I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Desolation Road by Christine Feehan
Genres: Erotica, Paranormal
Published by Berkley on July 7, 2020
Source: the library
Also by this author: Air Bound, Rocky Mountain Miracle, Power Game, Earth Bound, Spider Game, "Dark Crime", Judgment Road, Toxic Game, Vengeance Road, Fire Bound, Bound Together, Shadow Warrior, Leopard's Wrath, Wild Cat, Cat's Lair, Vendetta Road, Lethal Game
Fourth in the Torpedo Ink paranormal romance series revolving around a psychic motorcycle club (it’s a spin-off from Sea Haven which also spun off Sisters of the Heart (SoH), whose characters are also a part of Torpedo Ink. The couple focus is on “Absinthe” and Scarlet Foley.
This is such a catch-22 for me. I like the club’s mission and that justice gets done. But Feehan has really got a sick imagination. The background of the club members is so incredibly horrible! And I must confess that I did not care for this kitten play. For one, Scarlet slipped into it much too easily, even as Absinthe laid it out for her too soon into their “relationship”.
It is interesting that none of the club has any “normal” social skills. It does make sense that the way they were raised precluded any understanding of a usual social encounter with anyone. Including going on a date. The coping they do in each story is intriguing. That they’re each looking for someone to still what bedevils them.
Feehan uses a third person dual protagonist point-of-view from Absinthe’s and Scarlet’s perspectives. We hear every thought and feel every emotion. Over and over and over. While I do like that these eighteen men and women are so protective of each other, the repetition…oy, it’s annoying. I do empathize with Absinthe and the agony of having everyone’s thoughts and experiences in his mind, and Feehan passes this agony on to us with all that bloody repetition. I get it, okay? Sure, it’s his character arc, and Absinthe does grow and come to understand, intellectually at least, his guilt over his older brother’s death even as he continues to stress over his part in creating these “monsters”. But I don’t need to read it over and over and over and…
As usual, Feehan slowly dribbles out hints about Scarlet’s past, which is also pretty bad. So, yeah, there’s action here as well as her own back story. Scarlet certainly surprised me with her approach to what happened to her. She’s quite realistic, and I do appreciate that she doesn’t let it go. That she finds justice just as Torpedo Ink does.
How sad is it that we can’t rely on our legal system for justice.
Lana is having her own crisis, not knowing what’s she’s good at, besides killing, seduction, and cards. It’s Absinthe who figures out what her gift is, and it is an odd one, however practical.
There are chunks where Feehan is obscure in what she’s writing. One example is Absinthe’s explanation of how he got his nickname??? Nor does she make it clear who had been gunning for president: Sorbacov’s friend or son or both at different times? As for the Russian, does he run Sword Security or is he another group? That whole scene with Adrik claiming Scarlet will tear up Absinthe? What was that about? Sounds like Scarlet abided by his rules…
“There aren’t any dated words. They’re all perfectly good if they’re used properly.”
Oh man, the activities at the club’s training camp for the kids, lol…never would I have thought of these!
There’s plenty of action but most of it is the club members reliving their past and the abuse that made them what they are. Naturally, more focus is on Absinthe since this is his moment “to shine”, so to speak. His sexual relationship with Scarlet gets a lot of play as well. And then there’s the crisis followed by its climax, yeah, funny… Feehan could have handled this so much better, made it more believable. …and Scarlet gave in again, so easily, too easily.
More action lies in the set-up the Diamondbacks are planning for Torpedo Ink. That club does not know who they’re plotting against, lol. I do wish we’d had more of this type of action. Oh well…
Ice has a point, a good one:
“I say the word [swear] or I prefer a Harley to a car, and no one wants me around their kid, but they let some [jerk] dressed all nice in the door and he’s all over their kid. They don’t even notice because he goes to church or he’s got money.”
Yeah, don’t be judging that book by its cover…
The ousted Tawny is playing Diamondback into believing that Torpedo Ink is planning on taking them down, and yet Diamondback wants Torpedo Ink to help them against a rival club?
That’s not all that stinks, as the Diamondbacks were pushing the club owners to sell to them far below what the clubs were worth.
Scarlet Foley is a librarian in hiding with some hidden mad skills. Priscilla is the younger sister who committed suicide after her rape. Their parents are also dead.
Aleksei “Absinthe” Solokov is the MC’s lawyer with the ability to sense truth or lies as well as command with his voice and a gift for languages. He adores books and retains everything he reads. He also needs his kiska.
Torpedo Ink is…
…a motorcycle club with eighteen members based in Caspar, California. Czar, the president who’s married to Blythe (Bound Together, SoH 6 (13)), leads Team 1. Their adopted children include the most recent addition, Jimmy, who is having trouble adjusting. The other kids are Darby, Zoe, and young Emily, who are birth sisters and Kenny (Bound Together, SoH 6 (13)). Each rescued from a trafficking ring. Lucia, Benito (a young assassin-in-training, lol), Nicia and Sofia who are twins, and Siena were rescued by (and then adopted by) Maxim and Airiana Prakenskii in Air Bound, SoH 3 (10).
