Mandatory disclaimer time: I was the beta reader for this book and Heather is a friend of mine. That said, my friends are generally despairing of the reviews I leave them and I paid money for the hard copy like all the other chumps, so I'm pretty sure you can trust me on this one, since I'm well known for giving my own books 1-star. What can I say? I'm a menace.
You know what else is a menace? This book. My HEART.
LAMENT is probably one of my favorite things that Heather has written, apart from her Dreaming for the Dead series and spin-offs. It has everything I love about the thriller genre-- broken people, tons of smut, small-town secrets and lies, childhood romance, angst, artistry, punks and goths, and, oh yes, super hot and dangerous guys who kiss so good that you'll forget your own name. Plus, fires. And not just the hypothetical kind, although there are plenty of those, too.
Frances Young was just an ordinary teenager crushing on an ordinary boy named West. When he invited her out to a Halloween party, it seemed like it was going to be the best day of her life. But it ended up becoming the worst. Now, at twenty-five, Frances is forced to return home to the same town that helped ruin her life and destroy her older sister, and she meets that boy again, no longer a bright-eyed youth of sixteen, but a lean and dangerous man who might be her salvation or ruin, she doesn't know, she just wants him-- and he wants to make her buuuurn.
I think the less you know about this book going in, the better. Me, I thought it was fun seeing all the things that were added since my initial beta-read. I was originally thinking four-stars, but the final draft was so polished, and so much more emotionally wrenching, that I ended up giving it five. Having been in an emotionally abusive relationship myself, I was cut pretty deep by how well Heather portrayed the after-effects of someone whose had their mind warped and twisted by someone who couches "affection" in bad intentions and uses it to make you feel like garbage about yourself. When someone poisons you like that, it's really hard to start trusting again. Really, really hard.
This is basically a mash-up of Anne Stuart and Gillain Flynn (more Stuart than Flynn) with that same vibe of dangerous gamma hero and broken women trying to set things right in a toxic, small-town atmosphere. I really, really enjoyed it and hope that Heather writes more erotic sexy thrillers like these (after she finishes her vampire series, of course), because she does it really, really well.
4.5 to 5 out of 5 stars