Monday, December 15, 2014

REVIEW: Dark Prayer by Natasha Mostert

My Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Eloise Blake is on the run from a life she no longer remembers. Having went into some kind of fugue state that's lasted about two years now, she's left behind her former life as Jenilee Gray, taken up a new hobby with a tribe of free runners, and is living in a run down squat. Eloise's new identity is as different from Jenilee as night is to day.

Enter Jack Simonetti. Jack is a bit of a spoiled playboy, living off his rich father's purse strings, and recently transported from the UK to NYC. Dear old dad threatens to cut off Jack's money supply unless he does a favor for an old friend, Daniel Barone. Grudgingly, Jack agrees but eventually heads off to London to meet with Barone. Barone, who was Eloise's former guardian, fills Jack in and tasks him with getting close to Eloise and convincing her to return to her previous life. For as luck would have it, Barone is an expert in memory manipulation, and believes he has the skills to help Eloise return to her former self.

Unfortunately, things aren't quite that straightforward. Eloise has had one too many "accidental" close calls and Barone is certain that someone is dogging her, intent on doing her harm. Though Jack manages to get close to Eloise, using their common interest in parkour (free running) as his in, he starts to develop feelings for her. So if he manages to convince her to trust Barone and return to her previous life, she'll no longer remember him or any other details about her life as Eloise. So what's a guy to do??

I thought this was a fantastic story. I loved how much of the memory stuff was backed up by scientific fact, something I didn't fully realize until the author's note at the end. I know the whole "boy meets girl, falls in love, saves girl from bad guys" can be a bit cliché and overdone at times, but seriously, that small but overly simplistic piece of the plot was done up so well around an amazing thriller of a story, that you barely even realized that's what was going on.

The author did a wonderful job building her characters and the world around them. Eloise seemed tough as nails at the start, but as Jack gets to know her, she starts to let a bit more of her vulnerable side show, and you feel like you're peeling layers off an onion. (Shrek anyone? LOL)

Seriously though, if you like mystery and suspense thrillers, you owe it to yourself to check this book out. And now I realize I've had one of Mostert's other books, Season of the Witch, languishing on my TBR shelf for far too long. Must push that one towards the top of the pile!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Portable Magic, Ltd., for providing me with a copy of this e-book in exchange for an honest review.