Absent Souls by Dylan S. Hearn is the second part of the Transcendence trilogy and it picks up two years after Second Chance, introducing a cast of four main characters.
A murder in the Shambles leaves Mick O’Driscoll with a problem. Usually he’s aware of everything happening in the area but not this time. Going to the authorities is not exactly a choice for a crime lord but he takes a chance. Investigator Nico Tandelli has his suspicions but allows O’Driscoll a chance to prove his innocence, all the while working on another case of his own. Nico remembers the events two years ago all too well and a part of him – the husband and father part – knows it’s best to let it rest, but it’s not that simple. He can’t just ignore a conspiracy within the government, can he?
As with Second Chance, the characters are the stars of the story. The world around them feels alive (and at times scary), but it’s the characters that create the tension and need to read on. I liked how again every character had their own personality and how everyone had different motives, and how old faces seemed familiar though they’d also gone through changes. My favorite character this time around was O’Driscoll who in book one was only a side character. The story again takes place in the United Kingdom but this time we’ll also get to go abroad and see how life is across the pond. Not exactly a bright future there, either.
Absent Souls dives right into the story and the characters, keeping up a fast pace. It was hard to put down the book once I started reading it. There’s thriller and mystery, and I wanted to find answers to all questions – both new ones and old ones left over from Second Chance. There’s not that much backstory or recaps of events from the first book, but I found it was better that way. I had to strain my memory at times to keep up with everything so maybe it would’ve been better to read this closely after the first one, but it wasn’t a big issue.
There were interesting and unexpected twists in the story, and I can’t wait for the third part. I’m very curious to see how all the events and characters finally tie together.