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Dead World, Book 1

Set in the future, Earth is no longer how we know it. Forests are gone and deserts abound. Countries are divided into Republics with sections of no man lands between them. Everyone who belongs to a Republic has a chip. Those without chips are considered outlaws and can be killed on sight with no repercussions. To keep the peace between the Republics a special elite tactical team has been formed, IPTT or International Police Tactical Team. 
Gina Santiago aka Red is a member of the IPTT. She’s not well liked and doesn’t seem to fit in but she’s never thought of doing anything different. Her grandfather who raised her is the commander of the IPTT. While on what should have been a routine patrol with a rookie, Red encounters suspects who kill her back up. Bannon Richards blames her as usual. When Red locates a dead woman close to the site, Bannon states she was killed by wild animals while Red thinks there is something more, something that they should follow up on.
Following her instincts, Gina asks for time off to unofficially investigate the woman’s death. Going to the nearest town, Nuria, Gina meets sheriff Morgan Hunter. There’s attraction there but neither is willing to act on it. They each have their reasons but will they be able to resist?
Morgan protects the residents of Nuria from more than just criminals. Most of the residents are not fully human. During the last big war, scientists did some DNA experiments. Those experiments created the Others which officially do not exist. If they did, some people would do anything to kill them all. Nuria’s population is mostly werewolves with a vampire thrown in for good measure. Morgan can’t let that secret out particularly to someone in the IPTT. The problem is Morgan is positive that Gina is Other too. So, how could she not know?
While this book is a romance, don’t think lightness and flowers. This book explores darkness and stark realities. There is a murderer out there that is eating his victims. People are no longer buried but recycled like everything else in this new world. Life is tough in Nuria and the towns near the borders and this story shows it like it is. 
That’s not to say everything is gloom and doom. There is romance in the air and a mating dance to happen. Gina and Morgan just have to work together to figure it out and trust each other when they do. If the suspect is who Gina thinks it is, Morgan will have to deal with betrayal and divided loyalties. 
This story gives a new meaning to urban fantasy romance. The world that is developed is different than any other that I’ve read about. It has a rough edge and new spins that make it intriguing as well as startling.
The characters are real. They are hard because they have to be. They do things because it’s what they are suppose to do. They don’t make excuses. Their military backgrounds are always present. Yet, each has a softer side that many don’t see. Gina and Morgan are driven but always want to do what is right.
I enjoyed this story because it was so intense. The characters grabbed your attention. The descriptions were vivid enough that you could almost taste the dust. 
Red is the first book in a series of books. It’s an excellent introduction to a strange new world and its power players. Each of the books can be read on their own and enjoyed but after reading this first book after reading the second and third, I would suggest reading them in order for the most enjoyment.   This book gives hints as to what is to come but as with this book, it’s even more than you can imagine.

Book Blurb for Red

War is brewing in a near-future world where murder is all but unheard of and the existence of creatures known as the Others has yet to be proven. In the end, one woman will face her fears to stand and fight.

Gina Santiago is a member of an elite tactical team in charge of protecting the world. She’s devoted her life to apprehending the most heinous criminals that prey on society—and now she’s after the worst one yet.

On her own, with no backup, the trail takes her to a dusty, tight-knit town on the fringes of society, where everyone’s a suspect. Even the sexy sheriff, Morgan Hunter, isn’t telling her everything.

The closer Gina comes to finding out the secret of this sleepy little town and its big, bad sheriff, the more scared she gets—because she’s beginning to realize that she has a secret, too. A secret that will change her life…and make her the killer’s next prey.

Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2010 4.75