Shadow Falling by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: The Scorpius Syndrome #2
Published by Zebra
Published on: August 30, 2016
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Before the Scorpius Syndrome tore through North America and nearly wiped out the population, Vivienne Wellington was the FBI’s best profiler. The bacteria got her anyway. But she survived. She recovered. And when she woke up from a drug-nightmare of captivity, her skills as a hunter of men had gone from merely brilliant to full-on uncanny. Her mysterious rescuer wants her to put them to the test. But no matter how tempting he is, with his angel’s eyes and devil’s tongue, Vinnie knows she shouldn’t trust him.
If the FBI were still around they would rate Raze Shadow as one of the bad guys. His military training can’t wipe out his association with the Mercenaries, the most feared gang in a thousand miles. His loyalties are compromised. He won’t even tell Vinnie his real name. But there’s no FBI in the new America of fear and firepower, only instinct and risk.
And the way his arms wrap around Vinnie tells its own story. Whatever else Raze is concealing, he can’t hide his desire . . .
In this second installment of Rebecca Zanetti’s The Scorpius Syndrome series, we continue to follow the group known as Vanguard, lead by Jax Mercury who was the hero of the first full length story. In this world that Zanetti has created, most of the US population has been wiped out by the bacteria known as Scorpius. This bacteria is highly contagious. If you come in contact with a person’s body fluids, you’re pretty guaranteed to catch it. The question becomes, will you survive and will you be sane if live through it. When you get Scorpius Syndrome, you first get a fever. A quick shot of B-12 can help you survive it. If the fever doesn’t kill you, you’re changed. Some people are “better”, think more clearly, stronger, quicker reflexes and need less sleep. However, you could come out of the fever and become a Ripper. Rippers are sociopaths. Some appear at first glance as normal, but they are also serial killers and have no conscious. Others, don’t remotely appear to be sane, even on the surface. They could be acting like dogs or maybe what you think of when you think of zombies.
This story picks up where Mercury Striking leaves off. Jax Mercury is working to keep his part of LA safe. Raze Shadow is one of his lieutenants, but Mercury doesn’t trust Shadow. There’s a good reason for that lack of trust. Raze has a mission and a SEAL always finishes his missions. Problem is his mission will hurt a certain person in Vanguard, Dr. Vivian Wellington.
Vivian Wellington, aka Vinnie, is a psychiatrist and a profiler. Before the world collapsed, she worked for the BAU (part of the FBI, the Behavioral Analysis Unit). The BAU tracks serial killers and other really nasty people, the worst of the worst. After Scorpius came around, she started tracking Rippers, that is until she was kidnapped by the president, who is also a Ripper. She’s also contracted Scorpius and the president also had her on some pretty strong drugs which have done a number on her brain. She is now seeing a dead step-mother who was schizophrenic, which is making her question her own sanity.
This was an interesting pairing, I think these two work well together. They are both strong willed and dominant personalities. Raze wants to keep Vinnie safe, but she is a profiler and wants to help Jax for saving her life. She also has a fierce need to be usual. Jax was great at seeing this and wants her to be a therapist for the people of Vanguard. While this is not the reason she became a psychiatrist, it is something that she can do to be helpful to Vanguard. I think talking to others helps her just as much. I think she also really helps Raze to start to trust more too.
A large part of the romance story is Raze’s mission. It is also one of the reasons why he’s kept everyone at Vanguard at arms reach instead of letting anyone close. We learn that while his mission is betrayal to Vanguard, he has his reasons. He must learn to trust others to help him and Vinnie helps him do that. He has also been learning to trust Jax, as much as he doesn’t want to. It makes Raze rethink his mission.
Vanguard is still with its enemies. Not only does the president need to retaliate for his loss in the previous book. He feels he needs Vinnie’s “psychic” powers. Everyone is looking for The Bunker, but no one knows where it is, not even the President of the United States. Many feel that The Bunker holds the solutions to this Scorpius problem. There are other issues from outside the fence too.
One top of all of that, there’s trouble within Vanguard. There’s a new cult-like group that has formed that call themselves “The Pure”. They are people who haven’t yet been affected by Scorpius. They feel that God saved them from the disease and that they are to repopulate the Earth. See, so far, there hasn’t been a baby born to anyone who has contracted Scorpius. Now, it is still early, only a few months (I’m thinking less than a full year since everything started). Not to mention that communication isn’t strong right now. We are also not 100% sure how other countries are doing surviving Scorpius,
This story was another fast paced tail. I love the world that Zanetti has created here. She has taken the zombie apocalypse idea and made it into something completely different. I love that a bite isn’t a death sentence, but survival is still very difficult. I also like how it give us several different types of dangers with the Rippers who can blend in along with the ones who stick out like a human barking like a dog.
There’s one big question that I never get answered. It is mentioned that Raze is Native American with blue eyes. Vinnie mentions that she wants to find out where the blue eyes come from, but there is no mention of it after that. I even went back and did a search and couldn’t find anything.
If you haven’t started this series, I highly recommend it if you like romantic suspense stories mixed with the paranormal or if you like dystopian stories. Not only is the post-apocalyptic world amazing, the characters add a whole other layer to make this a great read. I do recommend that you read the books in order, so you know what is going on through the full overarching story arc. Even if you don’t normally read prequel novellas, I highly recommend reading the one for this series. It goes into how this starts. Plus, other characters are referenced in the main series. It is a great story in itself and it’s free (at least at the time of this posting). So go grab Scorpius Rising now to start this fun series.
That guy has an agenda that might include taking out Scorpius survivors. He’s looney.” Lynne barked out a laugh. “Is a shrink supposed to use that term?” Vinnie shrugged. “Only when it fits. And in this situation, believe me, it fits.”
In our field, we’re not supposed to use the word “crazy.” Yet sometimes, the term just fits.
This man was a hero, and more importantly, he was her hero.
|The Scorpius Syndrome Series|