Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Fatal Dreams #1

Race the Darkness

Rate this book
First in a gripping paranormal romantic suspense duo by a Golden Heart finalist debut author whose clinical work gives her chilling insights...

Cursed with a terrible gift...

Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn't have to question you—he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night—the voice of a woman begging him to save her.

A gift that threatens to engulf them...

Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except...there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.

345 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published October 4, 2016

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Abbie Roads

11 books872 followers
Abbie Roads is the best-selling author of the Fatal Dreams Series and the Fatal Truth Series. Her novels have been finalists in many prestigious contests including The Golden Heart, The Greater Detroit Booksellers Best, The Oklahoma National Readers’ Choice Award, The Write Touch, The Strut Your Stuff Contest, The Aspen Gold Contest, The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, The Heart of Excellence Readers’ Choice Award, The Midnight Sun, The Kathryn Hayes Contest, The Chanticleer, The Daphne du Maurier, The National Readers’ Choice Award, The New England Readers’ Choice Contest, The Beverly Award, and The Maggie Award. Her debut novel Race the Darkness was Publishers Weekly Top 10 Pick for Fall and Never Let Me Fall is an Amazon Editor’s Pick.

By day Abbie Roads is a mental health counselor always focusing on the bright side. By night she writes on the dark side, putting her characters through the wringer before she gives them their happily-ever-after. She loves a good inspirational quote and is a fan of true crime.

Abbie’s Dangerously Dark Darlings: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Dange...

Abbie’s Newsletter: https://view.flodesk.com/pages/5df2a2...

Abbie’s TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@abbieroadsauthor

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
262 (30%)
4 stars
247 (29%)
3 stars
179 (21%)
2 stars
110 (13%)
1 star
48 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 277 reviews
Profile Image for Sabrina.
3,142 reviews1,896 followers
October 4, 2016
*Amazon US*Amazon UK*Barnes & Noble*

Race the Darkness is the quintessential Romantic Suspense book. It has the romance, the intriguing plot, and the ability to keep me on the edge of my seat from the first page to the last. But not only that, Abbie Roads' style of writing was brilliant and sucked me into this story with little effort. Having a great plot isn't the only thing a great book needs, it needs to be told in such a way that it will keep the reader interested and allow them to experience the book, not just read it.

Well move over world because Ms. Roads has the ability to write like that and she's about to take over the Romantic Suspense genre. She may be a new author but you would never guess that from reading this book. She's come into the author world and completely rocked it's very foundation, leaving no doubt in my mind that she's going to be around for many years, creating stories that will inspire other authors and make them want to be as great as her.

I'll finish my author fangirling now and move on to the story.
This book was like a dark fairy tale that I absolutely adored. Through the twists and turns that the story took you on there was a lot of romance involved with Xander and Isleen, and I really liked that the connection between them never got lost between the mystery unfolding. There are many romantic suspense novels that are more like thrillers because there's no romance, and it's one of the reasons I took a long break from the genre. Well that is definitely not a problem with this story and the romance was mixed perfectly with the suspense.

The connection that Xander and Isleen shared was very prominent and there was never a doubt in my mind that they belonged together. I say it was like a fairy tale because honestly even with all the bad things happening during this book I somehow still felt like a little kid again, reading about destiny bringing two people together like Cinderella and her Prince Charming. Except this was a more adult version with a brooding Hero that I wanted to lick all over.

Was Xander a bit of an asshole? Yup! But I loved him for it and I especially loved him for never apologizing for his personality. He just went with it and never tried to change for people which I thought was great. And Isleen was just as amazing. I liked her strength and how, even after going through something so tragic, she was able fight and didn't just give up.

With addition of the mystery surrounding Isleen's abduction there was no way this book could be less than five stars from me. Which honestly doesn't happen that much and definitely not for a romantic suspense book. But everything just came together so well and was never not boring or too much for one book that I couldn't help but love it.

Bottom line, read this book. If you're a fan of romantic suspense or if you aren't read this book. It's that good that I am urging everyone to give it a chance because I think it's going to be wildly popular. The suspense is well done, the romance is a mix of adorable and sexy, and the characters are amazing. So seriously, read this book!

ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kylie.
853 reviews8 followers
July 5, 2016
October 4th, 2016. Mark your calendars. You want this book!!

Abbie Roads is absolutely sensational with her debut novel Race the Darkness!

Full review will be up on the blog closer to the October release, but this book was incredible.

Profile Image for Tink Magoo is bad at reviews.
1,244 reviews185 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
July 8, 2016
Alas another goes on the mounting DNF pile.

The writing is good but I just could not get along with the plot. This has a highly religious, sadistic bad guy and it made me feel uncomfortable. I'm not religious myself, so I didn't find it offensive; I just didn't like it.

Stopped at 30%
Profile Image for Mei.
1,881 reviews408 followers
June 20, 2017
DNF at 30%...

Very OTT... His and her thoughts are all over the place all the time!!! I got angry after reading the nth time how she's strong, how he's hot for her, but he's not good enough for her...

Another thing: he has a paranormal power, but refuses to see that she has one too and keeps denying it!!

So, no, I don't want to read this any more!!! I simply refise to waiste my time this way reading a heap of overused tropes!

pssttt... I've added 1 star because, if done differently, the idea was nice...
Profile Image for Cindy.
2,227 reviews133 followers
September 11, 2016
Dark paranormal romance that's wrapped around a centuries old legend and religious fanatics. I love finding new authors and this debut book from Abbie Roads has hooked me on her Fatal Dreams series.

As I sit here and think about all the men in this book they were all pretty much asses – both the good ones and the bad ones. The brooding hero, Xander Stone, certainly has his reasons for being one. A father who abandoned him emotionally after his wife left, then getting struck by lightning leaving disfiguring scars all over his body which in turn gave him the gift (or nightmare) of having amplified hearing and also to being able to hear what any person is thinking. Even though he uses his gift to help the Department of Criminal Investigation, he see it as a curse and survives by drinking the noise in his head away. For years he's heard a woman's voice in his head begging him to save her. He didn't think it was real and chose to ignore it until one day by a force not of his own he ends up at a dilapidated trailer and finds a woman whose been reduced to skin and bones from her 8 year captivity.

