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Friday, October 24, 2008

Chain Reaction

**** Chain Reaction by Rebecca York. Romantic suspense.

Wow, was this an intense book! Security expert Gage Darnell is caught in an explosion in a lab, and wakes up in a mental hospital. He's sedated, restrained, not allowed to see his wife, and nobody will tell him anything. He overhears enough to worry him, and decides to escape.

Though he's weakened from the sedatives and the time in bed, he's able to loosen his restraints, and is on his way out of the hospital when a janitor sees him. He subdues the janitor, then trades clothes with him and hides the janitor in a closet, escaping with a couple more close calls, one of which involved him being amazingly able to make a hole in a chain link fence. He eventually deduces that whatever was going on at the lab, something about the explosion has left him with telekinetic ability.

His plan is simply to go to his wife and find out what's going on. But then he hears on the news that the janitor he left alive and (literally) kicking has been killed, and now he's not just an escaped mental patient, but a fugitive murderer. And his wife Lily has been warned that he's been violent, and has killed a man to escape.

She might not have believed it, but they've been living all but separate lives for the past few months while he's been working on the security at the lab, trying to do a great job to get his security company off the ground.

I really felt for Gage, but boy, did he screw up. It was perfectly understandable--he was desperate and didn't have time to think up better alternatives--but taking his wife hostage at gunpoint is really not the way to win her trust.

And Lily was far too unwilling to listen to him, in my opinion. Of course, as a reader, I knew he was innocent, and since he was the protagonist, and the first character I met, I was naturally identifying with him, but she could have shown a little bit more doubt about his guilt.

Still, it was refreshing to have a hero and heroine in a romance novel who did screw up. Because, let's face it, we all do. And while it was uncomfortable to read about this couple hurting each other so badly, it was all too understandable, and nothing came as a shock or surprise. Several scenes were not unlike the horror movies where you're yelling at the girl not to go up the stairs, but you know she's going to do it anyway.

Chain Reaction was the first of a trilogy--the second is Critical Exposure by Ann Voss Peterson, and the third is Triggered Response by Patricia Rosemoor. I'm not planning on getting the others--I bought this solely because it's by Rebecca York, but if I happen to see them used, I may pick them up.

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