Author: Santino Hassell
Series: The Community #1
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Page Count: 298 pages
Release Date: March 10, 2017
Genre(s): M/M, Romance, Urban Fantasy/Paranormal, Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 Stars out of 5
Growing up the outcast in an infamous family of psychics, Nate Black never learned how to control his empath abilities. Then after five years without contact, his estranged twin turns up dead in New York City. The claim of suicide doesn’t ring true, especially when a mysterious vision tells Nate it was murder. Now his long-hated gift is his only tool to investigate. Hitching from his tiny Texas town, Nate is picked up by Trent, a gorgeous engineer who thrives on sarcasm and skepticism. The heat that sparks between them is instant and intense, and Nate ends up trusting Trent with his secrets—something he’s never done before. But once they arrive in the city, the secrets multiply when Nate discovers an underground supernatural community, more missing psychics, and frightening information about his own talent.
Nate is left questioning his connection with Trent. Are their feelings real, or are they being propelled by abilities Nate didn’t realize he had? His fear of his power grows, but Nate must overcome it to find his brother’s killer and trust himself with Trent’s heart.
A perfectly clear image has been on my mind since I started reading this story.
Probably the first image you will find if you google “NY piers”. Beautiful (of course, it’s New York) but nothing special unless you are being transported to that place while reading the first chapter of Insight. In that moment Santino got me. I loved the idea. I really liked that first vision and how it dragged me into this new world.
All my reading has been conditioned by Theo’s “first appearance”. And even if Theo wasn’t the best person, neither the best brother, I’ve been mourning him all the way. He’s been present in my head every single page.But the main reason that made me loved Insight was the magistral mix of nostalgia, darkness and the obscure sadness covering all the story.
The world building in this first installment of The Community is captivating and fast paced. The universe Santino describes is totally absorbent and original.
Everything has a dark atmosphere that you can almost breathe. But that darkish background, mixed with the simple and direct to the point dialogues, makes the setting and the story itself easy, intense and more attractive.And I loved it because this book succeeded where others didn’t. This novel transported me to a place, to a different world. That’s the magic of books, and this one did that for me. During all my reading I was visualizing the story as a movie and not any random movie, but one I would truly enjoy.
Nathaniel Black is our narrator, in this new Series by Santino Hassell.
He is a psychic who read paranormal M/M romance. He is an empath who listens Japanese rock metal. He is a social unskilled guy who has been bullied all his life. Bullied for being gay, and bullied for being a “Black”.That’s Nate, ladies and gentleman, my lovely and adored Nate.
So, this beautiful character who lives in Santino’s personal Village of the Damned (bleached people included) meets a New Yorker called Trent.
Sarcastic, beautiful and apparently supernormal Trent….
The couple starts a journey that takes them from Texas to New York (the word “journey” is used here in both ways, literally and metaphorically).We don’t get to know Trent’s POV in this story, but I didn’t miss it too much because you get to know him through Nate’s eyes.
In this setting Santino’s use of the dialogues is vital. They are the “lung” insufflating air in this story. They are the axis since we all are Nate and we need to know trough him (thoughts and conversations) who the rest is, what they want… At first, I thought some of the interactions were a bit forced but everything flows naturally once I accustomed to the rhythm and the writing.
I wouldn’t say theirs in insta-love because it’s not (there is no love implied at first) but they do connect instantly, they bond since the beginning. Trent trusts in Nate’s word, he believes in him. He is Noah’s partner in crime or, in this case, I should say, his partner solving the crime (he calls himself “the amusing sidekick“). And they are super cute together.
But I must say that even if there are love and hot sex in this book, the love story between Noah and Trent is not the epicenter of this book. Insight is the set up for The Community, the scenario for the whole series so I could say that this first installment has in it a huge dose of paranormal mystery with, of course, the basis of a good MM romance. And it didn’t disappoint me at all.
I’m really hoping book two will follow the footsteps of this one.
I’m not giving away anything substantial about the plot.
I’ve preferred to discover this book by myself and I’m giving you the same opportunity. I’ll just say I was absorbed by the simple (and also magical) narrative. I was completely into it at the end of chapter one (I loved the end of chapter one).
The characters in Insight are perfectly defined even if they have no voice. Noah is the deepest character, sure, but the book is full of great and intriguing characters. The lack of other POVs it’s probably a need in the story because this way is easier for the plot to thrive and for the thriller to prosper.
The only snag that I found is that, at one point, I was ahead in the “investigation”. I was solving the puzzle before Nate, and yelling at him to fit the clues in the big picture… but anyway, I love him and I´m sure he has forgiven me already for all the presumptuous “I knew it“.
In the last three weeks I have read, 3 completely different genres by Santino Hassel: Sports Romance, Cyberlove, and now this Paranormal/Thriller novel.
I can say without any doubt that he knows how to write whatever he wants, that’s for sure and I will happily wait for any book he throws in my way. 😀