Tina Clancy is a 26 year-old law student with a crippled leg who lives near the Zone in Baltimore, an area affected by a chemical spill many years ago. She’s just a week away from taking her final exams and works in the Zone collecting deposits from different businesses that belong to Andre Legrande, making one bank run for him every day. The Zone is an area most people stay away from, except for those who can’t afford to leave. At least that’s Tina’s belief. And she likes living her life under the radar.
But one day a number of events take place that really shake up her world. It begins when witnessing a government limo mowing down a group of kids and not even stopping. During the melee the day’s deposit, chained to her wrist, is stolen by someone no one claimed to see, using a bolt cutter. But the most upsetting to her is that it appears her boyfriend is trying to kill her using her own car and in her anger and frustration, wishes him to Hell. She’s kind of shocked to discover she makes that very thing happen. She’s now caught the attention of the government.
There are a number of different story threads taking place in the book which not only deal with a couple of investigations but Tina’s growth as she learns what she is and the best way to use her new abilities which come with benefits. There’s a lot to learn along those lines, but that’s one area that really shines in this story. We get to see, through another character, how unbalanced that power can make you if you don’t weigh the results and Tina does eventually start to make sound decisions.
What makes this story unique is not only the heroine and her abilities, but the secondary characters and the Zone, which if you live in it long enough, can cause weird things to happen. Inanimate objects become somewhat animated. One woman turns into a chimpanzee. I do believe that’s my first experience with any shifter from the ape family. Then there is Milo, a kitten that growls warnings and in a fight grows to the size of a bobcat. I want Milo!
We don’t learn what Andre is, other than he used to be special forces. He bends over backwards to take care of Tina and keep her safe, all while she treats him like dirt; I had a desire to knock her upside the head. But in her he sees something the Zone needs. We’ve also got communication from Max while in limbo via Tina’s mirrors, and an invisible thief. All of these make for an interesting read as does a nice twist near the end.
My only criticism is that the story could have been tighter. At times it feels like there are too many threads and the story seems to stall for a bit. Tina grows in this book, which is a really good thing because her attitude at times, especially early on, seems childish. But like I said, she does start to make sound decisions after balancing possibilities.
I’m definitely going to be watching for the next book.
Reviewed as an ARC through Edelweiss.