Author: Santino Hassell
Series: The Community #1
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: 3/13/2017
Genre(s): M/M Thriller/Suspense Romance, M/M Bisexual, M/M Paranormal
Page Count: 320
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
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.
4.5 stars- Intriguing build-up to a thrilling end
Insight is labeled as a psy-thriller and is a substantial departure from the contemporary romances this author is known for. The premise is different, interesting, and immediately grabbed my attention. There is a wandering, mysterious vibe right from the start that reminded me a little of Hassel’s paranormal romance, Stygian. This tone successfully sets the mood for the veiled psy-world Nate uncovers while investigating his brother’s alleged suicide.
The romance between Nate and Trent was slow to start, which fit with the plot’s uncertainties and characters’ minimal experience. However, as I’ve come to expect from this author, Mr. Hassell delivers the chemistry. Nate and Trent’s attraction clearly runs deeper than lust and promises to build over the course of the series. I liked how the romance wove into all components of the story. The budding relationship wasn’t a separate plotline unrelated to the action and mystery. Rather, it developed other aspects of the story and Nate’s character as he tries to better understand his gift.
As in any book that leads off a series, there are a lot of secondary characters introduced during Insight. Between establishing characters, “The Community”, and the investigation Nate launches, the pacing is a little slower initially. However, the author develops Nate’s character and relationships enough that I never lost interest. The dialogue moves along quickly, conveying the emotion of the scene and building the characters. The descriptions of energy, feelings, and powers Nate and the others possess provide vivid imagery that brings the story to life and draws the reader into Nate’s world. I think this aspect really shines in the latter part of the book. Once the stage is set, the pace picks up steadily. The revelations, twists, and dead ends over the course of his investigation left me intrigued and puzzling over how the pieces fit together. The last few chapters were so action-packed, I could hardly read fast enough. There was adrenaline-pumping chase scenes, surprises, and an ending that left me eager to see what will happen next.