Sophia Rios is a first year nursing student, who makes ends meet by working as a bar maid. She is also a mutant, with the ability to nudge and manipulate things, but not much else. One evening, whilst working at the bar, she spots her favorite customer, Kyle Norwood, a trim military type of guy with rugged good looks, but has a bad habit of ignoring her signals. What Sophia doesn’t know is that Kyle is a mercenary working for Three Fates, a company founded by international assassin, Zara Itani. Kyle is there looking after two geneticists who are meeting a potential buyer for their new research. Unfortunately, it turns out that the buyers are a Colombian drug cartel known as Rue Marcha, and just to make things more difficult, the IGEC (International Genetics and Ethics Council) agents are there to bust the Rue Marcha. During the inevitable shoot out, one of the geneticists is shot, but before he dies, he injects Sophia with a microchip. Suddenly, Sophia finds herself a person of interest for both the IGEC and Rue Marcha. Lucky for her, Kyle Norwood is on hand to protect her whilst she works out what is so important about the chip in her arm. Trouble is, she likes Kyle and he hates mutants.
Carnival Tricks is a spin off story from Kerrion’s Double Helix mutant saga and as such, takes place within the same world of mutants and derivatives as the original series. Two of my favorite characters, the alpha empath, Danyael Sabre and Zara Itani also make a few cameo appearances, as well as Xin, the NSA analyst, but for most part, the story follows Sophia and Kyle. Whilst this best serves the purpose of the story, I would have preferred a lot more of Danyael and Zara, with their star-crossed lovers from polar opposite attitudes to life. That’s not to say that Kyle and Sophia aren’t bad characters, far from it; Kyle is a former military man turned mercenary who finds himself attracted to the small but determined Sophia, but he dislikes the fact that mutants and derivatives have an unfair advantage compare to regular humans. Sophia is plagued by the brutal murder of her parents, and although feels out of her depths, is determined to get to the bottom of why a drug cartel is interested in genetic research. In many ways, they are similar to Zara and Danyael, but are paler shadows of those two characters.
Plot wise, its standard Kerrion fair, which means lots of tension and drama, with the action always on boil. There is a lot of good interplay between the lead characters and some sexual tension, which helps keep an interesting dynamic going between them.
This isn’t a full blown Double Helix novel and never pretends to be. What you get is an expansion of the world of Double Helix and a few more characters to the stable of beloved characters introduced in the main novels. Carnival Tricks is an interesting side show that will keep you hungry for more mutant high jinx from Kerrion and in the mean time gives the reader a quick fix of Danyael and Zara goodness.
Carnival Tricks launches on 7th April 2015, and is available in various formats. In addition, there’s a link at the back of the book for the Kindle Fire HD 6 giveaway, which starts on April 7th, so don’t discard your book when you’re done. You’ll want that link to take part in the giveaway!