Series: Spook Squad #2
Published by Dell on 2014-09-30
Genres: Paranormal mystery, Urban Fantasy
Source: the publisher
Also in this series: Memory Zero, Penumbra
Also by this author: Memory Zero, Penumbra
A serial killer strikes every twelve hours. A vampire takes lives at random. At first glance, these tragic incidents seem unrelated. But Special Investigations Unit agents Sam Ryan and Gabriel Stern trace them both back to a military base known as Hopeworth. Is the murder spree part of a cover-up? And are the vampire killings less by chance and more methodical?
The investigation takes an eerie, personal turn when Sam discovers a connection between herself and the victims—and a clue to her own mysterious origins. With the violence escalating and the danger drawing closer to home, the stakes are raised and the mission changes from seeking justice to ensuring Sam and Gabriel’s own survival. And the one person who seems to hold all the answers—about Hopeworth, about Sam’s past—is a mystery man she isn’t sure she can trust. They share a psychic link through her dreams, and he once saved her life, but he may just be the greatest enemy humankind has ever known.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
Generation 18 picks up where Memory Zero left off, and hits the ground running. Sam Ryan has now been assigned as Assistant Directer Gabriel Stern’s partner at SIU, but he’s not making it easy for her: he assigns her the least risky and most boring jobs, gives her an office in the basement levels, and keeps her at an emotional distance despite the awareness that flickers between them whenever they’re together. The team is assigned to find and stop a serial killer whose victims have so far all been women with red-gold hair – like Sam’s. The serial killings appear to involve Hopeworth, a mysterious military installation for weapons research – and possibly genetic research as well. Another series of killings, these by the kite-creatures, is also on SIU’s docket. As Sam and Gabriel dig deeper, both separately and together, it begins to appear that both sets of victims are connected — and that Sam, too, may have ties to Hopeworth, buried in the past she cannot remember.
As in Memory Zero, it’s always difficult to know who to trust. There are multi-shifters who can take the form of another person, so it’s not even safe to assume that someone is who they appear to be. Nobody — and I do mean nobody — is telling the whole truth; even Gabriel and Sam are each withholding information. Motivations are also suspect. I think Gabriel, his twin Stephan, and their family are (mostly) the good guys, but occasionally their methods leave a lot to be desired. Then there’s the mysterious “hirsute man” who speaks to Sam in her dreams, but who actually exists. Who he is, where he fits into things, and what he wants with Sam are still unclear, though it appears he doesn’t want to hurt her.
The attraction between Sam and Gabriel heats up in this book, but Gabriel is still fighting and denying it. Both of them are increasingly aware of whatever lies between them, but only Sam seems willing to pursue it. That aspect of their relationship adds an extra layer of tension to the book, as much emotional as sexual.
I found the mystery aspects of this story a little harder to follow than in the first book, but that may be because I was reading it in chunks rather than straight through. It does feel a little more chaotic, though, in part because the real mystery is Sam herself: who and what is she? What are her powers and where did they come from? While there’s a partial solution to the serial killings at the end of this book, the killer’s motives remain a bit murky, and there are a lot of loose ends. I’m dying to find out the answers to all the long-term questions, and to see what will happen between Sam and Gabe. Hopefully the third book will satisfy my curiosity — and thank goodness, it’s due out in only a month!
Note: The Spook Squad trilogy was published in 2004 and 2009 by ImaJinn Books, and is being reprinted with new covers by Dell.
Spook Squad series:
1. Memory Zero (review)
2. Generation 18 (this review)
3. Penumbra (coming 10/28/14)
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- COYER Summer Vacation 2014