Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti (The Scorpius Syndrome #1)

Mercury Striking by Rebecca ZanettiAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Zebra

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Nikki

With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynn Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynn is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury…

Danger has never looked quite so delicious..

Rebecca Zanetti has long since been on my auto buy list, but with Mercury Striking, her foray into post-apocalyptic romance, she’s only cemented her place there.

Being in the middle of a war is a place Jax Mercury feels comfortable with. A past gang member and soldier has hardened him to the most evil of evils. Now, after a plague has ravaged the world he leads a group of civilians turned fighters in the bowels of what use to be Los Angeles. Survival, by any means necessary, is a mantra they live with daily. Kill anyone that gets in their way. Until the woman who supposedly started the spread of the disease that killed so many shows up in his territory asking for help. Lynne’s unique blue heart makes her impossible to hide and with people intent on tracking her down he knows it’s only a matter of time before the beautiful scientist becomes a liability. Yet she may be the only hope in slowing down a bacterial contagion that strips people of their humanity, leaving behind crazed killers in its wake.

What an amazingly well done romance! I loved the twist Zanetti has given to the typical zombie scene with her bacterial infection that basically leaves a human with no known humanity. Instead of killing and reanimating corpses it creates Rippers, crazed sociopaths or just plain crazy people needing to kill. Then there are those few who have survived the disease, instead coming out the other side heightened in ways unique to each person.

In the midst of the chaos is one woman, one scientist who contracted the Scorpius disease early on. Lynne, ex-leader of the CDC is on the run, heading for a center that may hold data she needs to synthesize a vitamin to slow down the progression of Scorpius, maybe even find a cure. Lynne knows her life is limited but seeking out the man known as Jax is her only hope of finding the center. Bargaining with him is treacherous but she’s shocked when he acquiesces to her demands. Help her find the information she seeks and kill one person in return.One person Lynne knows will stop at nothing to get to her and drag her back to the lawlessness of Washington DC. Jax is everything she imagined him to be and a hell of a lot more scarred than she was prepared for. He is battle worn and struggling to connect with those he leads depending instead on his top soldiers to bride the gap between himself and his people. Lynne sees the goodness in him, even if he doesn’t see it himself, but getting emotionally involved is not only stupid but pointless in a land ravaged by disease and human killers.

Mercury Striking is a hell of a lot more believable than all the zombie apocalypse books, tv shows and movies out there. A contagion that doesn’t kill be strips a crucial part of brain function that keeps a person from fulfilling their darkest desires to kill. Passed from a bite or a swap of bodily fluids, the Scorpius virus creates a fever you either die from, come back as a crazed killer (smart or not so smart) or perhaps just a bit…off. Provisions are hard to come by, scouting is dangerous and the people are real. The roads are covered with abandoned cars and the buildings are crumbling under the weight of being forgotten. No freshly cut, manicured grass that has you wondering who is managing to take care of them during the apocalypse (*cough, The Walking Dead, cough*). Instead Mercury Striking paints the picture of trees growing in the street and weeds taking over every surface they touch.

Yet, among all the lawlessness and the desperation, there is still hope. The one thing that can’t be taken from those who have survived. They cling to it and look to Jax to help them achieve it.  Though Lynne stands out like a sore thumb among the regular people with her blue heart glowing from failed experiments trying to find a cure, she is determined to help him if he agrees to help her.

Mercury Striking is a thrill ride from beginning to end, full of passion, promise and unfailing hope. The perfect beginning to a new series in a damaged world where danger comes not only in the form of roughened terrain, but in that of your fellow man.

I give Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti 4.75 stars!

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