People like to draw lines between genres, and I enjoy smashing right through them. Enemy Mine by Stephen Eagles is part thriller, part paranormal, part super hero fight story, and it is quite the ride.
1. Thoughts on the plot
This book is the prequel to his Jessie Richter series and thus follows Jessie when she is just starting out. She owns a crossfit gym in Myrtle Beach, and one day her sister comes to her for help with her abusive boyfriend. Jessie uses her superhero/supernatural powers to, for lack of a better term, bodysnatch Terry and rob his bank account. Only, the aftermath makes him furious, and Jessie must turn to the people at Crue Intellis for help. But they’re not all what they seem, either.
In general, the book was quick paced, with very little time to question as the characters were thrown from terrifying situation to terrifying situation. It works well for an action packed thriller type novel, and it felt like you were right there with the characters. I would say things were smoothly written enough to be sucked into the story.
2. Thoughts on the characters
This is an origin story, which means it’s usually written after some number of books in the series are already out. That—generally—means that the characters have already established mannerisms and traits that are prevalent throughout. This is fine, since it’s usually the plot that’s more interesting in these instances. Jessie definitely felt fully-formed, with very few of her traits displaying hesitancy or confusion. Again, this is fine as I want to see what happened to put her into a situation. However, I also am a sucker for character development, and except for external circumstances, it didn’t really feel like there was a lot of development here. (That likely comes in book 1 and onwards.)
3. Favourite part
I think the addition of the superpower was really interesting. It was unique enough to stand out to the plot, but also not weird enough that it didn’t fit or had the other characters questioning reality (as some paranormal stories do). I think it was a nice change from stories where people freak out and wonder if they’re going insane.
4. Critique (may contain spoilers)
As much as I found the characters interesting and the genre unique, I will say that I have an exceptionally difficult time with any novel that has sexual assault as a primary factor in a character’s origin story. Yes, it is something that happens all the time in reality (unfortunately), but that doesn’t mean I want to read about it in fiction. It is highly common in thriller novels for female characters to have rape or abuse in their background, and frankly, I think it’s overdone, not to mention seriously problematic. This is, of course, a normal thing for the thriller genre, and as I said, it does happen fairly commonly in life. However, I don’t tend to want to read about it. So be forewarned that this book does contain scenes of abuse and sexual assault.
Overall, if you want something that is true to the thriller genre, but with a twist, then this is a good book. For me, though, it’s really hard to look past the use of sexual assault as a character defining moment. A good book, but not my cup of tea.