Conduit is the second novel from author Angie Martin, who re-released her debut novel, False Security, last December. It contains heavy doses of suspense and police procedural with touches of romance and slight supernatural that will appeal to a wide cross section of readers. The true crime angle of the story drew me in, and while I didn’t love everything, the good writing and entertaining story kept me engaged through the last page.
Angie Martin has a criminal justice background, and it shows in the details of Conduit. There are no thirty-minute DNA test results or magical single fibers that provide the key to everything. Her police officers have to work hard for every scrap of evidence that they get, and there’s a lot of red tape when dealing with potential witnesses. Her killer understands current forensics as well as the police, and the descriptions of how he removed trace evidence from his victims and avoided leaving it behind seemed plausible. This man doesn’t simply “get lucky;” he is smart, savvy, and meticulous in his techniques to evade capture until he gets his prize, Emily.
The relationships between characters in Conduit also warmed my heart, because they are rich and go beyond just romantic connections. While Lionel and Barbara’s marriage was beautiful to read about, I also loved the strong friendship between Cassie and Emily, the familial ties between Cassie and her uncle and aunt (and by extension Emily), and the strong ties between many of the victims and the friends and family left behind. While Emily shies away from sharing her psychic talents with most people, she isn’t completely isolated, and there are many people she has let in emotionally even when she doesn’t reveal everything about herself. The type of relationship network I saw with each woman in the text reflected what I have seen in real life; even if it is small, most women build a support group for themselves to survive the struggles of every day life. I enjoyed seeing it shown in a novel where it didn’t become a substitute for romantic connection.
Ironically, my least favorite part of Conduit was the romantic relationship between Jake and Emily, which, given that I found it sweet and supportive, isn’t a huge slam. It just smacked a little too much of the soul mates trope, which is one of my least-liked plot devices in romantic fiction. While Martin provides an explanation for the instant connection that goes beyond it, I still struggled a little with the concept; however, I appreciated that Emily didn’t sacrifice her personality to be with Jake, and by the end of the novel, it was clear that his light was one of the few things to save her from the killer’s psychic and physical darkness.
The author’s notes at the end of Conduit promise more Emily Monroe stories, and I hope that Ms. Martin comes through. I am curious to see more of Emily’s adventures, and I want to see how she and Jake heal after the traumatic events in this book. There are a few loose ends with other major characters I’d love to see explored more fully as well, so put me down as looking forward to the next book!
If you like suspense fiction with a blend of realism and paranormal, give Conduit a try. You may just find a new author to watch!
4.5 Eerie Psychic Messages out of 5