Race the Darkness is the first book in the Fatal Dreams series by Abbie Roads. Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn't have to question you—he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night—the voice of a woman begging him to save her. Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except...there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.
Race the Darkness is the start of a new series, but many parts of the world building and even character set up felt like there was much more going on, and that readers are not aware of. I often felt like perhaps there was a prequel of related series that I missed. Xander is a complicated character- serious family issue that I feel like I never got a full understanding of- are a major part of the story, as is the fact that getting struck with lightning at some point gave him the ability to hear other's thoughts. Using the ability hurts, but he tries to use it for good more than for selfish uses. Isleen has been held captive for a long time, along with her grandmother she has faced torture and pain and has to deal with the psychological damage that has done, along with the implications of who and why. When Xander rescues Isleen and brings her home the story gets more complicated, and family life more bizarre. Conflicts abound, as does confusion. Xander is the only character that I really felt like I knew by the end of the story, and so much back ground still feels out of reach to me. I found the read interesting, but a little to esoteric for my tastes.
Race the Darkness is an interesting read, and there were parts that I really enjoyed. However, I never really connected with the characters or felt fully invested in the story. I know there are people that will love this, it just was not for me.