My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for an honest review at Seductive Musings.
There are many writers who specialize in the darkest of erotic novels, both with and without romantic elements, but there are very few who are truly talented in this often misunderstood subgenre. One of those writers is Skye Warren, who has displayed her incredible talent again in what I believe is her best book yet – Never Let Go. This is the fourth entry in her Dark Erotica series, but a reader new to her work should have no problem reading it as a stand-alone. It features a couple who not only appear to be mismatched from the start, but who ultimately put a whole new spin on the terms “hero” and “heroine” that would normally be used to describe them here.
Samantha Holmes never had a real childhood, thanks to her father. He tortured and killed other children for years, but left her alive long enough to be the one who turned him in. No human could emerge from such an experience without some sort of serious emotional damage, yet Samantha is determined not to let anyone suspect that she is anything but normal. As a rookie agent for the FBI, her goal is to put the bad guys in jail, but as a woman, most of what she gets to do involves more mundane tasks, like filing and fetching coffee. So when she is abruptly assigned to one of the Bureau’s most high-profile cases, partnering with a legendary senior agent, she doesn’t let herself question too closely why she, of all people, would be chosen.
On the surface, Ian Hennessy seems to be exactly as he appears, namely the no-nonsense agent who always gets the bad guy and will stop at nothing to get Carlos Laguardia, even if it means dumping his new lady partner before she even has a chance to contribute. Samantha is drawn to him sexually in spite of herself, knowing that although the attraction is mutual, the outcome can’t be anything but bad. Who in their right mind would want a monster like her…unless that person was one, too?
Anyone who was following me on Twitter when I was reading Don’t Let Go got to see my instant reaction in a series of tweets where I expressed just how much I enjoyed it:
When a review book unexpectedly rewards you with writing so
perfectly nuanced and understated that it makes you want to
weep with joy. #win
It’s so damn good, this book.
I now have a book hangover THIS BIG and it’s all @skye_warren ‘s fault.
I still can’t wrap my head around how much this book got to me. Although I am a long-time fan of truly deeply dark erotica, I normally shy away from books that reference extreme violence, especially against women or children. I’m also nearly burned out on romances where the heroine has been broken/damaged/whatever and can only be “saved” by a hero who is often also broken/damaged/whatever by similar circumstances. But Don’t Let Go morphs both of those tropes into something unique and fascinating, both as a character study and as a genuine romance between a man and a woman who ultimately agree that they are perfectly matched for one another…and all that that implies. To tell you any more would be to ruin all its secrets. But in a year when I’ve been fortunate enough to have read so many 5 star books, you should know that Don’t Let Go has immediately vaulted to the top of my list for 2013, and it will be a difficult task to dislodge it from that spot.
Sensuality level: 4.5 (multiple scenes of violent dubious consent, bondage, flogging and use of sex toys; threats of rape and sexual violence; discussion of child sex abuse and murder)