Pawn of the Phoenix by Jamie McLachlan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The first in the series, Mind of the Phoenix, ended in a bit of a cliffhanger. Not the, “Why did you do this to me?” type of ending. More the, “Yes, that’s the perfect ending. Now tell me MORE!” finale.
So I went into Pawn of the Phoenix excited and ready to see where the story would lead. Pawn opens with Moira and Keenan still embroiled in the mystery of the Phoenix, but also still revolving around one another - trapped and unsure how to move forward. The killer has struck again and through their investigation, Keenan begins to suspect that there may be another victim that no one guessed at yet. Moira moves into Keenan’s house for her own safety, but finds living with the detective frustrating and confusing. She struggles both with the idea of her relative freedom but also with the knowledge that when the case ends, her future is undecided.
As with Mind of the Phoenix, McLachlan nails the character development. Both Keenan and Moira are traumatized individuals, carrying heavy emotional burdens. They don’t simply cast this baggage off to one side when it becomes inconvenient to the story. Instead, they bear it with them as they draw closer to one another. Their story is fantastic and heart wrenching at the same time.
Pacing is excellent and the setting very well drawn. Moira and Keenan’s world is brutal. McLachlan convincingly portrays the ways empaths in her stories have chosen to deal with their enslavement. Some are acquiescent, accepting of their places in society, while others manipulate from behind the scenes. Some exploit the system they live under, while others are borne along with the tide of a culture that hates them, but finds them useful.
A fantastic sequel and well worth the read!
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