Thrall by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish
Published: September 27, 2018 by Philtre Press
Genre: LGBTQ+ Paranormal Romance
Happy couple Mina Murray and Lucy Westenra have begun to garner national attention for their quirky New Orleans true-crime podcast, Shadowcast. When Lucy’s brother Harker disappears while researching the popular new dating app Thrall, they’re thrown into a real-life mystery. Aided by their social media expert, Arthur, and Harker’s professor, Van Helsing, they follow the trail, hoping to find Harker before it’s too late.
When their investigation crosses the path of a possible serial killer, the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur. And as they race against the app’s countdown clock, so does the line between friendship and love. What starts as a flirtatious rivalry between computer-savvy Arthur and techno-averse Van Helsing becomes much more, and Mina and Lucy’s relationship is tested in the fires of social media.
As they get down to the wire, the group discovers that nothing on their screens is as it seems—including their enemy.
Thrall was a unique and interesting read told through diary entries, tweets, chat messages and emails. While I really felt like I understood the “voice” of each character I also wanted more substance from them. The epistolary format isn’t the best for getting deep dives into characters because you just don’t see all their actions and thoughts, but overall, I felt that Gale and Parrish handled it well. My favorite aspect was probably the spooky vibe that the story cultivated and I was really into the haunted overtones! That being said, the ending threw me for a bit of a loop because it wasn’t the supernatural or creepy ending I expected based on the book up to that point. It felt a bit like a bait and switch because all the interesting tension just flat lined.
“A. Van Helsing
How do you liked to be kissed, Arthur?
I want to be kissed exactly the way you want to kiss me”
There were two couples represented in Thrall and I enjoyed reading about each one. Lucy and Mina are the established couple and while they love each other they still have relationship hurtles to overcome. I liked that the reader gets to see that things are still work even after the I love you’s are said. Arthur and Professor Van Helsing meet through the investigation and are immediately attracted to each other. They’re also a bit of an opposites attract with Arthur being young and tech savvy and Van Helsing being older and a more stuffy, professor type. I enjoyed Arthur and Van Helsing’s relationship more purely because it was new and I love those first moments of discovery between a couple. But all the characters were very engaging and enjoyable to read about.
4 stars – it was enjoyable
ARC provided by A Novel Take PR for honest review