Isleen Walker had given up on ever being rescued. She had made piece that death would be a relief from the hell she had been living the last 8 years. It's at this point the man her of dreams – literally – comes crashing in a saves her. Seems Xander isnt the only one with a gift.

From the moment they see each other something magical happens and Xander vows to never leave her side. But what neither of them knows is their families history is tangled up in a mess of madness which still has Isleen life in danger.

There is a lot a cray cray and woo woo in this book but it was the type that kept you glued to the pages to see what was going to happen next and if Xander and Isleen, who had been through so much hell in their lives, were ever going to get the peace they deserved.
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,765 reviews582 followers
September 14, 2016
The day he was hit by lightning was the day Xander’s world changed and no person’s thoughts were private around him. Scarred from the strike, Xander received a gift or maybe a curse, the ability to read people’s thoughts. But he also heard cries for help and he had no idea where they were coming from.

Held prisoner by a brutish and insane woman, Isleen knew her days were numbered, if the beatings didn’t kill her, the lack of food and water would. Her only escapes were her dreams of a man, a man with power, the man of her heated dreams, but her mental calls to him went unheeded. Was he just a figment of her imagination or was he a flesh and blood savior? And then he appeared in the flesh, and his fury and wrath would set her free.

Isleen is the target for death and Xander finds she has managed to thaw his dead and frozen heart, but if he tells her, will she run away, screaming? So many secrets, so much past history that have intertwined these two psychic souls and they are completely clueless. What they do know is that together they are a formidable team who give each other strength and apart they are missing their other half.

When Isleen disappears, only her bond with Xander stands a chance to save her before religious zealots end her life because of her gifts. What she discovers is the identity of the man who tried to take her life, the man who killed her mother and now she also knows why.

What a dark and twisted tale of dysfunctional families, self-acceptance, love and deadly danger, Race the Darkness by Abbie Roads is a thrill ride of great writing and magnetic reading! Two souls, both with unique gifts find each other, was it Fate? Xander is tough, cynical and lonely. Isleen is his polar opposite, in spite of the years of captivity and abuse she has endured. Together, they complement each other perfectly. Prepared to want to disinfect yourself when you come face to face with the “villains” and their depraved acts. This is a great read for suspense lovers who like a touch of the paranormal in their thrillers!

I received an ARC edition from Sourcebooks Casablanca in exchange for my honest review.

Series: Fatal Dreams - Book 1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (October 4, 2016)
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Print Length: 352 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For Reviews & More: http://tometender.blogspot.com

Profile Image for Jen Davis.
Author 7 books695 followers
April 25, 2017
The blurb for this book sounded right up my alley. I am all about a tortured hero. Here, Xander is both physically scarred and mentally ravaged by his ability to hear the thoughts of other people. Making matters worse, he is haunted by the voice of a woman begging him to save her. Our heroine, Isleen, has been held captive for years and found some of her only comfort in her dreams of Xander. The story essentially begins with him saving her and moves forward from there.

It sounds amazing, right? And it has tons of glowing reviews on Goodreads. But it did not work, at least for me, for a number of reasons.

Let’s start with the fact that I did not like the hero. I understand that he is a pretty miserable guy and he has good reason. But. It’s really hard to get on board with a guy who has been stringing along another woman, sleeping with her for 10 years. A woman he drops like hat when Isleen comes along. Yes, I understand that we are supposed to recognize the mythic fated connection between these two. But let’s stop to think for a moment about how long 10 years really is. I understand that it was not a healthy relationship, but come on. What kind of person does that? And the way he treats the woman when Isleen enters the picture? I’m sorry, it did not make me rally around the new relationship. It just made me think of much less of the hero.

Then there is the set up for Isleen. This woman has endured the stuff of nightmares. But she comes out of it essentially just fine. Eight years she was abused, nearly killed. But in short order she wants to get busy with Xander. Anyone would need intense psychological care for years coming out of a situation like that and she is getting horizontal in like a day.

The circumstances surrounding her abduction and torture did not ring true for me either. Our villain and his circumstances were very underdeveloped, and the time spent with him squicked me out.

I hated Xander’s dad. I hated the cop, Kent. Both were extremely one-dimensional. Everything in this book felt superficial to me. Even the supposed mythical connection between the hero and heroine felt weak and underdeveloped.

I really can’t think of any part of this book that worked for me. And I will be the first to say that I am clearly in the minority here. Maybe it would be better for you. But I will not be continuing with this series.

*ARC provided by publisher
Profile Image for Brinda.
Author 24 books692 followers
July 6, 2016
Xander Stone isn't your typical investigator. He's that tortured hero, nail the bad guys to the wall, why go by the rules type of dude. If you like your hero all sugary-sweet, then this one won't work for you. He has some baggage. As in a heavy trunk o' torment from his past.

The most intriguing thing about Xander? You won't be keeping any secrets from this guy. He can hear your every thought. This skill makes catching the baddies pretty awesome until he faces his most important case ever--a matter of life and death for a kidnapped woman named Isleen.

Mark this book as one with strong men and stronger women. Recommended for readers who enjoy dark romantic suspense with a supernatural twist. You might have to sleep with the light on.
Profile Image for Caroline.
883 reviews4 followers
July 23, 2016
Xander Stone can uncover any secret. It isn’t because is a really good criminal investigator or some type of mentalist, it’s because he can hear the thoughts of those around him. While he has to strain to hear those around him, he always heard a lone female voice calling out for help. Finally giving in to insanity, he chases down the owner of that voice only to find a woman in desperate need of saving. Isleen Walker has been kidnapped, tortured, and kept in a tiny dark room for years. A bizarre set of circumstances grants her freedom and the man who freed her also happens to be the man from her dreams. Dreams and reality collide and Xander and Isleen must figure out how to navigate through them just to survive.

Wow. So there is a TON of stuff that happens in this book, and it will be really really hard to do a review without revealing spoilers (which I try really really hard not to do especially this far in advance). So, in order to not give away spoilers, I am going to try really hard to be both precise and vague at the same time. A more complete review will be done closer to the release date in October. Overall impressions: I found Xander and Isleen really interesting as characters and the action kept me guessing for almost 80% of the book. That being said, I don’t typically read suspense novels so I don’t actively try to fill in all the holes and guess how everyone is connected. The “bad” guy is spelled out right at the beginning so we all somewhat know that when things come to a head we know who the major players are, we just don’t how everyone is connected. We also know pretty much from the beginning that Xander and Isleen are going to end up together, but due to the suspenseful nature of the book it’s the getting there that’s the struggle.

Especially at the beginning, scenes were written and placed in an order that made it hard to keep track of exactly what was going on and what was going to happen next. It was like the scenes represented dominoes that were stood up in random places that didn’t make sense at all until about two thirds the way through and suddenly you saw all the dominoes were standing in a perfect row ready to be knocked down. This book is very clearly both a PNR and a dark romantic suspense. In fact at times I almost felt I was reading a PNR version of Shannon Butcher’s “Love You to Death”. Both Xander and Isleen have otherworldly abilities that make them a force to be reckoned with, however, their abilities are not able to penetrate the mystery of why Isleen was held captive and tortured until the very bitter end.

I have to say, the biggest issue I had with this book is trying to figure out all the family lines. Both Xander and Isleen have some crazy familial ties that made it hard for me to guess the age of everybody. It was somewhat frustrating because I like to have a picture in my head of what all the characters look like and I couldn’t do it this time. Also, I did have minor issues with some of the character development as there was just sooooo much happening that I feel like the main and supporting characters weren’t given enough time to be truly fleshed out beyond having instant impulse reactions to the stuff going on around them. There were also other minor detail oriented inconsistencies that I think were due to page restrictions and really I hope we learn about in the next book.

Overall though, this was a fantastic read that kept me at the edge of my seat.

*Thank you Edelweiss and Sourcebooks Casablanca for a copy of this book for a chance to make an honest review*
Profile Image for Al *the semi serial series skipper*.
1,654 reviews652 followers
October 6, 2016
This has to be the most confusing book i have read in a while. I am still not sure what the point of the entire book was, I kept reading to see the bigger picture and somehow that picture didn't load completely.

Xander , a criminal consultant, can hear your thoughts. One day he hears a nagging voice in his head and follows through and finds Isleen and her grandmother after being kept captive and tortured. He saves her by sheer luck . Isleen recognizes him from her dreams and with a finely executed flip, she falls in love with him, because he's her "dream man". Meanwhile, Xander has led on Camille, his partner's sister for 10 years which is really a shitty thing to do so the author tries to make us dislike Camille by making her a bitch. Heck, i will act like a bit too if i wasted 10 years of my life on someone that falls in love with someone else after a minute. I never even completely bought into Xander and Isleen being in love, i never saw the attraction.

The story then continues with Ilene having several dreams that did not have any relevance to the story. I get that it was put there to lend credence to her dream spinning tale but that effort should have gone to making the entire plot understandable.

Finally, shes captured again and it wasn't at all what i was expecting. Frankly , from the beginning i had this huge idea of who she was from the name 'Dragon' used to address her. I was expecting a dragon princess , a queen or something but it was not even close. She is the daughter of a religious fanatic whose father believed that because of her abilities to predict the future in her dreams she must be evil, so he tried to expunge the evil in her by torture. I was so disappointed.

I'm being generous by giving this book 2 stars because i was between not finishing and giving it one star but the writing made up for it. Xander's mark was referenced a couple of times like it had a huge significance to the plot, nothing came out of it. The initial interrogation with the teen rapist, nothing came out of it. I did not understand who Row was, at times it seemed as though she was the help and other like she was the one in charge. I didn't understand why Matt was so bitter. I did not get the Bear and fearless relevance to the plot.

It seemed as though the author wanted to appeal to the entire demographics of readers by throwing everything she had out there. Religious fanatics, insta love, Paranormal activity and mystery to name a few.

Profile Image for Celestine.
944 reviews99 followers
February 1, 2018
Was I supposed to feel schizophrenic, too?

This book started out with such dark, mental paranormal promise. Xander, struck by lightening as a boy, now has enhanced hearing and can read people's thoughts. It comes at a painful price, though, and he has become a virtual recluse except when "doing his thing" to interview criminals for the Criminal Bureau of Investigation. There is one voice he has heard for years, and thinking he is insane, he drowns it in alcohol. Until the night comes that he cannot ignore it, and he finds two women held captive for a long, long time.

Then we meet Isleen with her own mental paranormal bag of tricks, and the story virtually collapses. Both main characters suffer from not having been clearly imagined. Their personalities are all over the place, and the instability destroyed the story. At times hardly any characters are likable and I couldn't even get sympathy to kick in. Then the paranormal aspect leans in a fated mate direction, and the interesting part of the plot becomes a jumbled mess. The author simply lost direction. The suspense is tied up in the hidden identity of the villain. That was the strongest part of the plot until it, too, collapsed under its own personality disorder. The book ends and, while we know "who", the "why" never really gets unraveled. Throw logic out the window with this one, which is a pity because the beginning seemed so promising.

2.5 rounded to 3 stars because despite the flaws the suspense kept me engaged.

Book source: Purchased.
Profile Image for Tori.
2,806 reviews476 followers
October 4, 2016
Originally posted at Smexybooks-http://smexybooks.com/2016/10/review-...

Criminal investigator, Xander Stone, is called in when all else fails. Hit by lightning as a child, he gained the ability to hear people’s thought. When he’s finished with his latest case, he hears a woman’s voice telling him she is dying. This voice has been speaking to him for years, begging for him to save her. Convinced it is nothing more than hallucinations brought on by his accident, he usually silences her voice with alcohol. Only this time, he isn’t given the choice. He is taken over by a greater power and ‘wakes’ to find himself in front of a dilapidated mobile home in the middle of nowhere. Once he forces his way in, he finds two women on the brink of death, and discovers one of the woman is the voice he’s been hearing.

Isleen has long given up being saved. After 8 years of captivity and torture, completely at the whim of a woman who refers to Isleen as the Dragon and herself as the Queen, she is prepared to die. Her grandmother, also a prisoner, keeps reassuring Isleen that her savior is coming. She will be saved if she can just hold on. When Isleen reaches the point where she welcomes death with open arms, a man appears and saves her and her grandmother.