Team 1 includes Absinthe; Reaper is with Anya (Judgment Road, 1 (14)); Transporter; and, Mechanic who can disrupt and direct electrical signals. Savage, the club’s go-to man, is extreme about sex, and he has some really intense sociopathic issues. Alena “Torch” is a fabulous cook with the gift of sharing the smell and taste of food; she’s opened a successful restaurant in Caspar. Ice, who creates one-of-a-kind jewelry (he’s with Soleil and both are into their art, making it a business; Vendetta Road, 3) and Storm are Alena’s twin brothers.
Steele, a doctor and their vice-president who’s married to Breezy (Vengeance Road, 2 (15)), heads up Team 2, which includes Maestro, Master, Keys, and Preacher, who all love to do woodworking and playing in their band. (Preacher is also a chemist who can manufacture the perfect scent.) They formed a construction company restoring Caspar. Lana is still searching for her value. Code is their IT guy. Cat is a friend of Code’s who is equally expert on the computer.
Gavriil (married to Lexi, who runs the sisters‘ farm (Earth Bound, SoH 4 (11)) and Casimir Prakenskii (married to Lissa, a famous glassblower (Fire Bound, SoH 5 (12)) are Czar’s birth brothers and newly patched, having attended a school different from Czar’s.
Fatei is a respected prospect who had been at another school. Hitch is another prospect. Rurik Volkov, a.k.a. Razrushitel or “Destroyer“, was a loner who had been at one of the schools and patched in to Torpedo Ink’s Trinity chapter. Now he’s patched in to Torpedo Ink. Calina had been Rurik’s younger sister. Alena does not like him. Heidi is one of the club girls.
Demyan had been Absinthe’s older brother with a similar gift. Adrik Orlov lives in Thailand and had been one of those students, becoming a top assassin. Now he sometimes takes on a student.
Sea Haven is…
…a small town a few hours from Caspar. Inez Nelson is helping Torpedo Ink set up the grocery store in Caspar. Donny Ruttermyer has Down syndrome and works for Inez. Donny has a studio apartment above Donna‘s store. Josefa Diaz is a friend of Scarlet’s, sort of, whom Scarlet helped to escape from a human trafficking ring. Jonas Harrington is the local sheriff (Safe Harbor, Safe Haven 5) with Jackson his deputy who also has a gift as a human lie detector (Hidden Currents, Safe Haven 7). Dr Libby Drake‘s story is in Dangerous Tides, Safe Haven 4.
Tom is a sixteen-year-old whom Scarlet is tutoring. Joan Miller is another high school student who’s in trouble. Brenda is their travel-loving mother. Alison is their housekeeper whom Brenda fired because of what Luke, Joan’s brother told their mother. Giles McCarthy is an eligible bachelor, a wealthy philanthropist with evil in his mind.
The Diamondbacks are…
…a powerful international 1-percenter motorcycle club that pretty much rules California. Pierce is an enforcer for their Mendocino chapter and in a relationship with Alena. Plank is president of the Sea Haven chapter and had hired Torpedo Ink in Judgment Road, 1 (14). Trade. One of Plank’s closest friends, Terry “Judge” Partridge, has an old lady, Theresa, who has become friends with Tawny, a former Torpedo Ink club girl, who got kicked out.
…a small motorcycle club encroaching on Diamondback territory which does work for Holden Sr. Jeff Partridge is their president. Iron is a sergeant-at-arms. Three of their members are day managers at three strip clubs: Jacko is at the Gypsy Club; Wings at the Felix Club; and, Holler at the Devil’s Palace with its very own dungeon. Diane Miller was a single mother with two kids who refused.
Twisted Steel is…
…another motorcycle club involved with Holden Sr.
The Ghosts are…
…another motorcycle club that hires assassins to kill the women of rival clubs. Louis Levasseur is a member of their drug running group.
Haley Joico inherited a strip club from her uncle and runs it safely for the employees. Until she had a bigger idea.
Robert Barnes-Holden III is/was a spoiled little rich boy whose father, Holden Sr, bought him out of every scrape and crime the jerk got into. Junior’s joined-at-the-hip frat brothers included Beau Cabot (a screw-up his mother babied) and Arnold Harrison. Daddy uses Venomous club members as his security team. When Junior’s deathbed letter came out, his mother initiated divorce proceedings. Judge Benedict Calloway retired after financing a very nice art collection.
Sorbacov, a sick pedophile, commanded a secret, violent division of the military that murdered anyone who opposed and could damage Sorbacov’s friend, a candidate for president. He then took their children and “enrolled” them in his “schools” — one of which was run by the criminally insane, using horrific threats to force the children into becoming assassins. The eighteen of the Torpedo Ink club are the only surviving children out of 287 in that fourth school. Uri Sorbacov was his son who wanted to be president.
Sword Security is…
…is a very expensive security company of mostly assassins which only takes clients who are recommended.
The Russian, a pedophile, took over when Sorbacov and his son died. The Collector had been the one who had Jimmy (Vendetta Road, 3 (16)).
The Cover and Title
The cover is wild with the crazy swirls in the sky of blues, purples and white. Swirls that blend into the background that creates a void around Absinthe’s bike. Yep, the blond-haired Russian is in profile, his head turned toward us, leaning over his bike in a short-sleeved white T — the better to showcase his sleeves — and a black leather vest. An info blurb in white starts about one-third of the way down and is just above the yellow embossed author’s name. The series information is tiny in yellow and white below that. Then the title is below this in white.
The title is that Desolation Road that Absinthe travels.