I don't really read many of these types of books. For some reason, thrillers just don't excite me, and a lot of the time, I can see right through them. When my previous book club decided on something just a little bit creepy, I thought this might be a book worth taking a look at. It is a thriller, but it doesn't fall into the category of a procedural, and it also has some paranormal elements to it. Keeping the paranormal elements in mind, I found that I was pleasantly surprised by this book and might actually seek out more in this series.
First off, I found the Violets to be a really clever creation by Woodworth. They are not mentally like other humans, and because of the work they do, they must be physically altered as well. Most of them are shaved bald and tattooed in order to have better access to pressure points on their heads that are fit with electrodes while they are at work, and all of them have the most hypnotizing violet eyes. They are a pretty anti-social group, but really, you can't blame them for that, as the government seeks them out at birth and basically controls their education, family lives and careers. There is a lot of vague threatening on the government's behalf when it comes to the Violets. There’s no doubt that the the government considers them a form of property—an advanced set of bloodhounds, if you will. All of this makes the Violets pretty bitter people, and even when they are forced to do their jobs, they are mostly petulant and sarcastic.
The ball really gets rolling fast with this story, and the first scene is one of horror, as a young Violet girl is brutally murdered. When it comes to tracking this killer down, things get sketchy. First off, there is no evidence to collect, and when Natalie makes a connection with the murdered girl, the investigators find that the girl didn't actually see her killer. This is a problem, as a first hand account cannot be obtained. After more investigation, Atwater and Natalie realize that more than half the population of Violets have been murdered in a similar fashion, and information is scant.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Violets and their talents is the view of the afterlife that is presented to them. It seems that once your body dies, your soul goes into a black and undefined space that lacks any exit. The soul is confined there, fruitlessly trying to find release, and can only be delivered from the darkness once the Violet has made contact and has let the dead speak through them. I found this to be pretty bleak, as this seemed to be the most common fate of the people in this world. Woodworth does make mention of the fact that some souls find a way to pass on, but the majority of them are trapped. This causes problems for the Violets because they are the only ones who really know what happens after death, and creates a fear of their impending imprisonment and darkness in the void of their afterlife.
Though I saw the love story in this book coming a mile off, I still ended up enjoying aspects of it. Mainly that was because Atwater and Natalie seemed so different and it wasn't until much later on that their personalities became complimentary. I was actually surprised at how much I liked them as a couple and was a little disappointed by the direction that the story took in the later sections of the book. Natalie was really no-nonsense and Atwater pestered and cajoled her out of her ill humor most of the time, but it wasn't until later that I saw the sparks between them that could lead to something more. It was a restrained love affair, that's for sure, but one that I felt was well deserved. There wasn't a lot of sex in this story, which made it seem a little more genuine to me, and as the two lovers came together, there was a sense of shared bonding in horrific circumstances.
Though I wasn't really happy with the ending of this book, I did find the majority of it pretty interesting. There was a great sense of urgency to the plot, and aside from the flimsy dialogue and the plain writing, I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I had expected to. There were some great twists in the story that propelled things very nicely, and what the book lost in artfulness, it gained in creativity. If you are looking for a paranormal thriller that doesn't involve vampires, werewolves or fairies, this might make a good read for you!