Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “So basically you’re just attracted to me because I’m boring?”
Taylor Jones is having trouble dealing with the fact that he is irrevocably in love with a fellow agent, Desiree Lincoln. He and Dez share one beautiful night of passion that had Dez hoping for a future with Taylor, but issues from his past make that impossible. When a mission results in her almost dying, Taylor hurts her more by pushing her away, citing that work and personal relationships don’t mix. Dez has had enough and quits the force to strike out on her own. A psychic that speaks to the dead, Dez works freelance to support herself. When Dez is called by a ghost to investigate his death and save a girl from a similar fate, she is shocked when Taylor arrives to help. Taylor doesn’t know why Dez is in his hometown, but the memories of the past scare him; especially if the ghosts from Taylor’s past start to talk to Dez.
The Departed is the second in Shiloh Walker’s intensely sensual and intriguing dark paranormal series, The Missing. The Departed, picks up a couple of years after the first book, also titled The Missing, ends. Though part of a series, it can be read as a stand alone. The Departed is a shockingly seductive psychological thriller that hooked me from page one. Shiloh Walker has a wonderful writing style that draws you in to her characters emotional pathways and lets you feel with them what they are experiencing. Romance and taut suspense go hand in hand as we follow a gritty and dark well plotted storyline down a twisting path of deception, betrayal, and madness.
Our hero, Taylor Jones, came across as a very cold and uncaring man in The Missing. The job always comes first. Everything else is fodder. He was so unlikable in The Missing, I was looking forward to seeing how Ms. Walker would redeem him in my eyes here. And redeem him she does. The bulk of the story revolves around Taylor and the reasons he originally started this special task force. His sister disappeared over 25 years ago and since then, Taylor has done everything he could to ensure every child, missing or dead, is found and given closure. A hard and emotionally closed man, Taylor has thick walls built around himself. He draws a strict line between himself and his employees; ensuring none of them ever met the real Taylor. Ms. Walker does a fabulous job of slowly bringing his walls down, one brick at a time, and introducing us to the real Taylor Jones. An intense, conflicted, and emotionally haunted man.
Dez Lincoln is the exact opposite of Taylor. Though her life was nothing more then a series of poverty and foster homes, Dez is an open friendly person who embraces life with joy. A snarky blend of humor and laughter that Dez embraces gives the book a respite from the overall somber feel of it. She loves Taylor but refuses to play his hot/cold emotional game. When she realizes that Taylor is even more closed off after their one night together, she decides that it’s better to leave the job then watch him leave her day by day. Though leaving him broke her heart, it doesn’t shatter or cripple her.
When Taylor sees Dez again after a year, the emotional ties that bind them are still there, as strong and frightening as ever. Taylor realizes that letting Dez walk away was the worst mistake of his life. She completes him and he’ll do anything he can to keep her from leaving again. But Dez doesn’t make it easy for him.
“Are you even listening to me?”
“No.” Dez smiled. “I can’t say that I am. And you know what’s really wonderful about it? You can’t do much more then snarl and growl about it. After all, your not my boss, right?”
The romance between them is hot yet bittersweet. The chemistry between them smolders heavy in the background as they struggle to get past the hurt and pain they left each other with. It’s a major part of the storyline and complements the main arc. Their physical scenes are tasteful and satisfying. It was very easy to get caught up in the emotional currents of these two star crossed lovers as try to find their second chance.
The secondary characters are bold, viable additions to the story as they add layers to the suspense and mystery. Each one is a piece in the puzzle; they make up a solid foundation for our storyline to build upon. As with any good thriller, there are multi sub plots running through the main storyline and each one is a key to the final outcome. Ms. Walker does a fabulous job of maintaining these separate entities without overburdening us with unnecessary information or complicated scenarios. When it all comes together in the end, we are treated to an astounding finale that ties it all together, solid and tight, with no questions left unanswered. Though I figured out rather early who the villains were, the journey into their minds and reasoning was exciting as we are given an exclusive tour of the evil that exists in man. Be forewarned, there is some subject matter in here that may leave you feeling a little raw.
The Departed is a worthy sequel to The Missing and a must read for those readers who love their paranormal romances to be wrapped in dark emotional suspense and intrigue. I do hope Ms. Walker continues with this series.
Overall Rating: B+