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Alternate Currents is the 4th book in the Darcy Farthing mystery series by the author Arleen Alleman. This is the first book I’ve read in the series, which is quite unusual for me. However once I started reading it, I soon realized that it can be read as a standalone novel as well. There are just a few references to some earlier adventures Darcy and her boyfriend Mick went through on a cruise a few years back.
The story in this particular installment happens around the time when Darcy and Mick are planning their wedding. She has recently reunited with her daughter and granddaughter, and the Darcy is quite happy with her life just now.
That is right until she gets a call from a good friend of hers, Don, who is freaked out because his partner, Charlie, has disappeared. And it seems not of his own will.
Darcy leaves everything behind to fly to Seattle to help his friend in any way she can. Mick is not overjoyed by this decision, hoping that Darcy would stick around to plan her wedding and the cruise following that (and let’s face it, he is not thrilled that Darcy makes company with a gay couple either, even though this very couple saved their lives a few years back during a cruise that went very bad). Once Darcy gets to Don, she realizes that there is much more to deal with than just a simple disappearance and decides to stick around for a while, something that makes Mick quite unhappy.
The book is full of suspense and non-stop action. There are only a few pages where the pace is not hurried, which is something I love when reading books. The novel is not overly huge at about 300 pages or so, but there is so much happening that times I felt like I was reading a saga no less.
I got to meet some wonderful characters, each with their flaws and bright spots as well. Don and Charlie are a fun couple who love their daughter Penelope, adopted from birth from Andrea, the surrogate mother. Mick, Darcy’s boyfriend seems initially a bit rough at the edges and not really open to Darcy’s quick temperament of running to help anyone who needs it, even if it puts her in dangerous situations. However soon we learn that Mick is a great character as well, who has his own reasons for this reservations based on his own past baggage.
Now there are several evil characters in the book that are quite realistically described, you can actually see them in front of your eyes and feel their evil thoughts and schemings.
I was actually surprised to see so many nasty people in one book, each with their own agenda that slightly overlapped at times as well. The book definitely kept on my toes!
And yet, there is so much more to Alternate Currents than it being an action and adventure novel with a hint of psychological suspense. The author touches on some quite serious issues throughout the book including same sex marriage/domestic partnership, homophobia, birth surrogates, assisted reproductive technology, and the ties that bind people throughout their adventures together.
As it seems from past books as well, Darcy jumps into the action with both feet without worrying much about her own safety – which will be threatened at some point as well. The plot is quite complicated and just when you thought you figured out the ‘who’ and ‘why’, something new came up that convinced Darcy to stay even more in Seattle until all problems are solved, putting herself in even more danger.
The motives of the bad guys are well laid out and you’ll find yourself even understanding what is going on and why. You’ll learn about the surrogate mother, Andrea, and why she wanted the money and her daughter back, you’ll learn about the crazy Leslie Lavender and the evil and homophobic pastor who at the same time was fond of earthly pleasures And you’ll get to like the character of Deanna, the police woman who becomes one of Darcy’s best friends.
I’ve only touched a bit on the happenings and characters in Alternate Currents, but if I write more, I’ll give away the plot and rob you of the pleasure of reading it for yourself. Now that I’ve read this 4th book, I’ll go back to check out the previous 3 in the Darcy Farthing mystery series. Looks like I have some fun catching up to do!
Check out the previous books in the series if you like to read your books in order: