Series: Midnight Trilogy, Book 2
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Formats: Paperback, Kindle
Sultry and Steamy
Detective Todd Brooks is sick of being in the dark on cases, sick of feeling like his partner...the partner he saw turn into a wolf in an agonizing cacophony of broken and reshaped bones and limbs, doesn't trust him. And he's still not sure how the heck that guy Niol tossed him across the room without seeming to lay a hand on him. He's haunted by what he's seen but he's struggling not to let it affect his work. So what if he's gotten a little testy from the burden? When a new murder case drops into his and his partner Colin's lap, evidence points hard towards the sexiest woman Todd's ever seen and he instantly wants her - bad. He should have guessed that's all is not what it seems, and as murdered men keep popping up, the suspect who every instinct inside Todd is screaming is innocent falls under closer scrutiny and Todd finds out she's got a few secrets of her own. Like the fact that she's a sex demon, for one, though Cara prefers the term succubus, and thanks to Todd no longer accepting being kept in the dark by his partner and Captain, he's already realized that the most likely perpetrator of the deaths of several of Atlanta's human male population is a succubus. Problem is, they're territorial, and Cara's the only one in town. Maybe he shouldn't have slept with her after all...
I truly enjoy Cynthia Eden's writing style and her ability to put together a rousing suspense novel ripe with fantastic paranormal aspects. I think she has a near adept-level ability to wend stunning sexuality, heat, and emotion into a conflagration that sets pages on fire. I love this world she's created for her Midnight trilogy, a world in which others such as demons, shifters, vampires, and witches work and play side by side with humanity with most humans being none the wiser. In the first book of the trilogy, Hotter After Midnight, I also thoroughly enjoyed the lead characters and their relationship, as well as the development of the mystery and suspense, and thought those two aspects worked well together.
Midnight Sins wasn't quite as effective in that last area, unfortunately. We first met the good detective in that first book, Hotter After Midnight, and to be honest, I didn't like him very much. Todd's a bit too quick to fire on that temper of his and he has a tendency to walk very loudly while carrying that big stick. He struck me as stubborn, close minded, opinionated, long on ego, and not so long on intelligence. Admittedly, that impression improved when he got his own book, and his character developed along nicer paths as soon as he got a look at Cara, the succubus with the heart of gold, a sex demon who's given up sex because it leaves her feeling empty inside.
To be honest, I thought the plot of Midnight Sins was a little stronger and more comprehensive than Hotter After Midnight, the danger more personal, and the motivations of the perpetrator more believable. The development and arc of the plot overall was good. I just had some difficulties warming up to Todd as a character, and I wasn't totally sold on the relationship between Todd and Cara. I did enjoy Todd eventually, and I think there was a lot of progress in his character from the previous book through to the end of this one. There were several scenes, one with Colin in particular, in which Todd's lack of prejudice and his ability to adapt quickly to a major paradigm shift became a very nice character trait.
That left, however, problems for me between him and Cara. Their relationship was sexy, it was sultry, it was hot, but it didn't have a whole lot of narrative surrounding its development (it was more like 'I see, I want, I have'), and it didn't offer much beyond superficial motivations for their hook up. Cara's smokin' hot (she's a succubus, so that sort of goes without saying) and Todd's drawn to her almost compulsively, and in Cara's case, she can't mind mojo Todd when he's awake and that appeals to her. It just didn't strike me as much of a solid foundation for a long lasting relationship. Obviously, they get to know each other better as the book progresses, but I never quite got the sense of a love match, so much as a lust match.
Other aspects of the book were very appealing, though. I thoroughly enjoy when books in a series include characters previously featured, like Todd's partner, the wolf shifter Colin Gyth and his lover Dr. Emily Drake, the monster doctor, from Hotter After Midnight. As Todd's partner, Colin was in several scenes with him, but there were also one or two that featured Colin and Emily alone and I thought the continuity and solidity of character definition between the first book and this one was particularly well done with them and also with the Medical Examiner Smith and the guys' Captain, McNeal.
Despite not being totally enamored of the foundations of the relationship between Todd and Cara, by the end they did fit pretty well together, and the story surrounding them was enjoyable. I'm very much looking forward to the conclusion of the trilogy, Midnight's Master, to spend some time with my favorite character of the entire series so far, the level ten demon Niol. I love that he has his own book and I can't wait to read it.