Taint is the second book in the Snap trilogy. I absolutely loved loved loved book one, Snap, and I was chomping at the bit to dive into book two. The pace of Taint is a bit slower at first, but necessarily so as the main character Hazel has some very serious healing to do after her near death experience. In my review of Snap I included a trigger warning, and that same warning is very much still so for book two, possibly even more so. Rape, beatings, drugging and severe violence is a brutal fact in these books… which makes it an intense thriller through and through. There’s no sugar coating the violent acts that are sadly a very real part of people’s lives, so if you have triggers in your personal life then you’ve been warned.
Hazel, as I mentioned, was raped and beaten nearly to death in the last pages of book one. Now, in book two, she spends a good chunk of the book in the hospital and being guarded by friends and the police as she begins her healing process both physically and mentally. Before she has a chance to really regain a sense of normality, the police chief pulls his officers off of guard duty and Hazel winds up kidnapped by a couple of new faces. The faces of drug lords, who are right at the head of this awful web she’s found herself weaved into despite the fact that she’s a straight forward, clean cut and hard working woman. She’s the victim of love and circumstance in every way and is really given the brunt end of every stick imaginable. To make things worse, as soon as she’s comfortable in her new circumstances, loved and hopeful even, things once again take a turn for the worse.
Phil, the horribly awful narcissist of the worst sort AKA the guy who’s inflicted every ounce of Hazel’s pain… has put together the nastiest of nasty plans. He escaped the law and is in hiding after Hazel survived his rape and beating. He’d stolen the formula to Snap – the main drug and theme of the trilogy – but lost it and is determined to get it back. His plan to continue altering this drug into a more addictive and even fatal version is just as important to him as his ownership and control of Hazel. What he does in Taint is neck and neck in terms of evil as it is in book one.
Meanwhile there’s Cash. He is one of the few who very first created Snap in a way that was meant to be non addictive but started the spiral that is everything Phil’s wrath. Cash loves Hazel in a real and wholesome way. Despite his dedication to give her a happy life, keep her safe, and get away from the drug lord lifestyle, Phil gets in the way and throws a whole new kind of violent and even deadly wrench in his plans.
Taint is a very memorable and well-crafted thriller that makes you cringe, grip the edge of your seat, even cry and cuss from cover to cover. Hands down 5 stars, and of course it has to end on a major cliffhanger – so book three here is come!!
I don’t know who I am anymore, or what I’m becoming. Time doesn’t exist in this godforsaken Hell I call my life. Every time I find a semblance of hope, it’s bled away. Just like I’m bleeding away. The longer he believes he’s won, the more I die inside. I may be nothing but a shell by the time this is over.
I failed her. I couldn’t keep her safe. Now I may lose her completely. We’re running against a clock controlled by a madman, and we don’t know when he plans to end his game. Every minute that passes without finding him makes the thought of killing him that much sweeter.
I didn’t think it would be so easy. My Snap will be on the streets soon, and I’ll be living the dream. That is, after I take Cash out. With him gone, I’ll control not only the drug, but Hazel as well. If she listens, she will have a hell of a life. Right. Beside. Me.