The NightShade Forensic Files: The Atlas Defect: Book 3 - The NightShade Forensic Files

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Griffyn Ink, May 4, 2017 - Fiction - 350 pages
7 Reviews

Book 3 - The NightShade Forensic Files

Eleri wanted a different kind of case. She should have been careful what she wished for.

 

When an odd human skeleton in Michigan’s Manistee-Huron National Forest triggers a NightShade investigation, Eleri and Donovan arrive to find it missing. But two other skeletons are a little too easily uncovered—each displays different anomalies that raise alarming questions.

 

The bones aren’t from the area or probably even the continent. A decades-old abandoned building doesn’t register on satellite images. Files detailing genetic experiments on children are even more disturbing, and most of the children are unaccounted for.

 

Who were the test subjects and where are the bodies? Eleri and Donovan believe there are others out there who haven’t died yet. But they will, if something isn’t done. Fast.

 

If the case itself wasn’t enough of a problem, someone is watching. Someone with a particular interest in Donovan’s own skeletal anomalies . . .

 

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Eleri Eames was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and a mystic for a grandmother. Her uncanny string of successful profiles for the FBI left her facing an inquiry into whether she’d been involved...until NightShade scooped her and her instincts up and put her to work. With her partner, Donovan Heath, Eleri is following up on a report of ‘weird’ bones in a national forest – in a snowstorm. Happily, the snow isn’t a problem for Donovan’s nose – the fact that ‘weird’ might be an understatement, on the other hand, is liable to crack open something that no one wants to see the light of day.
The Atlas Defect was a highly enjoyable read, offering plausibly imperfect characters and an original slant on shape-shifters. Despite being the third in the NightShade Forensic Files series, I had no trouble reading it as a standalone; there was enough back-story evoked as the adventure progressed to flesh out the characters, without leaving the pacing bogged down in an info-dump. ‘GJ’ Janson was the only real weak point in the story for me; she went to far too much trouble to insert herself into the investigation to roll over that easily when push came to shove (trying not to drop too many spoilers here). Other than that, the plot contains a nice mix of macabre and mystery, the pacing is good, and the twists were nicely handled. Certainly one to add to your to-read list.
 

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The Atlas Defect is an amazing story. I would give it 4 ½ stars. Right from the beginning the story grabs the reader and pulls them on a headlong journey through a well-constructed sci-fi thriller. The characters, especially the ones that have appeared in earlier books in the Nightshade Forensics series, were richly developed. More nuances of their characters are being revealed. Scudiere proves once again her prowess at creating plausible stories that the reader just cannot put down.
The only drawbacks I found in the story was the lack of a true antagonist and the story felt like it ended too abruptly, without any real closure to the case. Sure, most of the questions were answered. However I felt like they could have been answered in a more visceral way. I was especially disappointed in how the discovery of one of the main character’s secret by a character first mentioned in this story was never really resolved.
Overall I would still highly recommend The Atlas Defect to all fans of Sci-fi thrillers as well as all fans of Scudiere’s other books. I believe they will certainly enjoy the story.
 

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