I like cult books so I was really excited and intrigued when I found out Katee Robert of NEON GODS fame wrote a cult-themed romantic thriller. Girls are dying or going missing and the heroine, Eden, has come from the FBI on her own time to help look into things. We find out that she's the daughter of the local cult leader in a small Montana town, and that her upbringing was anything but pleasant or traditional.
The hero, Zach, is the head of the local police department and for a guy who usually spends most of his time handling public drunkenness or domestic disputes, this is a bit out of his paygrade. He reluctantly accepts Eden's help once he finds out that she's legit and estranged from her mom and they start looking into the disappearances and seeing if they can figure out whodunnit.
I loved the parts about the cult and the small town vibes. I thought these were well done. Also it was super funny that the cult was kind of Persephone themed because I've read two other series by this author that reference the Hades/Persephone myth. I actually think it's really cute and fun when an author is this passionate about something and you can see these little motifs popping up in their books again and again, although the way it's referenced here is so much darker than how it played out in NEON.
I thought this book might be four or five stars for me but I really didn't like the romance. I also was not a fan of Zach. Part of this is a me thing. I'm not a fan of cop romances, and he's kind of the stereotypical starched-shirt, slightly sexist portrayal that shows up in these kinds of romances. I also felt like the connection between the heroine and the hero was tenuous at best. When they first made a move at each other I was like, WAIT, WHAT?? I thought it was a trick or a scam, but no, they weren't playing. This also isn't my first cult romance rodeo. I liked Anne Stuart's RITUAL SINS and Heather Crews's A PALE SHADOW a lot better, but I might be biased because one of those ladies is my best friend and one of them is my writing god-slash-spiritual aunt (although she doesn't know it...yet).
Still, this book had a lot of potential and I hope Robert turns to romantic suspense again at some point because I feel like she could probably rock a GONE GIRL-type book if she really wanted to.
2 to 2.5 out of 5 stars