Abbie Roads’ Race the Darkness is the first in a two book series. This debut blends the paranormal with horror to create a dark romantic suspense that flirts lightly with the fairy tale-Beauty and the Beast. A scarred, bitter man plays reluctant hero to a mysterious young woman being held captive and abused by a religious cult. Heavily character driven plot lines and an emotional base tells us a story of love, loss, hope, and redemption as this couple fight to stay alive against a religious cult who demands their death in the name of an ancient prophecy.

The beginning showed great promise. Roads’ sets us down in the middle of an intense scene, giving us a front row seat to witness the power that the hero, Xander Stone, carries in him. Not only can her hear people’s thoughts but his ability also amplifies sound, causing him great pain and is the cause of his anti social behavior. Xander is an island unto himself. His father abandoned him emotionally and physically after Xander’s accident and Xander has grown into an antagonistic, untrusting, angry adult. When he connects with Isleen, a bond is revealed, one that confuses and angers Xander. Especially since a similar bond all but destroyed his father.

This story reminded me a little of Dean Koontz-think A Door Away From Heaven. Similar in “way out there” fantasy inspired plot lines, seemingly random characters with complex ties to one another and a religious and/or mythological base. Unfortunately, that’s where the similarities end. The story’s strong opening dissolves into a jumble that lacks dimension, direction, and personality. Once past the initial rescue and meet and greet, the story becomes a disjointed mess. Repetitive dialogue, manipulative plot devices, and random character/scene insertions left me with more questions then answers. The story felt rushed with very little in the way of exploration and development into the characters and the reasons behind what happening.

Xander is the only character who is defined in any real fashion. The perfect grumpy hero. He is an arse and makes no apologies for it. We know why he is an arse and it makes perfect sense. Everyone else stays rather singular in dimension- acting as a catalyst to explain someone else’s actions. Even Isleen to an extent. She is the stereotypical angelic heroine, designed for sacrifice because of her innate goodness. She has her moments where Roads’ attempts to break her out of her mold-some dark humor at her own expense and verbal commitments to being strong. But she slips back easily into her predestined spot. We are told what is happening in the present but not really why. From Isleen’s captivity to the ancient prophecy that started it all-every offered is merely cursory.

The villain(s) of the piece offer hints of intrigue, suspense, and eventually horror as Roads’ introduces us and takes us into their world. We are shown what is happening and gradually clued it to the why but, connection Road’s tries to make between the present and the past is weak and murky. Again we are left with far more questions than answers. I was also disappointed in the deconstruction of the main antagonist. He goes from scary to pitiful in a nano second

Race the Darkness had all the ingredients to be a wonderfully dark and unique paranormal romance suspense but Roads’ chooses far too often to play it safe, She backs off when we would expect her to charge forward and juggles entirely too many characters and plot lines for the story to handle. Book two, Hunt the Dawn, spotlights a new hero and heroine though looks to be contained within the same world. I am really hoping this one tightens up considerably and answers all the questions book one leaves you with.

Grade: D
March 7, 2018

I was surprised to see that “Race the Darkness” seems to be the debut novel by Abbie Roads.

The author has some serious skills and while I had some problem with the plotline that does not mean the author’s writing was bad.

I liked Xander – he was an intriguing and well developed character easy to fall for ( at least for me) and the plotline around his abilities was just far away from the reality to feel paranormal yet near enough to be believable.

The reader cannot help but wonder how a person in Xander’s situation would feel or how others would react to the truths that he is going to giving them. From the first moment on you feel that he only wants one thing – and that is to be left alone – not only because others annoy him – no but just being in their presence physically hurts him.

So – well done in the character development department

Isleen was interesting enough developed to fill the story and she was strong too but for me she just could not live up to the presence of Xander.

Well and then there are - So those totally did not “do” it for me as their concept of “BAD” (I am being vague on purpose”) was just not for me.

So – sorry – this might feel totally different for other readers so – I encourage everyone that is intrigued by the plot to try this book.

For me Xander alone was enough in this story – therefore I am almost certain this story will meet a various readers needs in different genres …
Profile Image for Madison Warner Fairbanks.
2,168 reviews283 followers
November 4, 2018
Race the Darkness by Abbie Roads

An intense paranormal romance thriller. First in a series.
The hero was hit by lightning. He wears the scars and is tortured by hearing the thoughts and amplified sounds all around him. He uses the hearing power to interrogate criminals.
The heroine was captured as a teen and has been tortured and starved in captivity for years.
He’s be able to hear her for years but didn’t think it was real.
Now he’s rescued her from captivity but it seems the danger isn’t over.

An extreme thrill ride. The connection between them is compelling. Their main thought is always to protect the other. Which can be their downfall.
When Xander smiles, it’s heart wrenching. Finally he’s not alone!
I didn’t like her propensity for self injury to avoid the emotional. I get that she is used to the physical pain but this bothered me.

Overall an outstanding read.
Profile Image for Melissa Killingbeck.
162 reviews2 followers
July 18, 2016
Xander Stone has supercharged hearing. As a criminal investigator he doesn't have to question you to get answers, he can hear them before you speak. "Holy shit. What happened to the dude's face ? Xander heard the words even though they hadn't been spoken aloud." Isleen Walker has been kidnapped, tortured, and kept in the dark for years. She dreams of a man who will save her. "You're not coming. You're not going to save me. Because you don't exist. Never have. I believed in you. Thought you must be real- Gran swore you were. But you were nothing more than hope's fatal dream." When dreams and reality collide Xander and Isleen begin a heart racing journey to stop a madman.
This dark romance has plenty of suspense, tragedy, and tension. The story flows quickly but at times is a little hard to follow. The ties between family members can sometimes be confusing but in the end it all becomes clear when all is revealed. With a combination of suspense, romance, and psychological twists this book became a roller coaster ride I didn't want to get off. From the beginning the story keeps you intrigued and the characters are compelling. Xander and Isleen have very interesting otherworldly abilities that give the book a mystical feel. The way their love story develops is heart warming and unique. I could go on and on about how much I loved this book but I would end up giving it away. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys suspense, dark romance, fast paced thrillers, and PNR. This was truly a great debut novel for Abbie Roads. Looking forward to Hunt The Dawn !! I received and ARC in exchange for an honest review, this in no way affected my opinion of the book. Thank you Sourcebooks Casablanca and Abbie Roads for providing me with a copy of this book.
Profile Image for Amalie Berlin.
Author 132 books42 followers
September 7, 2016
I'm writing this on my tablet, so beware, typos likely ahead!

