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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
An effective work of suspense fiction has the power to trap you in a nightmare in which formidable forces elude your comprehension and stand in your way with seemingly no escape. This is the kind of fate that Kaitlin Maverick faces in The Catalyst by Selin Senol-Akin. Less than two years ago after marrying Paul Maverick, Kaitlin left her life in Toronto to join him in Norway for his new job as a computer specialist for Statoil Petroleum. But adapting to small-town life in Stavanger proves boring for Kaitlin. As she tries to meet new people, she encounters the enigmatic Finn and his friends. This is the start of a secret that she will have to keep from Paul. Finn has a way of awakening Kaitlin’s deepest desires, and he uses her life of dullness to get into her life. As Kaitlin begins to sense something evil about Finn, she will have to muster up her courage to escape from their intense affair.
The Catalyst is a romantic suspense novel, but it has the unique trappings of a supernatural thriller, and Selin Senol-Akin places the storyline in a plausible world. The dialogues between Kaitlin and Finn can sometimes get a little cheeky, especially in contrast to her relationship with Paul, which has undertones of a serious domestic drama since they often bicker over trivial things brought about by her uneventful small-town life. One of the novel’s subtexts involves ways to make the most of living in a small town. Kaitlin manages to settle into the rhythms of Stavanger by getting out of her comfort zone and, based on that, her life takes a significant turn—for the worse. And this makes for a brilliant conflict against herself and others. This book is highly recommended if you want to read romantic suspense with an unexpected twist and a little supernatural element thrown into the mix.