Summer vacation is one of the few times that Blake Campbell is pushed outside of her comfort zone and tries to socialize with other people. Her anxiety often pushes her to seek out isolation, but her best friend Krystal tries to find ways to get her out of her house and out of her head. After a bit of subterfuge, Krystal takes Blake to a well known lesbian bar in an attempt to help her build community outside of their friendship. When Blake meets Lindsay Duvall she finds herself wanting to spend more time with her and career focused Lindsay who has a reputation as a bit of a player also feels a desire to spend as much time with Blake as possible. When a terrible crime occurs Blake will be pushed even farther than she has ever been pushed before, while Lindsay will have to weigh her feelings for Blake against her quest to become a Texas Ranger in the pages of Forsaken.
This book had me completely enthralled from the very first page and I admittedly had to force myself to stop reading at one point so I could actually get some sleep. Laydin Michaels creates a gripping thriller that balances a beautiful relationship with the gruesome acts of a serial killer. Blake and Lindsay are in a state of slowly growing bliss, when one early morning the unspeakable happens in the rental Blake is sharing with Krystal. The first person she calls in her state of panic is Lindsay, which places the case in her hands. Not only has there been one murder, but a child has been found on the scene who says that she has been with a man for as long as she can remember and he squeezes the necks of women who cry. While trying to solve the murder and protect the child, Lindsay and Blake are both injured and are confronted by the terrible deeds of a serial killer who has been hunting women in a twisted form of religious fervor.
Forsaken does what so few thrillers can, create a strong romantic plot that doesn’t detract, but rather builds up the larger plot. Blake and Lindsay’s connection helps Blake to push through all of the tragedy and heightened anxiety that is surrounding her and Lindsay is finally seeing that maybe she can be happy not only just in her work, but in her personal life. The two women support each other and are both invested in bringing the terrible man to justice for his crimes. The background that is revealed for the killer also makes him more complex and not just a monster, though what he has done is truly vile. This book does have lesbian leads, but their identities do not define them, rather their relationship is so casually introduced and no one in the story ever makes a big deal about it. This is also one of the few books I have read that examines anxiety and shows ways to cope with these feels. If you are a fan of thrillers and mysteries Forsaken is something you will enjoy tremendously. You can get your Copy of Forsaken from Bold Strokes Books today.