A Human Element
by Donna Galanti
Publisher: Echelon Press
Published: March 10, 2012
Genre: Adult Science Fiction/ Paranormal
Purchase*Barnes and Noble/Amazon
One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.
I was drawn to the synopsis of A Human Element by Donna Galanti and it’s promise of a girl with healing powers and a serial killer who haunts her dreams. Galanti delivered a dark, gritty tale with a science-fiction twist that was both fascinating and disturbing. Three word review: dark, suspenseful and hopeful.
The tale begins with a tragic event caused by a meteorite. We then follow the lives of two strangers; Laura Armstrong an adopted woman with the power to heal who is surrounded in tragedy and Ben Fieldstone an orphaned man who strayed and then pulls himself back together. Both are plagued by dreams/nightmares and seek closure and understanding from events in their past. He returns to the summer town where he and his parents vacationed and Lauren returns to her hometown after another tragic event has her reeling. The tale that unfolds was dark, violent, tender and suspenseful as together they must face a mad killer.
Laura is such a unique and refreshing character. She is naïve at times and eternally optimistic despite the cards fate has dealt her. She knows she is different and guards her secret. Plagued by tragedy she still manages to see the beauty in a sunrise. Ben is plagued by guilt, and tormented by events from his past. He was lost, and now lives as a nomad. With the exception of one close friend he keeps the world at a distance. They both have dreamed about the other and when they meet there is an instant connection. This had a little insta-love feel but the set up allowed me to accept it. A stranger has appeared throughout both of their lives and he fascinated me. I liked how the author kept his intentions shadowed. The killer’s thoughts are shared with us. His upbringing has made him dark, sinister and blood thirsty. He has unimaginable power and feels such pain. Mr. B an old hermit living on the mountainside was a lovable figure and I enjoyed his interactions with Laura and eventually Ben. Other characters help guide the duo and steer the tale.
Galanti’s tale is a unique one and was well paced. It is very dark and violent at times, even uncomfortable for the reader as she gives us a detailed account of the violence as it unfolds. Some of the subject matter is taboo and added to the suspenseful and sinister feel of the tales darker moments. I squirmed as I read some scenes and was both disturbed and disgusted by the evil perpetrated. Galanti also gives us love and hope within the pages that helped offset the dark and allowed me to catch my breath. There is a violent climactic scene and then the author makes us privy to hope, rebirth and a unique chance. I really liked the ending and loved how she took this book from such horrible darkness to brilliant light.
Fans of dark science-fiction, suspense and romance will enjoy A Human Element and its unique paranormal tale. While at times disturbing the author held my attention and gave me one heck of a ride.
Three and half cups of espresso out of five
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