My Rating: 4.5 stars: Loved it - enthusiastically recommend (A)
When Dez Lincoln is seriously injured while saving a child from a horrible predator, her boss, Taylor Jones cannot get the gruesome images out of his mind. Although he is as cold as they come, inside Taylor is a wreck - trying to control a situation that is beyond his reach. The fear of losing Dez pushes Taylor to act out his inner-most desires and makes Dez’s fantasies come true. Until the next day... When Taylor does the unthinkable and orders Dez on a mandatory leave of absence. Dez knows that he’s doing it to put distance between the two so Taylor can rebuild his walls. But Dez isn’t going to take it and walks.
Fast forward fourteen months. Dez is working free-lance and overwhelmed with the spirits of those that have passed. Taylor is making his annual visit home to pay tribute to his baby sister, who was abducted when she was six. Both individuals are near their breaking points when they find each other again. Now they have to work together to unscramble cryptic clues left by the ghosts of French Lick, Indiana before someone else is murdered.
The Departed is a gripping, suspenseful story. I was immediately drawn in by Ms. Walker’s talented storytelling and could not put the book down until the very last stone was turned. There were several twists and turns, but never did the volume of clues or characters become overwhelming. Nothing felt contrived. I was guessing what would come next, who was behind what, and how the story would be resolved though out the story.
Although this story is about solving a series of crimes, there is much more at stake than the lives of the citizens of French Lick. At the heart of this story is the fragile existence of two fiercely independent and strong individuals. Both Dez and Taylor are flawed, and doing the best that they can, even when confronted with horrible situations. Both are close to the end of their respective ropes, and in Taylor’s case, maybe even close to taking his own life.
Dez and Taylor fit together perfectly. Ms. Walker creates a couple that needed each other, but were not needy. They are able to get past the rough edges (and there are a lot) to find a way to heal and be whole. They complement one another so well. I was cheering whole-heartedly for Dez and Taylor, and they held my heart in their hands. I cheered their successes and I shed tears in their pain. I love a story that can evoke a wide range of emotions within me.
Although this book is the second in the FBI Psychics Series, I did not read the first, and it is not necessary. This book can be read and appreciated as a stand alone. However, after enjoying this book so very much, I’m adding more of Ms. Walker’s books to my wish list. The Departed has that perfect mix of spectacular plot line, engaging characters and a wide-ranging emotional impact.