Psycho Within Us (The Psycho Series: Book II) - Chad Huskins Psycho Within Us is the second book in Chas Huskins' Psycho series with the first being Psycho Save Us. In order to understand my thoughts on the second book it is necessary to say a little about the first book.

The biggest strength of Psycho Save Us is the relationship between two psychic humans; a adolescent girl and an escaped psychopathic convict. In this book, the action and the emotion build on this strange connection. Huskins keeps it in the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia in one night and, despite the almost non-stop action, the book hinged on our reaction to the protagonist and the author's depictions of the too real horrors that are inflicted on others. When I discovered that the author intended a series I was surprised because, despite a somewhat open ending, the novel seemed to be complete in itself. That, plus the fact that I'm usually disappointed in series and I felt that any sequel would be a letdown. At the beginning of Psycho Within Us, I was doubly worried due to the author's decision to take Spencer's vendetta globally (to Siberia to be exact). From my own experiences as a social worker with some anti-social clients, believing that a psychopath would leap into such meticulous planning that is needed for such a vendetta challenged my suspension of disbelief even more than the supernatural horrors that were to come.

I am glad to say I was wrong. Huskins juggles his characters well. The tension of the tale is still in the relational conflict between Spencer and 12 year old Kaley. In fact, it is intriguing how Spencer as a character is less interesting in scenes which he is alone than scenes in which he is pitted against, or with, Kaley. But Spencer is one of the most interesting and despicable villians heroes that I've seen. He would just as well kill Kaley than save her. He needs her abilities. One of the things Spencer keeps saying in the novel is "No one kills Kaley but me". It's uncomfortable to root for this guy but you do.

Kaley is no less fascinating. She and her younger sister are still recovering from their ordeal in Book I. But Kaley is still connected to Spencer and is starting to realize that her powers are stronger and more dangerous than she suspected. The way the author manages to put Kaley in the midst of the action in both Siberia and Atlanta is quite creative. Kaley's 9 year old sister Shannon starts as the weak link as she was in the first book but the author has a surprise for us as he picks up speed in this non-stop action thriller.

The author manages to juggle a lot in this novel but he doesn't drop a one. There is still the grim and uncomfortable plot of a child sex ring and its Russian mafia connections. But a new horror comes in focus too. One can forgive the reader if at a certain point, he jumps out of his chair and shouts, "Holy Cthulhu!".

Yes, Huskins manages to make this a lot more involved than the first novel. However, the main themes still exist and drive the story: The drive to survive through all obstacles and the conflict in making choices that may go against your values when Doom with a capital D looks inevitable. Most of the tension, in my opinion, is not in the supernatural horror but not knowing how much Spencer's nihilistic outlook will corrupt Kaley. So much so that when I got to the incredible cliffhanger at the end, I sent off an e-mail to the author saying, "Dammit, Chad. The next book better be out soon!". He assured me it will be out soon.