Disclaimer done.

I really loved this book. It was dark and raw, great fantasy elements, exceptional descriptive passages, and it bled emotion.

I don't do spoilers in reviews, so I will simply say I had a raging case of author envy upon reading it, and unlike most books, I never had any idea what was going to happen next. Unpredictable stories are my favorite opiate.

Oh, another disclaimer: If you're mostly into fluffy happy books, all kittens and rainbows, this might not be the book for you. But me? I am taking reading time off to write, but planning to read it again next month when my WIP is done.
Profile Image for Ally.
207 reviews20 followers
January 4, 2021
This book successfully got me out of my book slump!! Race the Darkness is filled with suspense, cults, and romance that's to die for! I read over 50 percent in one sitting. I was pulled in from the very first chapter and I absolutely loved everything about it.

Xander rescues Isleen from severe abuse and captivity due to a mental connection the two of them share... but her rescue is only the beginning. Darkness still chases her and danger isn't far. I loved watching both Isleen and Xander heal and grow together. The paranormal connection between them was so captivating!

I've already ordered all of Abbie's other books and I plan on reading them all asap!!!
Profile Image for Lorna.
1,313 reviews62 followers
October 5, 2016
(Puretextuality.com)Precognitive dreams, super enhanced hearing, mind reading, and a legend all play a part in the fascinating first book in this author’s Fatal Dreams duology. I wasn’t at all sure what I was going to get when I started this read, but ended up pleasantly surprised at how good of a read it really was. I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Xander Stone works with the police as an interrogator when needed. The fact that he can read minds makes this job easy for him in one respect, but he pays a price with the headache he gets during and after the interrogation. All noise around him blares really loudly for him so he is pretty much a loner by necessity. For some time he has been hearing a voice begging for help in his head. He decided early on that he was going crazy so he drowned out the noise by drinking. When he decided to not drink one night, he is led to an old decrepit trailer where he finds two women that have been held captive for years.Years full of torture,starvation, and blood letting have taken a horrible toll on the two woman. A woman and her grandmother are on the brink of death when Xander arrives. The woman, Isleen, was the voice in his head all along. Things happen and Xander is able to save the women. And that’s when Isleen starts seeing murders or possible murders, in her mind. The inclusion of a fanatic religious cult just made the story more interesting to me. And I am going to leave the actual story at that.

Xander was an extremely interesting character. He was struck by lightening and because of that, he now has scars that travel down his face to his body on one side. He has an immediate emotional and physical connection to Isleen, and her in turn for him. His headaches go away around her. He’s the only one that can bring her out of her visions. Isleen? She has been a prisoner since her teen years, so she is understandably broken in many ways. Being around Xander is pretty much the only thing that can bring her back to both mental an physical health-or that was my take on her anyway. Peripheral characters include Xander’s estanged father, Alex, Kent, a cop that is involved in the case of the two women’s abduction and imprisonment, Matt, Alex’s brother and a sarcastic bane to Isleen’s life. And I can’t forget to mention the colorful housekeeper at Alex’s home, Roweena, also known as Row. The cult members are the villains of this story.

The one thing that irked me at times was Xander calling Isleen, Baby. Constantly, even after first meeting her. Nothing horrible, but it did bother me. Well, that and when she is newly found and on death’s door, he wants her sexually after a simple hug. Maybe the author was trying to show their unusual connection, but that kind of bothered me as well.

So we have a wounded woman, a scarred man with mind reading abilities, and murders happening that Isleen is privy to. There’s a cult that is involved in some way, and the legend I mentioned before also added a lot to the story as well. Lots of dramatic moments, some sensual ones, and some life or death situations rounded out this story. Was it a great story? I wouldn’t say great, but still a good interesting story that kept me reading to find out what was going to happen next. I am interested in reading the next book that involves another peripheral character from this book, as well as the same legend.

Recommended to adult paranormal romance readers, especially readers that don’t mind a darker read.
Profile Image for Cassandra.
1,192 reviews104 followers
September 25, 2016
My Thoughts - 5 out of 5 Unicorns - I loved it!!!
***Received a copy of the book for an honest review

The cover is awesome and creepy all at the same time, but maybe it is because I’ve read the book!

This is the first book in the Fatal Dreams series, and it is definitely for adults only due to the very dark content and much more. I could not put this book down except for necessities like eating and such. At times this book is like driving by an accident scene where you are compelled to look, but know it isn’t right. I think my heart broke several times during this book. You never knew what would happen next or what craziness would be revealed.

Abbie weaved a gripping tale that had me on an emotional rollercoaster. I was screaming No at times, crying, and all over the place. This is definitely a dark romantic suspense thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat wondering just what will happen next.

Xander and Isleen are connected, but damaged. Isleen has strength that I wish I had. They are both amazing for what they have endured. I wish I could say more, but I don’t want to spoil anyone journey into this dark world.

I highly recommend this book to those who believe in special people with psychic abilities and who love dark romantic suspense thrillers because this will definitely take you on a journey with surprises both good and bad.
Profile Image for Vi ~ Inkvotary.
643 reviews33 followers
November 4, 2016
This is one emotional rollercoaster! Read!

OH MY GOD what a phenomenal book. A must read for everyone who loves to read contemporary romance with a dark side and perfect created main characters.

Race The Darkness is the debut novel of author Abbie Roads. If you are looking for some dark contemporary with some hit-off figures and a great to read plot, then this is your book.

I fell in love with the cover the moment I saw it. Those eyes! Holy moly they are so haunting, so intense. And they show you things … and I am not talking about a world full of dark emotions. No, if you look at them closer, there is something else.

