Genre: – Dark Romance (Not for the faint of heart, or for those who might find certain things triggering)
Series: – Book 1 in the Dirty Angels series, although states it can be read as a standalone (Spin off of The Artists trilogy, blurb states you do not need to have read this though)
Writing – First Person Dual POV
Main Characters: Luisa Chavez, 23. Former beauty queen and at the beginning of the book, has been married to Salvador Reyes for 2 months, and is running away from him and his abuse. Married him to be able to offer her parents, her mother who is blind, and her father who suffers from dementia a better life.
Javier Bernal, leader of a rival cartel, who kidnaps Luisa to hold her for ransom and gain more ground and power away from Salvador
Love triangle? – No
Cheating? – No
HEA? – Yes
Would I read more by this author? – Probably
I have to admit, that I have not read The Artists Trilogy, that features Javier (as it appears to be a love triangle which I am not a fan of, and I tend to avoid trilogies these days too).
So the blurb states ***While this is a spin-off of The Artists Trilogy, prior knowledge of the books is not needed** However, I felt that to be able to fully understand Javier and the choice he makes, how the relationships and actions from that trilogy affects him now, his relationship with Esteban, his fight to get to the top of the cartel, all of which is sort of brushed over here, written as if I should have prior knowledge to, made me feel as if I missed out on certain nuances and subtleties to his character and needed more of that back story in this book to help offer some insight to who he was as a man.
At time, there was something almost, naive about Javier. It is hard to put into words, given some of his actions in this book, but it was just hard to see him as some feared cartel leader. A violent messed up man, yes. A feared powerful Cartel leader – nope. His own men seemed to second guess him and not have much faith in him. His insistence on some sort of honour amongst thieves seemed at odds with his supposed role in becoming leader of the cartel and the world he was determined to immerse himself in.
Luisa I struggled with also. She had an awful life, and an awful time of it, however, I rather disconnected from her as a character. I felt for her, of course, but I felt like her sole purpose became being with Javier, only there as a prop for Javier to, break, fall in love with, and work through his feelings for another woman.
It was gritty and violent and disturbing in places, and I am glad they got the HEA. But, I did not find it as gripping as I thought I would. I did not get as emotionally invested in their story as I should have. Something just felt missing.
Amazon Uk Link: Dirty Angels