Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Book four focuses on Vance who comes from a family of law enforcement, and his new partner Samuel who left working for the DEA and ATF to join the enhanced FBI unit. One of Samuel’s informants will only speak to him, so they are actually on loan to the joint task force when a bust goes wrong. As there are dead enhanced, the unit starts working the case. They are also working on finding enhanced who are going missing again.
As with previous books, there are a whole lot of coincidences here as the cases being worked overlap. There is a new drug being sold that uses enhanced blood, possibly for blood doping in athletes. As Vance goes undercover as bait, Sam gets kidnapped and his past meets his present. There are flashbacks from Sam throughout the book, showing what he needs to overcome in order to be a good partner and friend. I found the whole storyline with his mom is exploited for closure as well as to set Sam and Vance up with an instant family.
In the previous books, Vance seemed the luckiest of the enhanced with a supportive family, but here we’re shown his insecurities about his size and weight, along with the bullying his parents didn’t know about. Here he comes across as a gentle giant. It’s fun to watch Vance physically protect Sam, while Sam emotionally protects Vance. All of these books focus on the hurt/comfort trope in their own way. Samuel is jaded and ambitious, causing him to stop any sort of relationship with Vance from moving forward. Having said that, the romance between Vance and Sam didn’t work for me as well as the pairings in the first three books. I didn’t particularly like Sam, and I feel like Vance is too good to be true. Because I didn’t engage with them, even the sex scenes didn’t click for me; most of the time Sam seems to be using Vance and pushing him away, hurting him. The epilogue as their HEA is a step too soon and a complete turnaround on Sam’s part.
What continues to give this series its heart, is the children. While introducing new enhanced children to the cast, this book also brings back a few from the past. The continued discrimination against enhanced, is hard to read. The mistreatment of a transgendered enhanced child caused me an added bit of angst. The team continue to fight for the inclusion of enhanced in all aspects of society and for their protection against mistreatment and exploitation.
Vance’s brother Daniel, has taken a leave of absence from the Bureau after working on pedophilia cases. He can’t stomach it anymore. It’s not a surprise when he gets partnered with Eli. Eli has been on the periphery of all the stories–angry and distant. There have been clues his childhood was worse than the rest of the team, so I am expecting his book to be heartbreaking. This comes at a time when they have permission to expand to add more units based on the H.E.R.O model so we’ll have to see how the unit gets broken up for training new recruits. Overall this series is very well written and grabs you by the heart strings, so I will continue to read them.
The cover art by Jay Aheer is dark and eye catching. Love it.
ebook, 214 pages
Published: December 11, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English
Series: Enhanced World #4