Xander hears this voice since years. A female voice who begs him to come and free her. One day, after a rough day at the office, he decides to drive where his head is leading him and finds two women in desperate need of help. But freeing them is only the beginning. Because one of them keeps a dark secret no one ever should know; especially not Isleen. But Isleens ability to look into the future, is something someone doesn´t want her to do. And that someone would rather kill her instead of believing that she does something good with it.

Abbie Roads has a special way to tell a story. Blunt, naughty, humorous and dark at the same time and with some very hot scenes in it - yes, her writing style is quite something.

I know a lot of authors, but none who writes like she does. She uses words I didn´t even know that exist and with that I mean she has such a huge vocabulary, such a way to use it that it sounds always perfect and natural. She goes beyond anything you can imagine and is still on the good side with her plot, her characters and how they feel and act. Her writing is simple but effective. No word too much, none too less. She describes with a few words a beautiful landscape, an intense scene or how a character looks. But mostly you get to see them through their actions. She doesn´t use any platitude or kitsch and has a modern touch in it.

Written in the personal narrative perspective you get to know what Isleen and Xander think, how they feel and why they do what they do. There is a deep romance in this novel, a love so deep and resisting everything that is bad or evil that you get really touched by it.

In Race The Darkness the author brings a well done mix of religious madness, devotion born out of the loss of the one and only love and what the denial of a child can do to it. Oh yes, Abbie Roads uses everything dark to come up with a beautiful, entertaining and diversified plot where you won´t miss a thing.

Abbie Roads has created some very dark but profound figures. They all have some kind of torture or hell lying behind them or they are still in it. Some of them are just mean, weak and have no spine at all.

Isleen is even after all those years in cruel torturous captivity blessed with a strength and view of the world that is only stunning. You would expect anything else under normal circumstances, but not Isleen. Okay, she does instead something that is much worse and dangerous. She denies what happened to herself and doesn´t want to talk about it with others. Her way of dealing with everything is something you admire at first. But after a while you start to see that the road she is going down is not good. Not for her, not for the people around her. In the end she does something very remarkable and proofs what she is really capable of. What a woman.

Xander is frankly said a man who likes being alone. He can´t control what he hears and when you hear every noise the world has to offer, you are in danger to go nuts. He is a man who has a certain kind of humor, oh yes, he doesn´t give a damn about what others think about his way of doing his job and he doesn´t give up. Never.

And Row! Oh my goodness, she is one hell of a woman. I loved her the second I could picture her.

Race The Darkness is, without a doubt, a real page-turner. After I had finished it, I was literally shaken to the core. Shocked, thrilled, in tears, happy and completely speechless. Yes, Race The Darkness has left quite an impact on my with its emotional rollercoaster. You have to read it! Highly recommended.


Originally posted on Gone With The Books
Profile Image for Sophia.
Author 5 books328 followers
October 1, 2016
Race the Darkness was...chilling. And I was oh so glad that Abbie Roads wasn't afraid to explore the dark corners of humanity with this one. New series by a new to me debut author and I found her blend of paranormal-thriller romance just the thing. Did it make me feel the heroine was pushed beyond endurance and what a human being can handle? Yes. But then again, the evil that tortured her seemed beyond human, too.

Xander Stone was struck by lightning and the burn scars that disfigure him are the least of his troubles now that he is forced through the pain caused by other people's thoughts pushing into his mind and by his hyper-hearing. It does make him a useful tool to the law enforcement agencies when they need him to 'listen' to the criminals sitting in the interrogation room.

Xander's life was not exactly happy before the lightning incident. At age seven, when his step-mother and step-sister left, something broke inside his father and the man ignored Xander ever since. His uncle is a bitter man. And Xander isn't much better. He and a police detective are hostile because of the way Xander is with the man's sister, but she knows the score and Xander made it clear there would be no relationship.

And into his mind comes a woman's voice begging for his help. Xander thinks he is finally certifiable and tries to ignore it, but then he is compelled to find her. When he does, it almost drives him to his knees with guilt.

Isleen Walker has been living imprisoned and tortured by a mad woman for eight long years. Her grandmother was abducted with her and her mind has already snapped. But just when Isleen is about to give up, her gran is lucid long enough to tell her that her dream rescuer will come. Isleen has seen the same man in her dream for years and she has called out to him in her dreams, but so far, nothing. Then he is there and they must work together to keep her safe from the sadistic threat that isn't done with her.

Alright, this one was riveting and shocking. The evil and insanity were chilling. The characters were boldly drawn and not always likeable particularly Xander. He's had a lot happen to him and it makes him rough around the edges and always angry which makes sense. He doesn't give a flip about anything anymore. It was interesting seeing him interact with everyone around him and have to change now that Isleen was in his life and the truth from the past is coming out.

The romance was the beautiful though fast fated mate type which was alright because Xander needed all the help he could get. Isleen is broken and needs to feel safe at all cost. Xander gives her that. But she's got a spark left in her when she encounters Xander's friends with benefits partner who doesn't want to let Xander go and doesn't want to think that they never had anything real. This was never an issue of cheating, but it does mean that Xander has some 'splaining to do and must make things right all around. The romance is a powerful element, but I didn't feel like it was the most important one which made it a nice balanced story. There is the danger and it was not blithely swept under the rug.

The suspense was long and drawn out so that by the time the horrible truth came out, I was breathless with shock. Wow, didn't see that coming at all. And this was even with getting one of the bad guys' perspective.

Now, I want to make it clear that I really enjoyed this book, but I also found a couple things that nagged at me. One, was Isleen. Without spoilerish details, let's just say that eight years of deprivation and torture and then what came afterward that kept piling on felt just that- piling on. It was getting extreme even before the last horrific scenes took place. Secondly, I loved this romantic pair and loved them together, but I felt that the romance relied heavily on the connection to the legend of a fated mates thing. First he is her rescuer, and then her rescuer, then the issue of the other woman, then her rescuer, and so forth. I guess I wanted to see some evidence of a relationship build before the 'I love yous'. So definitely not big deal stuff, but it was there.

So, in summary, I felt this was a strong beginning and I enjoyed the author's dark, gritty world, psychic gifts, and characters. Her plot was nicely twisty and I look forward to the next book featuring the enigmatic FBI consultant who was introduced in this one. I definitely recommend it for other thriller romance fans.

