Nikita assigns Max an intriguing Psy partner, Sophia Russo a J-Psy whom Max previously met while working his last case. As a J-Psy, Sophia's job is to shed light on the guilt or innocence of those accused of the most heinous crimes. As a telepath, she can both retrieve memories from criminals and then project them to others. However, the job and all those dark memories have taken a toll and Sophia's time is almost up -- her shields are severely fractured and complete rehabilitation is around the corner.
I was so surprised by Max Shannon! For some reason I didn't expect to like this human cop as much as I did. Max is attracted to Sophie when he first meets her but not just for her beauty. He appreciates the whole person, understands her abilities and sees through the Psy coldness she attempts to project. I love the way Singh develops this relationship, there is an instant deep attraction but it doesn't translate into "insta-lurv" for humans. Max is hot, hot, hot... but because he cares for Sophie and takes the time to understand her, he's not just passionate, but unselfish and tender as a lover from beginning to end. The man won me over.
I really liked Sophie too. We get to know her when her shields are already severely fractured and she has broken Silence. A damaged and desperate woman with little time left, Sophie is direct with Max when it comes to wants and needs. Max is a direct man himself so there's no game playing in this romance, making Max and Sophie a great couple. Singh uses Sophie's circumstances to build up the sexual tension between the two to a fever pitch, making even a simple touch an erotic experience. Have I mentioned before that I love the way Nalini Singh writes this type of romance? I do.
As in all the Psy/Changeling books, the storylines in Bonds of Justice are multi-layered. As Max and Sophie investigate the murders of Nikita Duncan's advisers, they're also simultaneously following up on the case of a human sociopath, Gerard Bonner. A serial killer already behind bars, Bonner is still quite dangerous. As a character, he is chilling, cold and evil seems to ooze from his pores every time he appears on the page, making him an excellent villain. This is a device previously used by Singh and a bit repetitious, however this time the sociopath is human instead of Psy. I ultimately liked the way this particular thread was dealt with -- Bonner's humanity didn't make him less of a monster or a danger to Max and Sophie.
Secondary characters are well used, as always. Kaleb Krychek is highlighted in this installment and plays an important role. More information about him is disclosed making this character even more intriguing than before. The Psy Council continues to jockey for control and power, and the PsyNet continues to deteriorate and split affecting the Psy as a whole. Changelings play a secondary role with Sascha taking central stage and Faith making key appearances.
The resolution to Sophie's dilemma is interesting, if not surprising, and I do wonder how Singh will use it in the future. There's an underlying theme of bad/good motherhood and hope in this book that I found quite interesting. Not surprising, Singh maintains her tight worldbuilding and introduces some great changes for future installments -- I can't wait to read more about them! Bonds of Justice was a winner for me and keeps the Psy/Changeling series at the top of my paranormal romance list.
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Psy/Changeling Series, Book 8
Release Date: July 6, 2010
Source: ARC copy received from KMont - Lurv a la Mode
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