Trish J. MacGregor
Tor, Sep 14 2010, $24.99
High in the Andes in Esperanza, Ecuador, two visiting Americans who never met before are stranded at an isolated bus station waiting who knows how long for the bus to arrive. FBI Agent Tess Livingston and Minneapolis journalism professor Ian Ritter chat as she wonders how she got here being on a case of international counterfeiters while he also ponders how he ended up in Peru when he was going to Galapagos Islands. While they wait they explore the town.
Shapeshifting spirit Dominica notices the pair and muses whose body of the two outsiders she will possess. When she begins her take over, Dominica is shocked to recognize each is a transitional soul of the nearly dead. These semi ghosts are dangerous to spirits like her and must be avoided, but she also finds them macabre and fascinating.
Esperanza is an exciting but strange supernatural thriller starring unnatural enemies. Ian and Tess struggle with their transformations as they try to understand the eternal war between good and evil. Although the time traveling sequences add complexity to the story line such as Ian trying to prevent singular atrocities that he knows will occur; these subplots also detract from the entertaining character driven paranormal triangle between the transitional souls and the spirit; the latter is fun to follow as the reader will want to know how it plays out.