My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Minxy Melissa.
1,741 reviews66 followers
December 8, 2016
This review is based on an eARC I received from NetGalley. It is an honest review and the advanced receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.

This was one twisted and unexpected story. I could not make up my mind what genre that I would even classify this under. It was foul-mouthed, believably unbelievable and at times nauseating. I loved it!

Xander Stone was struck by over 50,000 volts of electricity via a lightning strike and it did not kill him. Instead he has been “marked.” He has a phenomenon known as Lichtenberg figure all over his body. This is actually an existing phenomenon and you should look it up because it is very interesting. These keraunographic marks look like fern leaf patterns all over his skin from his lower extremities all the way to his upper with it extending up his neck, over his cheek finally ending on his forehead. It supposedly makes him look like a freak of nature but I think I would actually find it beautiful.

Due to this lightning strike Xander has the ability to read other people’s thoughts but the act of hearing it is practically crippling to him. So it more akin to a handicap than to a super power in his eyes. For several years he has been trying to drown out the voices in his head but one voice seems to speak louder than the others and she is desperate for help.

In his typical fashion Xander drowns out the voices with good ol’ alcohol until one night he is deterred from his beer run and ends up at a trailer in the middle of nowhere. Driven by a desperate need that he really does not comprehend he talks his way into the trailer and finds that it is really like the pit of hell. Seriously, you need to read this story to understand what went on in this trailer. I cannot spoil it for you. It is so scary because it is real, does happen to people, and is so very sad.

We meet Isleen Walker at this point, a tortured captive that has finally given up all hope that she will be free. For years her grandmother has buoyed her hopes that she will be rescued by the man that she has been seeing in her dreams. This man is none other than Xander himself and she has been the woman’s voice he has been “drowning out” for all those years. Well if that is not just a kick in the head.

Ok, I know that is a little of a spoiler but if you read the official synopsis then you could have figured that out. Walking a grey line I am! The real awesome-sauce of this book is the story behind how and why she ended up a captive and where that takes her. Sick I tell you, just sick! There is also something very interesting about Isleen that makes her a really interesting character and adds to the paranormal deliciousness of this story.

So what did I not like about this book? Wow on the swearing. Ick on the romance. She starts off as practically a walking skeleton but he is drawn to her and desires her, and I mean desires her physically and emotionally. There is just no way that can ever compute in my book. When you read the book, the author does use a paranormal spin to make that desire seem less disgusting but that just did not work for me. Ha ha ha, some things can just not be written in a way that would make it understandable to me. So, yes people there are some sexy times and excuse me while I dry heave.

Aside from the few things I mentioned in the “not like” department above some of you might take offense to the religious zealots that are a part of the story. Didn’t bother me but I try to always mention pieces that may turn off a person or two. Overall I loved this story! I look forward to the next installment of the Fatal Dreams series and people….get the book!

Find this review and more at The Genre Minx Book Reviews
Profile Image for Suze.
1,878 reviews1,311 followers
December 20, 2016
Xander was struck by lightning. It didn't only scar his face, it also gave him psychic abilities. He can hear people's thoughts. There's something else that changed since his accident and it's bothering him, he's hearing a voice in his head. There's a woman calling for help and he thinks he's going insane. Whenever she's there he wants to numb the screams as quickly as he can. He has no idea that the voice might actually be real.

Isleen has lived a large part of her life in captivity. She's being starved and tortured, but in her dreams she can escape. A brave and gorgeous man visits her and she feels loved and safe when she's in his arms. She's been told this man is real, but if that's actually true, why doesn't he come and rescue her? Isleen has to keep believing, but she's getting weaker every day. For how much longer can she keep going?

Race the Darkness is a beautiful story about two kindhearted people. Xander is a good man with a wonderful warm personality. He makes mistakes from time to time and he's brave enough to admit this. He's protective, he's fierce and he's strong. He uses his abilities working as a criminal consultant and he always manages to get the right information. He's pretty lonely and I kept hoping he would find someone to share his life with. Isleen is incredibly courageous and she is tough. Even though she's spent many years in a dark cell she keeps believing there will be something better for her. She's a young woman who's been through so much already, but the madness doesn't seem to stop. The moment Xander and Isleen finally meet is very special and it's a fantastic turning point in the story.

Abbie Roads has a vivid writing style that has an easy flow. I enjoyed reading about the psychic abilities of her main characters. They are facing great evil and they desperately need the advantages they have. Race the Darkness has many creative twists and turns. I loved being surprised by the story over and over again. It's interesting and dynamic with plenty of adrenaline rushes. I read this book in one sitting and I flew through the pages. Abbie Roads kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading her story. I loved this incredibly romantic and action-packed first part of the Fatal Dreams series and can't wait to read more.
Profile Image for JoDeen .
561 reviews48 followers
September 14, 2016
Race the darkness is Abbie Roads debut novel it, is also the first book in the fatal dream series. When I first heard about this book  I was so very excited ,everything about this book sounded incredible so when I  got the chance to read it I dived into this book as soon as I could and I was not disappointed Race the darkness was fantastic. 

 In this book we follow Xander  and Isleen and I absolutely love these two characters. What these two characters have been through is just horrible , with Xander getting struck by lightning and isleen spending years being tortured honestly I wish I could give them both the biggest hugs ever. What Isleen  has been through honestly some people would have cracked just being through that experience but she was determined to push forward and start living her life and Xander I'm gonna be honest with you here there was  a lot of times in this book where he kind of made me want to shake him lol but despite him being very frustrating  lol he is a good person at heart. I think it was so very cool that Xander and Isleen had supernatural  powers ,the way they were incorporated into the story was just fantastic. All the paranormal aspects of the story were just so very fascinating .There is so much happening in the story  I was constantly  asking questions like this who is doing this? Why is this happening? How is this happening? and that is exactly what I wanted to happen  I wanted to be so invested in the story that I asked those questions . With a  sexy romance ,an intriguing cast of characters and plot that had me turning the pages as quickly as I possibly could needing to know what would happen next. Abbie Roads created a fantastic story with Race  the darkness. 

