Review: Monster in His Eyes by J.M. Darhower

Monster in his eyes cover

4.5 unseated Stars

Motives. They change everything, don’t they? You can look at a situation on its face and judge it one way and then you read the background, you talk to someone involved and learn all of the behind the scenes dirt, you find the inside story and suddenly everything you thought was true, no longer holds. The emotions, the past, the motivations that drive us all, color everything we do. Change the context in which everything is received and seen. Sometimes they let us get closer to the truth – giving us insight into the reality of a situation we had already judged. But sometimes they can sweep the rug right out from underneath us – take the solid ground upon which we could have sworn we were standing and land us in unfamiliar territory, leaving us questioning everything we thought we knew.

Monster in His Eyes is exactly that. I’m writing this from unknown territory having had my world just tilted.

Karissa Reed is 18 years old. She is a freshman at NYU, trudging through a pain in the ass philosophy class. Trying to keep up with her frisky and over the top roommate. Trying to take care of her mother from afar. Trying to live her life. She’s got her head down, focused on what is right in front of her. She’s not looking for a life altering love or anything really except to make it through the current semester in college and move on to the next.

Ignazio Vitale invades Karissa’s life like a ninja but the impact is more akin to a nuclear bomb. He changes everything. He wakes up pieces of her she never even knew were there. He subtly and not so subtly moves right into her life and makes himself the very center of it. He is a live wire – covered and directed into the proper conduit, it’s useful and perfect, but peel back the protection, re-route it and it’s suddenly incredibly dangerous and will hurt you without even thinking twice.

Together they are intense and gorgeous and they fall so completely in love with each other, there were times when I thought I might be able to reach into the pages and touch their faces. When their passion was so palpable that I thought I might actually be in the same room with them, inhaling their combined pheromones, letting them inject me with their breadth and depth.

J.M. Darhower has written a hell of a book. From the very beginning you know there is something lurking, waiting to be unveiled. You find yourself not wanting to trust anyone. Not the characters. Not the setting. Not the events as they unfold before your eyes. But the halfway through I realized that I was caught in the web just as securely as Karissa and I found myself perfectly happy to be there. I didn’t want to leave Naz’s side, I didn’t really want to know the truth, I just wanted to move forward despite the nagging knowledge that not all was as it seemed.

Darhower took me on a ride so beautifully told that I didn’t want it to end. Even when the ugly truth steps forward and I was screaming at the top of my lungs, I just wanted more. I wanted more Karissa and Naz, more story, more everything that made me scream and pant and beg.

I knew stepping into this book that I would emerge the other side different in some way. I knew it would leave me unsettled and gasping. And it absolutely delivered. What I did not expect was to fall so completely in love with the whole package. I did not expect the man behind the curtain to be so utterly beguiling. I didn’t expect motivations to matter quite so much. But they do and they always have.

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