Preface: This review covers all four episodes in this series. I'm trying to be as vague as possible and to keep it spoiler-free so that those who haven't read all episodes yet can enjoy the full experience.
Sometimes I like to venture into the darker corners of my mind with the help of a super talented author. When I hear Keri Lake has a new book coming out I'll hand over the reins and let her take me out of my comfort zone. I trust her to make me squirm uncomfortably...and still have a good time.
Dylan is only a few weeks away from her 18th birthday and it can't come quick enough. At the hand of her uncle she suffers unmentionable abuse which she only bears in a drugged up stupor and barely remembers what happened afterwards. Her mother died of a drug overdose, or that's what authorities want her to believe, and her father committed suicide. Dylan's only tether to a semblance of normalcy and the one being she cares most about is her dog Charlie. After another horrific experience with her uncle she has had enough and flees the filthy apartment. Having no money to get by is a problem so what's a girl to do?
Ripley is a hitman for one of the mob families competing for power in Chicago. When he follows one of his targets he observes a girl getting into the car of the man he is supposed to kill. He saves her from being raped and killed...and is bemused. Rip doesn't *save* people. He tortures them, makes them beg for a merciful death without remorse. This girl, though, is an enigma to him. She is innocent and yet she isn't, she is naive and still streetwise. Ripley doesn't need witnesses yet he sends her off on her way...but...he can't stop thinking about her. So what's a guy to do?
If you think loving a man like Rip is impossible let me tell you - it isn't. In some twisted logic Keri Lake makes you believe that this cold blooded, obviously psychopathic killer is deep down a good man. He is ruthless, twisted, charismatic and single minded in his focus on his target. Dylan brings out the tender feelings inside of him he didn't think he had. Is he gentle with her? Far from it. Their love is raw, violent and volatile.
And as much as I fear that my demons will ultimately tear her apart, the disturbing reality is, they’d probably get drunk with hers and have a fucking orgy together.
Dylan is a contradiction of naiveté and experience, innocence and jadedness, toughness and vulnerability. She fascinates the cruel Ripley and soon he finds himself entangled in a relationship with an expiry date. The more time he spends with her the more he obsesses about her and the more possessive he gets. And can I say he is HOT? Because, damn, he is!
“This is what fascinates me about you. Doesn’t matter that you’re tied to a bed in a basement, facing all variety of gruesome outcomes, you never lose that spitfire attitude.”
Dylan is probably my favorite heroine by Keri Lake as of yet. She is strong with enough softness, sweetness and vulnerability to make her relatable. She has a youth about her that belies the darkness inside her. I don't think I would have survived the atrocities she experienced in her young life. Together Dylan and Rip are explosive but if you look closely there is a gentle side to their relationship that comes unexpected. I adored how they took care of each other, how these two broken souls fell in love and made sense despite their darkness.
Merciless and merciful. Wild and broken. He’s a raging fire, with the inclination to destroy whatever gets in his path, and I’m nothing but a small scrap of kindling. Yet the way he stares at me with such reverence, makes me feel like I’m the one holding the match.
Keri Lake's gritty writing is flawless as usual. She tackles a very real and uncomfortable subject and passes with flying colors. The mood is intense. Sinister, brutal and raw and not for the faint of heart, yet in the end you'll find yourself deeply in love with a brutal killer and the love of his life.
If you haven't read a book by this author yet and love grungy and gritty tales I urge you to pick up one of her stories. You won't regret it.