The Empath by Jody KlaireThe Empath by Jody Klaire is the story of a young woman with the gift of sensing feelings, the past and future of people around her.

When we first meet Aeron Lorelei she is in a mental institution for a murder she confessed to when she was sixteen. It’s now eleven years later and we discover that Aeron can see and hear things that other people can’t. We also find out that she has no memory of the murder.

When Doctor Llys, a new psychiatrist, starts she and Aeron butt heads initially but soon enough they find common ground and Aeron opens up. We spend the first third of the book in the institution learning about her life there and her growing relationship with Llys.

After a few months Llys deems Aeron ready to leave and make a life outside of the rigid structures she is used to. Being still under the watchful gaze of the law and having no way of making money and no real skills means that Aeron has to return home. The small town she grew up in. The place the murder happened. And in a small town with a long memory Aeron is not welcomed home. Not even her father, the sheriff of the town, seems pleased to have her back and he takes her to live in her grandmother’s derelict cottage on the banks of a river that frequently floods.

This is where the meaty story takes place. As soon as Aeron comes home young women and girls begin disappearing. The town starts pointing fingers as Aeron who can see a large cloud of evil hanging over the town.

When Dr Llys makes an appearance in order to check on Aeron secrets are revealed and together they work to prevent Aeron from being wrongly accused again. The only way to do this though, is to lean into her gifts that cause her emotional pain.

In a town where hardly anyone believes her and a psycho is ramping up the killings one has to wonder if Aeron is strong enough to survive the storm.

The Characters

Aeron is the main character and most of the story is told from her point of view. She isn’t well educated but she has an emotional depth and understanding of people that few people do. She is physically very strong because the gym in the institution was one of the few places where she could escape from her turmoil.

Llys is a bit of a chameleon character. You start off being unsure about her then grow to like her then become unsure then like her again. She is the kind of character that keeps her cards close to her chest and is obviously hiding something but we are not sure what until towards the end.   

At one point we meet Aeron’s father and then we get some chapters from his point of view. It’s an interesting perspective shift.  In the middle of narrative about a serial killer we see the story of him and his daughter both trying to find a way to relate and it’s rather touching.

This book has a cast of strong side characters including Aeron’s grandmother’s ghost, a squirrel and some memorable townsfolk.

And whether the characters love or hate Aeron seems to make no difference to her. She remains calm and kind to them all. I can’t say I have ever read anything quite like this in terms of how the side characters play into Aeron’s experience of the world.

The Writing Style

Jody Klaire has a clean style of writing which made reading easy even if the subject matter was complicated and sometimes emotionally difficult.

Kaire also did some interesting things by telling the story from multiple points of view using first person style. This made the story feel more personal and really gave Aeron and her father unique voices.

My Favourite Parts

I loved how different this book is and how unique especially for lesfic.The understated love story that blooms is just one small part of this incredible puzzle that Clare creates for us.

Also, shoutout to whoever wrote the synopsis they use on Amazon, it is spot on about the book.

I also like the cover, high five to Bedazzled!

Heads Up

There is a ton of violence against kids and women in this book but when you are dealing with a serial killer then I wasn’t surprised.

I also knew who the killer was from early on, there were no red herrings and the cast of characters was relatively small so it wasn’t hard to guess. For those who want the big surprise it may not be there. Still, I enjoyed the journey and found this book to be an entirely unique read.

The Conclusion

At just under 350 pages The empath is a monster and the beginning of a series. So if you love the idea of reading about a team of people who go around and solve difficult cases using a range of skills including psychic ones then pick up this book and get cracking.

The Empath is absolutely for you if you are a lover of movies like The Gift with Cate Blanchett. It’s got a bit of darkness, a lot of heart and a sweet side romance for those who like to see the girl get the girl in the end.

Excerpt from The Empath by Jody Klaire

“Aeron Lorelei. Unusual name.”

I nodded, slightly transfixed by the energy dancing around her. A go-getter.

“You were Lori’s cellmate?”

I nodded again and chose to stare at the large certificate of the Doctorate instead of the woman who so clearly couldn’t be bothered to look at me. Doctor S. Llys. So she went to Yale, Ivy League then.

“It says on your file that you believe you can see the future.”

I sighed. Most people who started off with “you believe” generally finished by saying “delusional.” I may be many things, but I know what I see.

“You saw Lori attack Sheila?”

I folded my arms. “In what context?”

Llys looked up, her steel-gray eyes unnervingly clear. She thought I was trouble. If she kept up her attitude, I would be.

“Is there more than one?”

“You start by saying I see the future, then asked if I saw Sheila and Lori. Therefore it ain’t too obvious to assume you’re referring to my foresight other than the actual events.”

She raised her eyebrows.

Yeah, I read, lady. I can throw out a sentence when I need to, I thought. Stick that, Ivy League.

“Did you see it . . . beforehand?” she asked.

Human curiosity. All the degrees in the world couldn’t suppress the inner-gossip.

“Yes.”

She sat back and perched her hands together in a prayer-like pose. I half wondered if she was going to do just that. “You saw Lori attack Sheila, and you didn’t stop her?”

“Correct.”

“Why?”

I looked past her out of the window. When you’re stuck inside four gray walls for years on end, it’s funny how much greener the world always looks beyond . . . even if it was through bars and barbed wire. “Freedom,” I answered.

“Yours?” I laughed. Now, she was just being dumb. The only thing it would offer me was peace from Lori’s screaming all night long and her desperation coating the walls of the cell like thick black tar.

I didn’t bother to answer and that seemed to rile Miss Ivy-League right up. “Did you convince her it was a good idea? Is that the way you work? Is that how you and your friends entertain yourselves?”

I raised an eyebrow. Did psychiatrists come off production lines? If they didn’t get a satisfactory answer to shove you in box A, B, or C. They went for an attack instead.

“Nice of you to think so highly of me.”

“I haven’t come to any opinion of you yet,” she answered.

“Haven’t you? You sat for twenty minutes reading the notes of a man who should have been retired forty years ago. You borrow his opinion and he didn’t know me.”

Llys smiled.

I smiled back.

I’d just told her exactly what had happened and it confused the hell out of her. She would put it down to perception skills or guesswork. Doctors are like that.

“So who are you?” she asked.

I tried not to roll my eyes, if in doubt switch the question. “Aeron Lorelei . . . but then I thought you’d read it on the notes.”

“Is this the way it’s going to be, Aeron?” she asked. You know you’re definitely irritating them when they use first names.

“That depends on you, Tess,” I shot back.

She froze. How could I possibly know her mother’s pet name for her?

I smiled. No use in trying to outplay an Empath. We can see all your cards.

And that’s when our first session ended.

Abruptly.

She kicked me out.

It was the first time I’d been kicked out of a session.

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Series

Above And Beyond Series

The Empath

Blind Trust

Untrained Eye

Hindsight

Noble Heart

Black Ridge Falls

Bits and Bobs

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Note: I received a free review copy of The Empath by Jody Klaire. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site

About the author

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Sheena is the founder of The Lesbian Review.

She discovered lesbian fiction when she was 19. Radclyffe and Karin Kallmaker soon became favourite authors and she spent a large part of her hard earned income on shipping books from Amazon.com to her home in South Africa.

Over the years she became frustrated with purchasing mediocre lesbian fiction feeling like it was a waste of her money and time. And so she decided to share only the best books and movies with lesbians who are looking for only the best. And so, The Lesbian Review was born