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Friday, July 5, 2013

Darkness Unmasked by Keri Arthur

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Terrance McArthur

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of this post.

Keri Arthur doesn’t want me to sleep. She keeps writing stories in her Dark Angels series that have me reading late at night, when I should be getting the beauty rest I so badly need. I look like I do because of her!

Darkness Unmasked
is the fifth book (after Darkness Unbound, Darkness Rising, Darkness Devours, Darkness Hunts) about Risa Jones: half werewolf, half Aedh (spiritual, angel-like entities). She can travel the grey lands between Heaven and Hell, but she doesn’t fear the Reaper: she’s sleeping with one of the soul gatherers.

Her big job is to find the stolen keys to the afterworld, keys that many groups want for the power they will give. Risa found one already, but it was taken from her while she battled mutant creatures. While she looks, a vampire leader (sort of an Australian Margaret Thatcher with fangs, minus the redeeming qualities) has her looking for the person/spirit/thing who sucked blood, brains, bones, and life out of her lover, leaving a husk of skin wrapped in webbing. Risa is helping the vampire because she claims she will help find out who murdered Risa’s mother. These quests take her to bars, storage lockers, museums, deserted buildings, and between symbol-engraved stones that light up like the coils of a toaster and send her hundreds of miles from Melbourne in a moment. Her language is coarse, and—for someone dealing with soul Reapers and sort-of-angels—she has a lot of sex…and there is rape.

Image source: Penguin

The only problem I have with this book is rape. It’s a major part of the plot, there are multiple victims, it’s brutal, it’s pretty graphic, it’s repulsive, and she says it gave her some pleasure (the cad was using a spell on her to get information from sex in the past), which makes it seem…dirtier. It’s like cutting into a fantastically-appetizing salad to find a disgusting bug.

Risa has always been a take-charge heroine, but all the damage and abuse she has taken has made her tired of the demands on her time and powers, and she wants to give up and die, so she can re-unite with her mother. However, that may no longer be possible, and she feels betrayed…in several ways. Several characters are unmasked along the way: sometimes it’s their purpose, sometimes their nature, and sometimes their disguises. It’s an intense read that will bring up a lot of feelings for the reader…some of them unpleasant.

It helps to start this set of novels from the beginning, because Keri Arthur has created an intricate paranormal reality, and the multi-book story arcs can take a while to decipher. Darkness Splintered comes out in November; I’d better start getting extra sleep, now.

To enter to win a copy of Darkness Unmasked simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Unmasked”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 13, 2013. U.S. residents only.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a California-born, Valley-raised librarian/entertainer/writer. He lives in Sanger, four blocks from the library, with his wife, his daughter, and a spinster cat.


  1. I just love her books!!! Can't wait read this one or hope win it!!

  2. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher