A Perfect Darkness
When I started reading A Perfect Darkness, the opening novel in a series about The Offspring (please tell me I’m not the only person who started hearing rock lyrics in their head after reading that name), the author had my instant attention. Computer genius heroine who lives life as an outsider with odd paranormal gifts, hints of a government plot, and a mysterious hot man who visits her in dreams – it all intrigued me. However, the author lingered so long over the setup to her world that she eventually lost my attention.
Amy Shane runs a computer business from her home. She is a master at retrieving lost data on damaged machines. She has other gifts, too, and these are a little more disturbing. Chief among them is her ability to see what she calls “glows,” colored auras around people that clue her in to their mood and sometimes even their intentions. Amy knows that this gift, as well as the loss of her father to suicide, set her apart from others and she leads a rather isolated life.
This changes one night when a stranger who calls himself Lucas storms into her apartment, startling her with claims that her father did not take his own life. Even more disturbing, he starts to tell her about a group called the Offspring and to inform her that she is one of them and may well be in danger. Before Amy can get more information, FBI agents burst in and take Lucas away.
Though Amy is given an explanation for the incident, it does not ring true to her and she can’t stop thinking about the encounter. She also feels drawn to learn more about the Offspring. This eventually leads her to a gallery opening where she is taken aback to find scenes from her dreams depicted. These dreams were quite erotic, and Amy finds herself shocked to see the faceless man of her dreams given a face in the artwork – the face of the stranger who broke into her apartment previously.
The rest of the story focuses primarily on Amy trying to learn more about the Offspring, as well as her meeting with other Offspring in an attempt to get to the bottom of what the government seems to be doing with them. As a thriller, this story works rather well. The action flows nicely and I found the basic setup of the story quite interesting.
However, there is a bit too much setup and not enough progression of the story for me. The author spends far too long telling the backstory and catching the reader up on history of the scientific experiments that led to the creation of the Offspring as well as the current plot. I expect that this information will prove crucial throughout the rest of the series, but it did bog down this book a bit.
In addition, the romance definitely needed work. Amy often protests her love for Lucas, but the only contact they have for almost the entire book comes from dreams. This scenario may work sometimes, but the dream encounters were far too brief here. Each encounter would basically be the same: Lucas enters Amy’s dream and they have passionate sex. Conversation (or even other activities) did not really play much of a role in these meetings. Given this history, lust certainly made sense to me, but the passionate love Amy claims to feel just didn’t seem believable.
The world of The Offspring certainly intrigues, but this first book of the series just did not come together for me. The suspense plot held some allure, but the excessive time spent on background information and the lackluster romance made A Perfect Darkness merely an average read.