Desert Isle Keeper
Rebecca York is an author who’s specialized in writing some unusual stories over the years. Nowhere Man is one of the very best of her roughly five dozen releases. Part military action thriller, part mystery, part poignant romance, it also creates a compelling and unique hero unlike any other in the title character.
Targeted for revenge by an escaped mental patient she once testified against, psychologist Kathryn Kelley accepts a top-secret assignment at a military compound in rural Maryland. She wanted safety and security from the threat to her life. She finds a prison. The personnel at Stratford Creek are an odd group. The other doctors resist her presence. The security staff views her with suspicion. Everything there is shrouded in secrecy, and she is cut off from all contact with the outside world.
Most mysterious of all is the man she came to work with, a man who can tell her nothing of his past, who tells her his name is Hunter because that’s what he is. He has the skills and brutal training of a soldier. Many on staff fear him and warn her to stay away. But there is also something innocent about him, and she can see the sadness inside of him. As she begins to win his trust, she learns more about what has been done to him at the hands of her colleagues and the top secret mission they intend for him. But even she might not be able to handle the truth of who he is, or be able to save him in time.
Nowhere Man strikes a near perfect balance between the romance and suspense. From the very first page, it has an ominous, menacing feel to it that remains throughout the book. York never lets the reader forget that there’s something not quite right beneath the surface at Stratford Creek. The suspense plot moves at a brisk pace that keeps building through greater obstacles and revelations. It has the taut, realistic feel of a mainstream book.
At the same time, York also manages to find quiet moments between Kathryn and Hunter in the middle of all of this where we can see their growing bond. While it does take place over a short period of time, it doesn’t come across as one of those forced attractions. There is a genuine sense of that these two people are compelled to be with one another: he by immediately recognizing that there’s something different about her than anyone else he’s ever known, she by the aura of mystery surrounding him and the side she senses to him that no one else seems to see. Hunter is a contradictory character, and it’s easy to see why the heroine is so fascinated. He remains one of the most unusual romance novel heroes I’ve ever read, though to say why would ruin the book.
There is a tentative quality toward their relationship, as she struggles to win his trust and he begins to respond to the foreign feelings she stirs in him. It’s different from one of those romances where love seems to come so easily by the end. It’s a little easier to believe it here because their story is so unusual, their relationship so special. It is a great love story.
York’s new single-title paranormal series has expanded her readership beyond the category ranks. I’m glad anyone who just discovered her will get a chance to catch up on one of her very best. Fascinating from start to finish, it’s flat-out terrific.