 I don't think I have ever read a book quite like this one ,Race the darkness was a thrilling ,heart pounding ,emotional, romantic story with fascinating paranormal aspects .At the end of the story I felt like both Xander and Isleen  got the ending that was absolutely perfect for them . Abbie Roads has created a unique story  about two survivors who fall in love and get there happily ever after despite all the odds. I Can't wait to see what Abbie Roads writes next if you love all of these things in your book I suggest you get a copy when it comes out October 4, 2016 
Profile Image for Kahea.
2,013 reviews105 followers
September 26, 2016
I figured there would be some crazy going on with this book based on the description, and was honestly looking forward to it, but even I had a few moments of WTH going on because boy howdy is there some crazy going on here. But that crazy had me turning the pages to find out what was going on and to see how everything would be resolved.

Xander is a loner and a self proclaimed asshole, but when you are able to hear people’s thoughts and unable to control it, it’s understandable. I honestly liked Xander. He may not have been the most likeable of people at times, but there was an honesty about him that I liked. Isleen I liked as well. She’s been living in purgatory for a long time, but despite all the suffering she’s been through there is a light and strength to her that can’t be denied.

Their relationship is an interesting one and though things progress quickly it makes sense because of the connection that they have. Outside of the big, bad that kept Isleen in purgatory all those years wanting her, there are a few bumps in their road that pop up. One I’d already figured would be an issue, the other...well that one didn’t really work for me because it just felt sudden. But regardless Isleen and Xander together just worked.

It’s times like these where doing a spoiler free review is extremely difficult, but while the crazy going on had me wondering what the hell I’d gotten myself into (yes, there are some pretty heavy triggers in this one), it was pretty fascinating to watch as everything unfolded and to see how the secondary storylines were woven into the main one. And I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what Ms. Roads has in store for us in the next book, Hunt the Dawn.

~ ARC received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~
Profile Image for Nicola Rose.
Author 9 books248 followers
November 10, 2019
Fantastic dark and twisty ride!

This was exactly the paranormal romance I've been needing in my life! Abbie Roads has a great, effortless way with her words. I found the writing so engaging that I couldn't put it down. If you're after something dark, suspenseful and steamy - give this a go!
Profile Image for D.G..
1,363 reviews343 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
November 10, 2020
DNFed at 49%
I will never get back to this book now that Audible Escape is no more, so putting in the DNF pile for good!
4 reviews2 followers
July 24, 2016
Release Date: October 2016

Race The Darkness is wowzers with an extra helping of brilliant.

Our hero....
Xander Stone was struck by lightening years ago. It left his face and body scarred and gave him a special gift. Xander can hear peoples thoughts. Even though he feels the gift is a curse, the pain in his head alone is excruciating, Xander uses his gift for good. He helps the Criminal Bureau of Investigation to interrogate suspects. On his own time, he drinks in an attempt to drown out one voice that asks him for help. He never heard someone specifically ask him for help before. One night he hears the voice louder than ever. He randomly drives to where his gut tells him to go and everything in his had becomes silent.

Our heroine....
Isleen, was kidnapped with her Gran years ago. Queen, their abductor, enjoys torturing them. Whether or not she calls Isleen "Dragon" or believes Dragon must be slayed she gets off on inflicting torture. Isleen worries more about her Gran. She is only in her sixties, but looks like a starved woman in her nineties who suffers from dementia. When Gran is in her own world, Isleen does not worry as much. When Gran is lucid, Isleen feels her pain even more. But in her own world or lucid, Gran says the same thing to Isleen, he will come, he will save you.

On with the story now.....
Xander is on his way home from an interrogation and the female voice is in his head AGAIN. As alcohol is clearly not the answer to stop the voice, he follows it. What h finds is sick. Just sick. A trailer in a field with two emaciated women. The women have scars on their bodies from old wounds and the young woman has a fresh wound and is bleeding. Xander get them away from Queen, but, Queen was not alone. King was the person who gave Isleen and her Gran to Queen. And King is hunting to slay the Dragon.

Spoiler free review.....
My thoughts on the hero

I loved Xander. He is different. Not just because of his scars or his ability to read minds, he's different because he has zero people skills. Zero relationship skills. And that goes further than his interactions with Isleen. His relationship with his Dad, Uncle and co-workers leave a lot to be desired. (To be fair, if I could read minds and someone smiled and gave me a compliment, while thinking "fecking eejit" I'd be brutally honest, like Xander too). Xander's downside for me was sleeping with his colleague's sister. Yes, he knows her thoughts do not go to love, but, Xander come on....ten years of hooking up would give anyone ideas of settling down. In love or not.

My thoughts on the heroine

Isleen is one of the best heroines I've read. She endures physical and mental abuse. She has precognitive dreams of people being murdered. She's been kidnapped before she could have an awkward fumble after prom night. Is she a shy virgin who lets people walk all over her? Oh hell no!! (Love her reactions to Xander's night time dalliance from before they met)

My thoughts on the book

Race The Darkness does what it says on the tin. It's about surviving darkness, discovering who is behind madness killings and chasing away dark dreams so they won't come true. And if they do, how to handle them. It's also about bad people hiding behind what "The Lord" says....I really loved how King's mentor, The Chosen One (self appointed title?) gets King, Queen and his other minions to do his crazy dirty work, because "The Lord" said so. Nothing about God. Or Allah. Or Buddha. Or Mother Nature. Just the words "The Lord" and "Chosen One" are used. The author was very clever in her wording.
This book is a romance, but it delves into how people can be brainwashed. And how its hard for people to believe in anything other than real life, science and what TV or the Kardashians have to say. (the Kardashians bit is just me on modern life).

For a fan of anything paranormal or supernatural, this is is a must read. The pages could not turn quick enough for me. The bad guys hide behind all that is good. The good guys are barely getting their heads around the paranormal powers that ordinary people can have, and the MC's have paranormal powers in spades.

If, like me, you can work out whodunnit, it's still a great book. It's paranormal, so soulmates find love early on. What I loved was, the word 'mate' wasn't used. The H and h found each other, felt happy and safe with each other while fighting dark forces.

Displaying 1 - 30 of 277 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.