Reading Assignment Challenge: A Thread of Deepest Black by Finn Marlowe
When his mortal enemy, the handsome and deadly Colton Decarie, shows up on his doorstep asking an unspeakable favor, Killian Frost is cautious--and curious. What could drive a shape-shifter to beg a werewolf for an honorable death in the line of duty--defending humans from soul-stealing Lycans? Moreover, why ask Killian, who has kept his own feet off that dark path?
Colton's conflicted heart can take no more of the violence that consumes more of his humanity with every hunt. Even now, Killian's werewolf scent makes him burn with the instinctive urge to shift and destroy. Death would be a mercy, but the price is impossibly simple: one night of submission in Killion's bed.
Yet as Killian extracts payment in flesh and pleasure, Colton finds himself giving all that's demanded of him and more, feeling something he hasn't felt in a long time. Alive. And Killian discovers the hidden cost of sleeping with the enemy. To keep the balance between light and dark, Bella Luna binds his Lycan blood with a quest to unravel a conspiracy threatening all his kind. If he's brave enough, he'll discover a love that means more than the power of a dead man's soul.
An intense read right from the start, A Thread of Deepest Black was nothing like I was expecting--it was so much more. This entire story feels as if there is a flashlight shining on it...wherever the flashlight is focused, usually Colton and Killian, things are clear and sharp and all the details are visible. The further from Colton and Killian the story got, the Lycans and shape-shifters in general, the politics of their world, those things were shadowed and not as clear. Usually I like my world building to be more solid, but the nebulousness in this book worked for me. I loved that my focus was always on Colton and Killian because both men were complicated, layered, nuanced. Written in third person, parts of the story come from Killain's perspective and others from Colton's so that I felt that I got a handle on not only what was going on in each character's head but also how they specifically viewed and interpreted the other character.
This is another book where it is best going in not knowing much...having it on my Kindle, I didn't even read the book blurb before I began and I'm glad I didn't, although reading after I finished, I don't know that it would have made a lot of difference to my enjoyment of having things unfold with no knowledge of what was to come. While the blurb is actually very accurate to what happens in the story, there is so much more than that which really makes this book an incredible pleasure to read. According to the author's note, this was Finn Marlowe's debut and what a knockout of a first book it is, too. I have read another title by this author (Not His Kiss to Take) but it was long ago and I am thinking about rereading just so I can revisit this author's voice. I read a lot of books about shifters and the paranormal world and A Thread of Deepest Black stands completely on its own in terms of shifter lore and style--I haven't read another book like this one before which is one of the best compliments I can give it.
This is one of those books where the characters aren't going to stay within their confined pages, but will take over my head and live there for a while. I have found myself thinking about of them both together and individually since I finished reading...turning over little details and turns of phrase (and that title? the way it works into the story is exquisite!). I am continuing to discover connections the more I think about the story and the thoughtfulness, cleverness, and sheer playfulness with which Finn Marlowe writes is breathtaking and delightful. I am definitely going to be seeking out more of Marlowe's work soon...I encourage you to do the same!