Out of Darkness: Captivated – Brittany Cournoyer
Ethan Fletcher’s a rising star in the modeling industry, and after landing an ad on a billboard, things were looking up for him. From the outside looking in, he was living his best possible life. No one knows the struggles Ethan faced, or that every night he removed the carefully constructed mask he had to slip on just to face the outside world. However, the camera wasn’t the only thing in love with Ethan’s face.
When the gifts started to arrive, they seemed innocent enough. But, the attention from the fan who called himself The Suitor had Ethan on edge, and when someone important in Ethan’s life goes missing, he knows it’s no coincidence. Receiving no help from the local police, Ethan seeks comfort from a very unlikely source. Together, they find themselves in a race against time to catch The Suitor before Ethan becomes his next victim.
Captivated is book 1 in the Out of Darkness series. It talks about stalking, kidnapping, murder, and mental illness. Captivated ends with a happy for now and is a continuing series. This book is an extremely slow burn with a romance that progresses throughout the series.
Captivated is a story of an all-consuming obsession that tortured, maimed and killed.
Ethan Fletcher is a model who is so beautiful he mesmerized the enigmatic and very disturbed individual simply known as The Suitor. Very little is known of the man apart from the fact that he owns a cyber security company, is devoted to his cat and loves to woo men with expensive gifts.
He tried the same method with Ethan. However, Ethan was not the type to be wowed by expensive shoes. Because The Suitor was not the type to take rejection easily, he started taking drastic measures with tragic results.
At first, I thought, hey, maybe this Suitor guy had some redeeming qualities and he will end up with Ethan like one of those Criminal Delights stories.
I couldn’t be more wrong.
The man was pure evil. Nobody could forgive what he did to poor B, just because B did Ethan a favor.
Ethan is a model attempting to break into acting. He doesn’t do well with crowds and has social anxiety. Ethan loves working on his puzzles to calm his nerves. The model is a lonely man whose only friend was his agent, Beatrice a.k.a. B. Later on, Ethan discovered he had a friend in X, another model B handles and who he did not get along with at first.
My heart went out to Ethan. Bad enough he had to deal with anxieties, now he has a crazy man out to get him. On top of that, the police was not be taking the model seriously. The only person who actually seemed to care was X.
X had some surprises of his own, starting with the mystery of why he prefers to be called X. He liked helping Ethan with his puzzles and introduced him to his own version of grilled cheese sandwich. He was a solid guy who used his considerable pull to make the police move their damn asses and start doing something about Ethan’s case.
There is no romance in the story. I’m kind of hoping the author would make Ethan aro and/or ace, but as per blurb, the romance in the series is extremely slow-paced. And from here on out, I’m rooting for an Ethan+X merger.
The writing felt simultaneously slow and fast. The character progression and developments came slowly but the tension was tight and had me on full on suspense mode which made things go quickly. The book presented both Ethan’s and The Suitor’s POVs which made it even more creepy.
The ending resolved enough threads to give a satisfying conclusion. The Suitor was named. Ethan had the help he needed. He and X had an appointment with grilled cheese sandwiches. It also left teasers hinting The Suitor has more gifts to send. I cannot wait for the next one. I’m also dreading it.
This is my first Brittany Cournoyer and certainly won’t be the last. She did a great job creating a gripping thriller that constantly kept me on the edge of my seat. It’s a chilling portrait of what stalkers will do to get the object of their desire. Recommended if you like dark, depraved bastards with offers one cannot refuse and bright, beautiful men who dared to say no.
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away