches.

This is my new favorite urban fantasy series. This book is off to a good start, introducing our main character, Mel, and the paranormal world she deals with. Her dedication to her friends is a key component to the plot for this book. In her search for Aniya, she tries to keep Lizette out of it for her own safety. However, this goes a bit awry and I’m sure these two will have some words for each other later. She also makes some new friends in Alaska, some out of necessity and others out of choice. She needs all the assists she can get as she tries to find Philip Mercer, the last person Aniya was seen with.

There’s tons of alliances in this book and some of those alliances pull good folk into bad situations while other alliances pull questionable people into doing good deeds. Things, actions, and people are not always clearly evil or good and I really liked this aspect of the book. It kept me on my toes and engaged throughout the story.

There’s a powerful magic user, Variola, who holds several witches and werewolves in fealty. Mel has to make a deal with her and she wants an ancient vampire, Nikolas, found so she can destroy him in some ritual. However, the alpha werewolf, Derrick, isn’t too happy with how things are going down. Then there’s this Nephilim, Lucas, that follows Mel around. Half the time he’s keeping her from harm and the other half of the time he’s threatening to end her life. It’s a complex relationship that involved Lucas killing Mel’s protector, Wanda, several years ago with no explanation. Just because allegiances aren’t convoluted and strained enough, things get shook up once again when Nikolas comes out of his vampire sleep. Oh, yes! Whoever decides they want Nikolas dead is going to have their hands full!

One of the main draws for me was Mel’s character. She’s not without training and life experience. She has some years under belt and has had to make her way in the world for some years. She has been honed by both joys and tragedies. In short, she knows her own mind and walks into this story knowing exactly what her goal is (to get Aniya back) and can make her own decisions on how to go about it. She’s knowledgeable about guns and other weapons and not afraid of hurting or killing, if that is what’s needed. Yeah, I want to be Mel when I grow up.

On the other side of the coin, there’s a touch of flirtation here and there. Others have told me that there’s a full romance later on in the series, so for those of you who enjoy romance, you have that to look forward to. I found the flirtations of Nikolas amusing and they added a little bit of humor to a pretty tense book.

The ending did leave me with several questions concerning Lucas and Mel’s future. She has some hard choices to make, I think, in the next book. So I’m glad that the entire 6 book series is out, ready for me to tear through.

The Narration:  I enjoyed Cris Dukehart’s narration. She started off a little rough, making bullet statements, but within the first hour she smoothed out. I did like that she didn’t sound all girly, but rather as a grown woman who’s used to making her own decisions – which fits the main character perfectly. I also liked her various accents for some of the older characters. She made a very believable flirtatious 800 year old vampire. 

What I Liked: The main character – she has some life experience under her belt; the Alaskan setting; moose!; werewolves, vampires, witches & more; Mel has no hesitancy about using guns or other weapons; things aren’t black and white when it comes to good versus evil; her complex relationship with Lucas; the cover art.

What I Disliked: Nothing – I really enjoyed this book!

What Others Think:

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