Reviewed by Tori
Occult Special Investigator Tess Corday has taken a leave of absence from OSI. An absence only granted if she continues to see the company shrink. Tess has had a rough ride the last few books. She has learned about her father, sister, and the secrets her mother has been keeping from her. She feels her family is starting to drift apart and wants to make sure they know she will always be there for them if and when they leave. When an important public figure is found dead in his home and a dangerous drug is making its way on the streets, Tess begins to unofficially investigate her own. Tracking down a murderer and drug dealer will take Tess down a road of no return. A road that could spell the end of her world as she knows it.
Bleeding Out is the final book in Jes Battis’s OSI series. Mr. Battis has built an urban fantasy world whose twisted layers and complicated characters are finally explained in this finale. In here, Jes Battis takes us deep into the core of Tess Corday. Tess is still trying to come to terms with her demon half and the man who is her father. Her life is a mixture of contradictions and questions. Even with everything Tess has learned, she finds herself still without the crucial pieces that could tie it all together. Tess is also having to deal with her family growing up. Tess has invested so much in keeping them all safe, she now feels the loss of them as they all get ready to leave the nest to pursue their own lives.
I’ll be honest, Bleeding Out confused and disappointed me. The build up to it promised spectacular fireworks and all I got was a few uninspiring sparks. Told in the first person, which I normally enjoy, I found myself unable to keep up with the rapid changes between Tess’s dialogue, thoughts, and dreams. The previous books were an intriguing mixture of magic, romance, and crime fighting, but here I felt the storylines was undeveloped and rushed. Tess spends a majority of her time flirting between storylines without making a real commitment to any of them. Multiple subplots keep you on your toes but not because of the rich plot lines but because you have no idea where they are going. Scenes ended abruptly, characters are given incredible build up only to fall flat, and the mysteries are solved with unbelievable endings that I couldn’t help but wonder if Mr. Battis was just ready for it all to end.
Tess is a flawed heroine which has gone far in her acceptability, but in here she is a mere shell of her normal self. Merely a player rather then the star. The supporting characters make random appearances; their dialogues shocking in their inability to merge with the storyline. I was disappointed by how infrequently we see them. Derrick has always played a large role in the overall arc, yet in here he is barely seen and the one time he plays a major scene, his actions shock me. Lucian is much more of a viable presence yet he is as one dimensional as Tess in here. As the reader, I did not have the feeling their relationship had progressed in any significant way even though much lip service insinuates it has.
Battis had toned down the technical references and long winded descriptions that overwhelmed in his earlier books but it is back in full confusing force here. While I did enjoy the series, I found this last installment a complete deviation from what I have come to expect from Mr. Battis, and not in a good way.
Overall Rating: D