When Breath Play & Serial Killers Collide: Sex to Die For???
This week I'm reviewing the upcoming release SHATTERED: A DARK STALKER ROMANCE by Audrey Rush.
First things first. Here's the cover to this latest installment of THE DAHLIA DISTRICT Series. And I also want to note that although this book is part of a series, it is a standalone novel. I have not yet read the other book in the series, and I had no issues with characters, premise, past events...anything you'd think may be a problem with series books. It is its entirely own book.
Here are the facts. Mel,—Melissa— Foley, is a sex worker. She's a talented artist and "entertainer" at a local gentleman's club. She's also killed a man. And pinned it on a serial killer who kills men who hurt sex workers and who fondly known as the Pros' Angel. The serial killer? Well, he has no issue taking credit for his kills. He even anticipates getting caught. But for *his* kills. Not Mel's. It bothers him. Grates on his nerves. Does she actually think she could get away with it? Of all the nerve. He's ready to pin every murder on her, until something he'd never imagined happens....
That's the premise of SHATTERED: A Dark Stalker Romance by Audrey Rush. There are so many good things about this book I'd like to highlight and a few things that kind of missed the mark.
Things that worked:
1) The general handling of a sex worker as a legitimate job. I really appreciated how Rush portrayed the women at the club as professionals. Sex work is often demeaned, but it is a very real part of society and the people. These women were professionals and even spoke about job advancement ( becoming a manager, madame).
2) The breath play. Strangling never seemed so hot. I mean, sure, the strangler *was* a serial killer, so he was quite proficient in the art of breath play- taking it to the absolute edge. Not really your everyday kinky guy, but like kink extreme. I actually would've like to see more explicit breath play on the pages.
3) Mel's headspace. That was very realistic. She was a consistent character with believable thoughts for her age/situation. Just reckless enough to get involved with a serial killer, not reckless enough to actually condemn his serial killings.
4) The Pros' Angel aka The Serial Killer. This worked, but I did feel it could've worked more. We got a glimpse into his thoughts and some of his actions, but I would've loved to see more action. Ahem.... sex scenes.
5) The bad people get what's coming to them. I'll just say that. I don't want to spoil the how, but this is a romance and we all know the HEA is happening, so I'll just say that this book fits this.
Things that didn't work (for me):
1)There was a subplot of rape. Not a huge part of the story, and it does not happen on the page at all, but it should've either been less of the story or more of the story. I understand why it was in there, and it makes sense, but it was a little too detached.
2) I really wanted to see the actual outcome for one of the characters and I didn't get to, so it felt a bit incomplete. *This* was particularly disappointing to me because I REALLY wanted to see him get his. It was alluded to, and I suppose I can imagine what happened, but I wanted justice to be served on page.
3) The Beth/Mel relationship. I have mixed thoughts about this. On the one hand, it is necessary to demonstrate Melissa's situation/personality/way of thinking. It's important to her character development. However, on the other hand, it should've gone deeper and allowed her character more emotional growth.
Overall, I enjoyed this read...which surprised me because hybristophilia is not a fetish I often enjoy. But I was pleasantly surprised with how this book played out. The characters were real and engaging enough for me to get attached to. It balanced nicely between hope and despair, and of course, the HEA (well, an HEA for the non-victims) happened—which is a must. It was written well, the story was interesting, and paced just right. I give it a solid four lips out of five. In order for me to give it that last set of lips, it would have to have a few more sex scenes, and addressed the three points that "didn't work" listed above.
However, I would recommend this book to readers who do not mind the explicit content and I look forward to other books by this author.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Audrey Rush grew up on the West Coast, but currently lives in the South, where she raises her daughter and snuggles her husband. She writes erotic dark fiction during nap time.
FOR MORE ABOUT AUDREY RUSH & HER DARK ROMANCES CLICK HERE
I received an advanced review copy for free, and leave this review voluntarily.