A MelanieM Review: Free Falling Crimson (Altered States #3) by Laura Harner and T. A. Webb

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

New Orleans, Louisiana. 2015.

Free Falling Crimson coverA bank is robbed and two guards are torn apart and yet the cameras show nothing.  No suspicious persons to be identified and no clues to help search out the killer. Other than the bloody aftermath. Except the fact that the victims are human and the crimes occur in  Human Only establishments.  All signs point to a Preternatural killer with a grudge against humans. It’s not the first, and it won’t be the last.

Three years have passed since a vampire burst into flames on television and humans were forced to face a new world where supernatural beings exist. Caught up in the revelation and new world order are Sam Garrett and Travis Boudreaux, former NOPD detectives. Once human, they find themselves part of the preternatural world. Now everything is different, new lives, new rules, only their strange bond and attraction to each other has remained the same.

So much to contend with.   Humans Only separatist groups are springing up everywhere ala KKK. Also out to get them is a vampire with political ambitions with huge plans of his own. No one’s safe in a world where humans—and supers—are forced to adapt, or die.

Working together as part of a team sanctioned by Homeland Security to carry out Justice Department decrees, Sam and Travis ensure the deadliest of supers pay for their crimes. Permanently.

Warning: This is a steamy urban fantasy. In this series the vampires don’t sparkle, werewolves kill.

Free Falling Crimson (Altered States, #3) by Laura Harner and T. A. Webb is the culmination of three preceding stories and its by far the best of them all.  While the others were setting out the characters, relationships (no matter how tenuous), and world building, this story pulls it all together in a taut thriller guaranteed to make your heart race for multiple reasons.

At the center of this series is newly made supernaturals Sam Garrett and Travis Boudreaux.  Their job as partners on the force pulled them together, their feelings for each other initialized a strange bond that even the calamitous events couldn’t destroy.  Now back together again, Sam and Travis are trying to make their new relationship work amidst a crime spree that seems unsolvable and a new world order that seems to want to repeat the same mistakes made with those of Japanese ancestry during WWII.  A Humans Only rights group is gaining in power and political leverage.  Everywhere there are talks of internment camps and registering supernatural beings.  And that makes solving this case even more important to all.

Harner and Webb understand complicated plots and they keep several important story lines in play at the same time to further deepen the mysteries and obfuscate important details and agendas.  Secondary but hugely important characters have relationships in motion at every stage of the game. Some of imploding under stress and power struggles, others are being formed despite outward behaviors to the contrary.  And each pairing is critical to the overall picture.  The Altered States series is very much a chess game and the authors are very adept at keeping their end game a secret while constantly upping the suspense and, yes, sometimes terror at the events happening all around our characters.

Sam and Travis finally commit to each other and the sex scenes are intense and oh so hot!  How I have waited for this to happen.  Other couples find themselves in flux and compelling new characters find their way into the mix.  Love, love, loved it.

Of course, it ends on a cliffhanger.  A heartbreaking, pulse pounding cliffhanger.  It is as marvelous as it is frustrating.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.

At around 152 pages, this is not a quick read because  you will find yourself backtracking to check facts, people and relationships along the way.  I told you it was complicated, but as you gather hints throughout the story, you begin to get and appreciate the layers to all the characters and story lines woven into the Altered States series.   Pick up the first story and get started if you are new to the series.  But if you have been reading along as I have,  than this is the book you’lll love on every front!

Cover artist Laura Harner.  I’m not a fan of red covers and this one doesn’t change my mind.  I get why the artist choose red but it just never works well, no matter the design.  A smaller dosage of crimson would have highlighted the drama, instead its lost in the monotone palette.

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe)        Amazon        Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Published February 1st 2015 by Smashwords Edition
ISBN139781941841006
edition languageEnglish
seriesAltered States #3

Books in the Altered States Series in the order they should be read:

• Altered States (Altered States, #0.5)
• Deep Blues Goodbye (Altered States, #1)
• Deadly Shades of Gold (Altered States, #2)
• Free Falling Crimson (Altered States, #3)

A MelanieM Review: Deep Blues Goodbye (Altered States #1) by L.E. Harner, T.A. Webb

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Deep Blues Goodbye coverWith one startling action, the world changed forever. Recently deceased NOPD Detective Travis Boudreaux was in the process of being mourned and buried when he had the bad taste to sit up at his own funeral.  Until that happened no one knew that vampires and werewolves had been living amongst them. Now two years later, the fight is on for civil rights for preternatural beings and most humans are on the bandwagon. Except whoever is killing vampires and would be vampires.

