Well, folks - I'm no longer a Santino Hassell virgin. This is the book for which I traded in my v-card, and now I sit here, wondering what on earth is wrong with me for holding out for so long.
Insight is the first book in a new series called The Community. I'm not going to explain to you what The Community in question is or what its purpose is - I'm just going to let you read this book (I encourage you to read this book. I demand you read this book, OMG) and let Nate take you inside what can only be described as an intriguing, intense, slightly creepy and twisted mindfuck.
I'm sure we've all at one point or another idly wished for a super-human power, like being able to read people's minds or feel their emotions or manipulate them into doing our bidding without them realizing their being manipulated or predict what the future holds or... well, you get my drift. Now imagine, really imagine, being able to do just one of those things.
Nate Black, for example, is an empath. He can feel people's emotions, as well as emotions attached to an every day object, such as a necklace. Imagine for a minute what that might do to a person, to always feel every emotion someone else has, just because you're touching them. Imagine greeting someone with a handshake, or someone just bumping into you while you're walking down the street or in a crowded train, and you feel. every. thing. Just as if they were your own feelings. Imagine wondering if what the other person feels are their true feelings or the ones you pushed on them with your empath ability.
Ask Nate how that feels, when you're an empath but cannot control this supposed "gift", and you feel it all, all the time. Ask Nate how it feels when your mama just up one day and leaves you, and you're stuck with your aunt, who doesn't even like you much. Ask Nate what it's like to be bullied in high school because he's gay, and the one boy he liked turned on him, because possibly, your uncontrolled powers pushed your own feelings unto this boy, and you just can't be sure whether the feelings were yours or his. And also, your brother was an asshole. You too might be cynical and lonely and depressed, avoiding people whenever you can.
When Nate's twin brother Theo turns up dead in New York from an apparent suicide, and the story doesn't gel with a vision Nate has in a dream, Nate decides that maybe it's time to hitch a ride to NYC himself and ask some questions about what really happened to his more powerful brother.
Fortuitously, Nate manages to hitch a ride with Trent, a normal human, who's also one of the few from whom Nate gets positive feelings. Warmth. Kindness. Someone who makes him feel that he's not just a fuck-up, someone who floods him with good emotions upon first touch.
The author takes his readers on a wild ride from Texas to New Orleans to NYC, and that's not even half the book. Once Trent and Nate arrive in NYC, the creepiness factor only increases. I'll refer you to the intense and twisted mindfuck comment above.
There's a romance here, yes, but it does not take center stage, and instead provides the basis for the plot. It's like the wrapper around the whole thing, really, like a rubber band that holds Nate together so he can focus on finding out the truth. Like a beacon in the darkness, Trent is all that is good and true, and possibly the only person Nate trusts.
Be prepared for unexpected twists and turns, and more than one "holy shit, what just happened?". I won't tell you anymore than that.
It's a wild ride, but I couldn't put this book down for any length of time until I had finished. If this is the kind of book this author produces, I may need my sanity checked for holding out this long.
Run, don't walk, to get yourself a copy. It's available now.
Also, where's the next installment, Mr. Hassell? I needs it. I needs it bad!!
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return. **