Night Lost

Twilight Fall
by Lynn Viehl
(Onyx, $7.99, R) ISBN 978-0-451-41259-1
The sixth in Viehl's Darkyn series continues her trend of improving with each new book. Finally, we have Valentin Jaus's story. Jaus, the suzerain of Chicago, appeared in an earlier novel as the "other man" (or the third wheel, depending on your perspective), and has been fairly mopey ever since.

Our heroine is a bit of a shrinking violet (pun intended; she generally works as a gardener or landscape artist) with an unsatisfied taste for dominant/submissive sex games. Liling Harper has been on the run from the Brethren, the Darkyn's sworn enemies, since she was sixteen, and has just realized they've located her again ... which means they'll be sending their key assassin after her. The assassin, from whose viewpoint several scenes are written, has the capability to manipulate water, including creating violent storms and tracking people.

Liling is certain that, as no one special (read: high class), ultra-rich and fabulous-looking European businessman Valentin Jaus would want nothing to do with her.  But when he invites her to use his jet on a trip to Atlanta, Lili pounces on the opportunity to get the heck out of Dodge (or, in this case, Chicago). Unfortunately, the Brethren find out and sabotage the flight, stranding Lili and Jaus near a little-known lake in the Florida wilderness. It doesn't take much imagination to figure out what they spend their free time doing.

That is, until the assassin shows up and Lili changes into one of the Darkyn.

The subplot in this novel, unlike the previous ones, ties extremely well into the actual workings of the primary plot and Liling's history. Michael, virtually the king of the American Darkyn, and his significant other (in Darkyn novels termed the sygkenis) Alexandra have been led to several orphanages that appear to have done medical experiments on the children. As Alex and her incredibly ill brother John were probably two of those children, they dig a little deeper, taking readers further into this mystery/suspense plot of the Brethren being after the Darkyn.

I personally enjoyed the way this book picked up several strands from previous novels. However, I have read all of them and still find some of the specialized terminology confusing. Viehl avoids wasting time on a recap, which is wonderful; but a refresher on some things here and there would probably not hurt. It is not a series readers will experience full-force if begun in the middle.

Twilight Fall is suspenseful, darkly romantic, and intriguing with the added benefit of not treating the reader like an idiot (the pitfall of that being, of course, sometimes treating the readers like they can read the author's mind). A welcome addition to the series from an author who is certainly establishing herself in the genre.

--Sarrah Knight

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