Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley Heat (July 3, 2007)
Publisher: Berkley Heat (July 3, 2007)
Vax was once committed to his life as a Hunter, tracking down the evil beings who preyed on humans, but he opted out of the game long ago. Now, he is pulled back in - because somebody, somewhere, is in danger. And, despite his best efforts, Vax can't ignore his calling...
Jess Warren is determined to find the maniac who killed her sister. A gifted psychic and telekinetic, she will do anything to exact her revenge. Even if it means putting herself in peril...
THEIR INSATIABLE DESIRE
Jess would rather not accept Vax's help - especially since letting him have his way could draw her deeper into his irresistibly sensuous realm. But then he saves her life - and they discover that the depraved madman they've been looking for is much closer than either of them could have imagined...
[First of all, let me start by saying (again) that I love this series. Over time, it has evolved and matured, and what was created from these changes is an intelligent and complex series that has me coming back time and again. Currently, "Hunting the Hunter" is my favorite story, and I hope to have a review up at a later date].
"Hunter's Salvation" starts out very promising. We once again meet up with Vax Matthews, the former Hunter who finds himself reluctantly thrown back into the life he walked away from long ago. Compelled to answer the call, Vax is drawn to Indianapolis where some evil beings are using science and magick to create a rogue army, and in the process, lives have been lost, including that of Miranda "Randi" Warren, an inncent who's brutal death is a dire warning to her sister Jessica Warren, an investigative reporter who has come a little too close for comfort to the shady goings-on at a goth club called Debach.
Having lost her parents and now her sister, Jess has nothing left to lose, and is bound and determined to exact revenge on her sister's killers, even if it results in her own death. What she doesn't count on is a sexy ex-Hunter who is just as determined to help, and hopefully save her from herself. Thwarted at every turn by Vax, Jess soon discovers it might be better to have a powerful witch in her corner, especially if it will prevent her from being killed, at least until she reaches her goal of avenging her sister.
Along the way, Vax and Jess are inevitably drawn into numerous dangerous circumstances as they search for answers. They run themselves ragged trying to stop these rogue killers from gathering more victims for their pet project and at the same time giving them ample opportunities to act on the attraction that they both feel for each other, yet keeping their emotions uninvolved. Neither seem eager to pursue anything other than a casual relationship - though Jess claims she doesn't do casual -and most of their focus is spent on tracking down a group of soul-less killers. But will one of them be forced to make the ultimate sacrifice to prevent any more innocent people from dying?
I liked the book, I did, but by the end, I had a few too many unanswered questions to completely love it. The story felt a little disconnected from the rest of the series, even though several Hunters make an appearance throughout. For example, we know Jess has these powers, but other than a few low-key situations, she really doesn't make use of them. She could have had no powers at all for all the good it did her. Why does she have these powers, and how strong are they? Does she have any other abilities? And exactly what was the point of having any powers at all if there wasn't a valid reason for them? I'd sure be wanting to give them a test drive, if it were me.
Then there was the bad guys and their plans for a rogue army. What were their plans for this army? To get rich quick? Kill Hunters? Control the universe? Pick up chicks? And how exactly did they plan on carrying out this mission? Who exactly died, and who survived? And what really did happen to their most successful science "experiment"? Inquiring minds want to know.
Another noticeable difference is that usually the romantic couple that the story centers around has an overwhelmingly strong connection and attraction right from the start, yet I didn't feel it much with Vax and Jess, both very worthy characters who were just begging for their own HEA, but other than a few hot encounters, I didn't sense that urgency, that need for each other than I've felt with the other books. I think more time was spent drinking coffee and eating than was spent getting to really know each other, and I was disappointed by those missed opportunities. There wasn't that familiar ache of longing that Shiloh does so well in her books, and I really, really missed it.
Basically I had to wonder if this was an unfinished storyline, one that created threads to (hopefully) be answered in future books while still achieving HEA status. It reminded me of the "Pirates of the Caribbean Part 2" where there's a cliffhanger (as there was in Mike's and Leandra's story involving a key player that was brought to light in Malachi's story), only I wasn't quite sure what it was supposed to be; there was no giant sea creature who swallowed Jess or Vax whole. (Now wouldn't that have been interesting?) I really hope we haven't seen the last of Jess and Vax, because while they did hook up in the end, I would love to see their relationship get stronger, and to have their powers explored more thoroughly.
So bottom line: while I did like the story, it just didn't reach out and grab me like previous Hunter books. I eventually acknowledged not every book in the series is going to be my absolute favorite. I felt like I'm missing something substantial here, and probably Shiloh is cooking up a really exciting and nerve-wracking story or stories that will have me biting my nails with impatience and anxiety (damn her!) though when I went to her website, I couldn't find any Hunter info beyond this book. So I'll keep my fingers crossed for the next one.