Thursday, March 16, 2017

ARC Review:Insight by Santino Hassell

Book 1 of THE COMMUNITY Trilogy

Growing up the outcast in an infamous family of psychics, Nate Black never learned how to control his empath abilities. Then after five years without contact, his estranged twin turns up dead in New York City. The claim of suicide doesn’t ring true, especially when a mysterious vision tells Nate it was murder. Now his long-hated gift is his only tool to investigate.

Hitching from his tiny Texas town, Nate is picked up by Trent, a gorgeous engineer who thrives on sarcasm and skepticism. The heat that sparks between them is instant and intense, and Nate ends up trusting Trent with his secrets—something he’s never done before. But once they arrive in the city, the secrets multiply when Nate discovers an underground supernatural community, more missing psychics, and frightening information about his own talent.

Nate is left questioning his connection with Trent. Are their feelings real, or are they being propelled by abilities Nate didn’t realize he had? His fear of his power grows, but Nate must overcome it to find his brother’s killer and trust himself with Trent’s heart.

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What I thought about Insight

I'm a big fan of Santino Hassell's Five Boroughs series and I was very excited to see Insight on his list of upcoming titles.  Romantic suspense is probably my favorite type of romance, and the added aspect of Insight being a paranormal romantic suspense really had me interested in reading this title. 

Nate has psychic abilities and a totally messed up family. When his twin brother turns up dead from an apparent suicide, Nate has a crazy vision that has him questioning whether it really was a suicide, so he hits the road from Texas to New York City to investigate. He's picked up by Trent, a casual acquaintance who doesn't give Nate the psychic feedback he gets from just about everyone else. 

Trent and Nate make their way to NYC with a few stops along the way and a growing attraction between them. I liked these two together, and that was a big factor in the plus column for this book. Trent is a good guy and was a breath of fresh air in this dark and creepy tale.

When Nate gets to NYC, it doesn't take him long to find his brother's band mates and the people he was hanging around. After finding out about the "Community" of psychics his brother had been with, there are too many clues leading back to this group as being involved with Nate's brother death.

Meanwhile, Trent is a big help to Nate in solving the mystery of Theo's death, but Nate still doesn't quite trust himself or why Trent is hanging around with him. I really wondered about Trent's motives at times because the reader gets more page time with Nate than Trent, so I didn't feel like I knew him as well. 

Since this is the first book in this trilogy, there is a lot of world building going on in Insight. Sometimes that worked well for me, other times not so much. I thought the first 30% of the book was quite creepy and almost put me off this book entirely. Your mileage may vary as they say. I'm still not sure how I feel about this world of psychics, but I'm willing to give it another try to find out. 

Overall, I thought this was an interesting start to this new series, but I did have some problems with Insight.  I liked Nate and Trent, and I found the paranormal aspects of the mystery surrounding Theo's death quite intriguing.  It was the pacing that had me rating this (a weak) four stars. My yardstick for pacing is how often I check the percentage counter on my e-reader, and with Insight it felt like I was doing that quite a bit.  It took days to read this title when I'm used to tearing through a Santino Hassell book in hours. 
The romance between Trent and Nate was my favorite part of the story.  I loved the ending and the synopsis did make me want to check out the next book in the trilogy, although I'm not that invested in the "community"... yet. 

ARC provided by publisher for review. 
About the Author

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

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