The Bottom Line: A timely and explosive psychological thriller about sexual power, BDSM, systemic sexual abuse and harassment.
When FBI agents arrive at the lavish Las Vegas home of psychologist Dan Whitney, they find local police and CSI technicians responding to an alleged abduction of Dan’s girlfriend, Francesca Capellini, during a housewarming party. It takes only a few moments for law enforcement to connect the dots: “Weren’t you the two who were involved in that kinky shooting a few months ago in Palm Desert?”
Spirits, the final chapter in Alex Jones’ Identity trilogy, continues to explore the sticky relationship between Dan, Francesca, Anika Kristiansen, Angela Baranyi and several others. As in the trilogy’s first two books, as well as an excellent prequel, Angela’s Eyes, Jones explores themes of sexual identity, attraction and BDSM, while adding the rather timely subject of systemic sexual harassment and abuse to the mix.
The trilogy’s physical landscape is greatly expanded in this final installment, with nearby Nellis Air Force Base serving as a pivotal location and symbol. It’s no spoiler to say that military misconduct is a major plot trigger, through which Jones drives a busload of white-knuckled scenes. Monster villain Soren Kristiansen, the product of unimaginably abusive foster homes, is also back to create more mayhem. The recent wave of real-life sexual allegations rocking news headlines over the past several months give additional meaning to every character and page.
If this all sounds too serious for erotic thriller fans, take heart – the book is decidedly naughty throughout, if not depraved (Jones’ seductress Teri: “I’m dying to see you boys suck each other off”). That’s not to say Spirits is all blush-inducing darkness. Auteur Jones deserves ample credit for somehow delivering a totally satisfying – and even optimistic – outcome for the characters he has so lovingly shepherded through his trilogy.