The Catalyst

Romance - Suspense
288 Pages
Reviewed on 09/18/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

SELIN SENOL-AKIN is an adjunct language instructor, human rights activist, award-winning writer and New York mom. Like the main character- Kaitlin- in 'The Catalyst', she was 'catalyzed' as a newlywed in Norway to write this semi-autobiographical/semi-fantastical work of romantic suspense.

    Book Review

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.

Grant Leishman

The Catalyst by Selin Senol-Akin is a murder-mystery thriller with a supernatural twist. Recently married, Kaitlin Maverick has left her home in Toronto, Canada, and moved to be with her husband, an oil company executive based in a small town in Norway. Unable to speak the local language, Kaitlin is feeling lost and alone, wanting to be more than just a bored housewife. She wants more than anything to work again, to feel useful, and to contribute to the household coffers. When a chance encounter with a mysterious handsome man in a forest walk behind the town leads to an unexpected French translation job offer, despite her misgivings about the arrangement, she is keen to take the opportunity and see where it ultimately might lead. She decides not to tell her husband about the odd encounter until she is sure it will lead to something constructive. What Paul, her husband, and Kaitlin don’t realize is they are inadvertently opening the door to some past activities that may well come back to haunt the pair.

The Catalyst is an interesting read as it digs a little deeper into the supernatural and Islamic folklore that most readers will not have experienced before. Author Selin Senol-Akin has created a cast of characters that are intriguing and unusual. The almost hippie-like lifestyle adopted by Finn and his colleagues is an anathema to everything Kaitlin understands about modern business operations. It is this intrigue, plus the unseen electric attraction to the forbidden Finn, that allows her to continue the relationship in secret despite her own misgivings and intuition warning her. Some of the plot twists were unusual and unexpected which added to the allure of this narrative, especially the final twist. This beautifully set the entire saga up perfectly for the sequel, which clearly the author has already begun to work on. This is an interesting and addictive read, in some respects, which most readers will easily accomplish in a single sitting. I can definitely recommend this if you like a magical twist to your murder mysteries.

Hayley Haun

Newlyweds Kaitlin and Paul Maverick arrive in Stavanger, Norway. Their hope of marital bliss in this new place is evident. But Kaitlen’s sudden transition from a working woman to a housewife has the passion fizzling out instead of heating up. Kaitlin becomes bored and unfulfilled. She tries to entertain herself by taking walks into town. Even though the town is small, she manages to get lost and ends up in the woods. There she meets a handsome yet mysterious man named Finn Du Feu. He not only leads her back into town like a gentleman but also offers her a part-time job. The work is what she had hoped for, but something still seems off. Who are the people at his company? And what are they doing living all together in the woods?

Ready for a thriller set in the backwoods of Norway where mythology and modernism clash? The Catalyst by Selin Senol-Akin is such a book. Filled with both old and new, good and evil, it is an instant gripper. The Catalyst jumped right into the action. Selin Senol-Akin took no time in getting started, and boy, did it work. I was constantly curious until the very last page. Some questions were left unanswered, but they were in tune with the plot of the book. The groups’ identities threw me for a loop because I did not expect that at all. However, the revelation of these characters was a convincing alternative to the norm. The Catalyst is a creep-tastic and worthy read indeed!


I agree - it was truly very good !

Drew B.

I haven’t been this shocked by the ending of a thriller in a long time! Exciting… especially the second half!


I absolutely love this book!