Sight Unseen
by Samantha Graves, contemporary (2007)
Warner, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-446-61838-0


Sight Unseen is a pretty interesting story about a relic hunter heroine and a cop on the trail of a bad guy, but there are some many things in this story that I end up getting the impression that author Samantha Graves is trying to do too much here. Ms Graves also writes more straightforward paranormal romances as CJ Barry, by the way.

Raven Callahan, like her sister, has psychic abilities that come useful when it comes to dealing with historical artefacts. Raven can "see" events in the past related to an item by touching it, which helps her gain a reputation as a reliable authenticator of such items. She used to be an art thief but now she works with the Antiquities Preservation Institute or API, a super-duper body devoted to retrieving stolen artefacts on behalf of museums, universities, and churches every where. Our hero is Dax Maddox, an ex-cop who has become a vigilante to seek out the people behind the death of his partner. He met Raven when Raven was on a previous secret job and he thought her to be a petty con or worse. They have to work together when her colleague goes missing, which is partly due to his bumbling ways that interfered with Raven and her colleague in what is supposed to be a simple mission, and they realize that they may have the same common enemy.

Dax starts out like an anchor dragging Raven down since he's clueless and often too stubborn not to insist that he's in charge (a surefire combination to earn him my middle finger). Fortunately he becomes a much more pleasant character as the story progresses when he begins to work better with and listen more to Raven. However, I feel that the author has overdone the two characters' issues and angsts because these characters come off more like a two-volume walking dictionary of issues. They have so many issues of guilt and trust that their baggages end up being their personality.

There is also many things taking place in the story, creating a sense of clutter. For example, this story could easily do without Raven's paranormal ability, but it's there. The characters have so many issues that more often than not there are more psychoanalyzing and angsty sex going on here instead of exciting chases.

On the bright side, the writing is clean and the characters are fine. It's just that there are too many things here, especially too many unnecessary issues, that bog down the story. I can't help thinking I'd enjoy this one more if it's a less complicated story of two daredevils having a blast taking down the bad guy in a high-octane romantic adventure. Ms Graves may have bitten off more than the page count here allows, I'm afraid.

Rating: 74


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