Since the death and return of his partner and almost love, Detective Sam Garrett has hated all things preternatural. Having your undead partner try to make you his first meal will do that to a guy. When Sam’s attitude gets the best of him on the job, Sam finds himself banished to the Paranormal Criminal Investigations Unit—the Odd Squad—under the oversight of Detective Danny Burkette.

Now it’s up to Burkette to work with Garrett by day and Boudreaux by night as they follow a trail of clues that leads from the historic cemeteries of New Orleans to the bayous of southern Louisiana. During the course of their investigations, both men come to the attention  of a Master vampire and the local werewolf pack Alpha.  If they aren’t careful, it won’t be just Boudreaux whose dead, but maybe even Sam as well.  Some lessons in life—and death—take longer to learn…and Sam and Travis find out that not all second chances are created equal.

Warning: This is an erotic urban fantasy. In this series the vampires don’t sparkle, werewolves kill, and the men sometimes have sex. With each other.

Deep Blues Goodbye (Altered States #1) by L.E. Harner and T.A. Webb deepens the amazing world building these authors are constructing for this series.  New Orleans, that rich feast of a city, is the perfect setting for supernatural beings  in love and evil schemes that are slow to unfold.  After that shocker at the end of Altered States, I eagerly grabed this up to see what had occurred only to find that two years had passed and the aftermath is viewed through the various perspective of the characters involved.  And yes, I was a little disappointed.  After all, what happened at the funeral was a stunner for all involved, including the now animated corpse of Travis Boudreaux.  But two years have passed since Travis was turned and now everyone has to deal with the fact that vampires, werewolves and more exist and live among them.  And not everyone is happy about that, including Sam.

I adore Sam, he’s a piece of cynical perfection and disappointment.  What happened to Travis altered Sam as well, especially since both men were so close to falling in love, if they hadn’t already.  But a vampire and fate intervenes and their new  relationship was destroyed…or so they think.  It soon becomes apparent that Sam has never gotten over Travis and that just adds onto the bitterness Sam already feels about the whole undead thing and his partner.  I loved the two of them together and their bonding extends past themselves and the pages to include the reader.  In fact, I so bought into their burgeoning love affair that  aspects of this story threw me off.

Without heading into spoiler territory, other supernaturals arrive to further complicate the current state of affairs and all their attention will be focusing on Sam.   We see Travis as he is trying to move forward with his undead life with not a whole lot of success.  We see Sam also trying to do the same, both are stalled and bitter.  Something has to occur to break the stasis and it’s a doozy.

As part of the events that happen,  a bonded pair will have some wild hot sex with one of our main characters.  Normally this doesn’t bother me, especially when the authors make a case for it to happen.  But here? Not an element I enjoyed.  I understood where the authors were going with it, but I so bought into Sam and Travis’ romance that this aspect never became palatable.  How a reader feels about this (it’s really not cheating) will likely foretell how they feel about this installment in the series.  Some readers will be asking if they can skip over this book (and yes, the third book sort of resolves this), but no *shakes finger*, unfortunately you can’t.

Think of each story as a building block essential to the whole construct.  Miss even one, and you miss key elements that not only enrich the series but deepen the mystery and suspense Harner and Webb are working hard to build.  So much of this story is worthy of your attention and commitment.  And, perhaps,  the few elements that bothered me won’t phase you in the least.  This is going to be one wild ride!

Another reason to start reading this series?  This year’s Pulp Friction 2015 gang situates all their interconnected series in the Altered States universe.  So its double or is that quadruple the fun for all!  So get started.  Each is a fast, wild, suspenseful tale…over before you know it.  However, don’t be astonished if it lingers on in the questions and clues left behind (and even more shockers).

Cover art by Laura Harner works for the series.

Sales Links:       All Romance (ARe)       Amazon      Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 120 pages
Published August 16th 2012 by Hot Corner Press
ISBN139781937252243
edition languageEnglish
seriesAltered States #1
charactersSam Garrett (Altered States), Travis Boudreaux

Books in the Altered States Series in the order they should be read:

  • Altered States (Altered States, #0.5)
  • Deep Blues Goodbye (Altered States, #1)
  • Deadly Shades of Gold (Altered States, #2)
  • Free Falling Crimson (Altered States, #3)