Review – Dweller on the Threshold (Beri O’Dell #1) by Rinda Elliott

Dweller on the Threshold cover image
Publisher: Samhain
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the author

Beri O’Dell is investigating paranormal creatures because she wants to know what she is. Taller and stronger than most men, she astral projects and can peel through dimensional layers to see the creatures and spirits beyond.

She once helped her foster sister, Detective Elsa Remington, track down killers in Jacksonville, Florida, but stopped when a nasty fire elemental turned her strength against her. Now, she finds herself pulled back when something steals Elsa’s soul and puts her into a coma.

With little time to spare, Beri searches for the reason behind her sister’s coma. She has help in her spirit guides Fred and Phro, but others come along for the ride, including a pyro-nervous witch, and an androgynous necromancer.

The last thing Beri needs is to fall in love with a mysterious stranger. But the handsome Minoan warrior Nikolos knows what creature she’s after because he’s battled it before.

It’s bad.

Really, really bad.

He calls it the Dweller on the Threshold.

Warning: Contains a worried heroine with no time, a witch with fire problems, a pissed-off necromancer, a trapped goddess, and a damned sexy, but scary, warrior. Throw in bloody battles, mass-murderer history lessons and a bit of sexy time and you get the start of Beri’s new life.
This blurb came from the author’s website.

As some of you may know that in addition to romance, I also read science fiction and fantasy. Because of that, I do not demand that every book ends in a HEA but I do usually want the overall series to end on a positive note. When I found out that one of my erotic romance authors was working on a series that had a much darker feel, closer to a fantasy horror than romance, I was intrigued. She sent me a copy of the first book but because I was unable to get the review written within the release window that I prefer, I decided to hold onto it and schedule it closer to the release time for the second book. So this is today’s first post with my thoughts about Dweller on the Threshold and the late post today will have my thoughts on Blood of an Ancient, book 2. I hope you enjoy.

Deep in a Florida swamp an unspeakable evil lived, hid, and violently died. Or did it? Beri O’Dell is a young woman of unknown parentage, unusual height, physical, strength, hair that really has a mind of its own, and some psychic ability. After an encounter with a much more powerful being left her emotionally scarred, Beri cut out most of her full scale preternatural dealings and concentrated on minor annoyances. She was trying to exorcise a ghost when her sister called and asked for help. Elsa is normal but she has understood from a young age that more existed in the world and Beri could see and deal with the extras. In this case otherwise healthy people were suddenly collapsing into comas for no medically discernable reason. Shortly after the phone call, Elsa became one of the victims. Throughout the course of Beri’s increasingly frantic efforts to save her sister and stop whatever was causing the comas, she acquired a rather motley crew of paranormal misfits. Together their combined strengths, weaknesses, and personalities were enough to drive Beri crazy and give me several fits of laughter.

While Dweller on the Threshold introduced a rather complex world and those who appear to be the core cast of characters for the series it was done at a reader friendly pace. As the reader, I learned along with Beri as she shed some of her assumptions and false knowledge only to develop more questions, new abilities, and associated new vulnerabilities. She was never allowed to become or feel overconfident because the rules of the supernatural creatures were beyond anything she had experienced before. She also had to deal with the hidden agendas of some of her allies as well as past history left unresolved between them. The underlying sexual tension threaded through this story reminded me that Elliot is also a romance author and she took care to develop tension on a multitude of levels which helped connect and ground the characters.

One of the things that I think makes the struggle against evil so ultimately creepy is that defeating it almost always results in a loss. Sometimes it is the gradual loss of self as the person fighting would justify their actions regardless of the effect on others because they believe the end justifies the means. Other times it is the willing sacrifice of something good or dear that is required for the final defeat because that thought is so utterly against everything evil stands for. While I was reading Dweller on the Threshold I really wondered which direction Beri was going to take, and once she started down that path, if she could change her mind. I also wanted to know what, if anything would make her draw the line at what she was willing to do or support being done in order to stop what was happening. I thought Elliot did a good job of building suspense and found the ending logical as much as I emotionally wanted it to end otherwise.

Dweller on the Threshold was a very interesting engrossing read. The struggle between evil and humanity was very intense with evil appearing to gain ground regardless of what Beri and her crew attempted. I really liked how Beri demonstrated that she was learning and growing throughout the story as she tried to put everything together for the final confrontation. The way Elliot ended this story certainly kept me eager to read the next one.

I give Dweller on the Threshold a B+

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