Wednesday, July 20, 2011

SKIN DIVE by Ava Gray

SKIN DIVE – Ava Gray
Berkeley Sensation
ISBN: 978-0-425-24214-8
July 2011
Contemporary Paranormal Romance

Virginia and Detroit, Michigan – Present Day

The Foundation is known for kidnapping people from their lives and turning them into guinea pigs. They are given drugs, kept in cells, and sometimes even go crazy from the tests they are put through. The Foundation is trying to give everyone a different kind of power. Right now Taye has lost all memory of his former life before his tests; his ability is to have electricity flow through his body and out his fingers. He can blow up things, electrocute people, and even make guns malfunction. Dr. Rowan is the man in charge of the experiments and drugging of everyone, and he has, for some unknown reason, let Taye spend an hour a day with another inmate, Gillie.

Gillie has been at The Foundation for over twelve years, over half her life. Right now Gillie has a set of rooms she tries to pretend is an apartment. The only thing she knows of the outside is what she sees on television, and now this mysterious visitor, Taye. One night, using Taye’s abilities, they open the doors, stop the alarms, and release everyone in the facility. Who knows if any of the people still are sane enough to escape? Gillie and Taye finally escape, but when he uses his ability to get money from ATM’s, The Foundation can find where they are and send a group to capture them. Taye then connects with Mockingbird, head of an organization trying to end The Foundation. With Mockingbird’s help, they make it to Detroit and live a life off the books, Taye on the docks, Gillie at a bar. Just the simple things thrill Gillie, but Taye is always worried about being followed, and the pain in his stomach gnaws at him every day.

Gillie and Taye try living in secrecy and hiding, but eventually the only thing left for them is for Taye to join Mockingbird and do some missions for them in return for Gillie’s protection. But now there is a mercenary after them, and he finds Taye’s family and learns more about him than he knows. Tanager is another employee of Mockingbird, who helps Gillie learn more about modern life, and eventually has something else to do when an emergency happens to Mockingbird. Each mission further eats at Taye’s stomach, and pain follows him constantly, especially upon learning Gillie has also joined Mockingbird and will use her healing abilities. Death, destruction, and evil experiments are occurring in all The Foundation buildings throughout the country. Can their little group make a difference to the many people being drugged and experimented with?

Ava Gray has given each character a little bit of their story in his or her own voice. I felt the story was rather slow until about the middle of the book when Taye and Gillie join Mockingbird and meet all the other different members. It wasn’t until then that I found out what skill Gillie had—she was a healer. She was trained to take illness from people, but finds she can also heal wounds by cutting open her hand and holding the blood against them. Each time the subjects use their powers, no matter what they are, it takes a great deal of energy and power from them, leaving them exhausted.

There are lots of other members of Mockingbird. Is he a computer or human? We can’t really tell. Silas, their guard at The Foundation, also joins Mockingbird. Caleb Dunn is a mercenary brought in by The Foundation to hunt Taye and Gillie and return them. Kestrel was once with Mockingbird, but has been caught by The Foundation and uses her powers to tell when any of the subjects “power up” or use their abilities. She can handle up to twenty subjects, and then the powers render her unconscious. Heron can’t talk, but can teleport people from one place to another. Tanager is a woman whose skill is the ability to plant ideas into men. A handy way to get a beautiful apartment or house to stay in rather than a hotel, you just tell the man he needs to leave town for a week. There are other people of Mockingbird, each with different powers and ways of dealing with the horrors done to them.

SKIN DIVE is a scary, pull-out-the-stops bloodcurdling story with all the things you would never like to have happen in your life. If the creepy, chilling things in life interest you, SKIN DIVE is right up your alley. Keep the lights on as you read…just a suggestion.

Carolyn Crisher

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