The Purveyor

The Purveyor - Karelia Stetz-Waters In this convoluted sequel to [b:The Admirer|19360798|The Admirer|Karelia Stetz-Waters||43585500], Adair, the charismatic theater professor, takes center stage. She was a bit of an enigma in the first book. Here, she is laid bare--figuratively and otherwise.

Like the first book, the subject matter is equally dark--sexual slavery. Helen and Adair unwittingly get themselves caught up in the recruitment of a highly-prized target. And take it upon themselves to rescue said target. Misunderstandings, deceptions, betrayals, abductions, killings and conspiracies dot the book, with erotic moments (some bdsm) sprinkled throughout. Did I mention convoluted? Yep, the number of subplots going on is occasionally vertigo inducing. Fortunately, everything is tied-in together fairly well, although sometimes things feel a little too convenient or coincidental.

How does the book fare as a psychological thriller? The author hasn't lost her touch in immersing the reader in her characters' emotions--the desperation of Adair, the dread of Helen, the innocence and confusion of the victims... I was putty in her capable hands. But the complexity of the rambling plot comes at the expense of the taut suspenseful pace of the first book. It does make for a highly unpredictable storyline and ending though so no complains here. And speaking of ending, I love that unexpected twist. Not really a twist, but still, it was audacious.

As a romance, this book also shines. The whirlwind romance from the first book is severely tested here. This is like the break up and make up book. And how it's so well tied into the overall story arch is a testament to the author's skill. It's not an easy read though, as the lead characters seem to lurch from one stupid or reckless mistake to another and occasionally I had to seriously wonder however did Helen become a college president? Aah..Love, what you do to people. And the things people do in your name. :)