4.5 “Raised to Kill but Healed by Love!” Stars for the story and narration!
Another winner by the author/narrator combo team of A Zavarelli and Tracy Marks. Boy do I love these Irish mafia bad boys and the women who steal their hearts. This is my third book (I listened to them a bit out of order with book 4, first, and then books 1 and 2 in the series), and each one has been unique and yet contains an equally lovable, loyal, and very alpha protective hero. Interestingly, the one point where this book differs from the others is that this heroine is not a tough as nails fighter herself. Instead, we are treated to an Irish mafia romance where the hero comes in to save the damsel in distress–which had an equally satisfying appeal in the end while keeping the story line fresh. Moreover, Ms. Marks’ splendid narration makes this a must listen to title.
This is Ronan’s and Sasha’s story. Ronan was raised to be a killer. At the tender age of 8, he was full-time raised in a training camp for soldiers. The horrors he endured, including incredible amounts of torture and being forced to kill or be killed, have undoubtedly affected him. Today, he is a man who can’t stand to be touched (a factor that his brothers in the Boston Irish mafia understand and protect) and shows no emotion. Additionally, having been raised to take orders, he is a man that needs routine in an almost OCD kind of way. As a result, he is in his late twenties and has never been with a woman–well except for the one that he shared one night with 2 years ago and who he has been watching ever since, even if he hasn’t spoken a word to her.
Sasha is a good, sweet girl even if she has been forced into being a dancer at the Irish mobster’s bar to help make ends meet now that her mother is dying of cancer. She also takes care of her mother, hoping to shield her sister from this burden. Sasha is fascinated by Ronan: the man who thinks he clandestinely watches her and the man who saved her life and whom she shares a big secret with. But due to that same secret she is also a victim to another brutal man, one who makes her do things for him that she wishes she could wash away.
Once Ronan figures out that Sasha is being hurt, he does the thing he has been programmed to do: destroy. But what will become of her then? Sasha is determined to get away from the mafia life (a plan that the leader of the Irish mob has green lighted), and Ronan is incapable of feeling or being touched and hasn’t talked to her in 2 years. With all these impediments in the way, could there possibly be a HEA for this couple?
Tracy Marks delivers another stunning narration in Reaper. I love how Ms. Marks is able to create authentic Boston, Irish, and Russian accents which really lend credibility and help bring this story to life. Ms. Marks is also equally talented in delivering male voices as she is in the female ones. Moreover, she ensures that each is distinguishable from any other, so that the listener can easily tell who is talking just from her voice.
Ms. Marks also has a great handle on the pacing of the scenes–matching her tone and speed to the mood being enacted. This made it very easy to just sit back ad enjoy the Ronan’s and Sasha’s story while at the same time feeling the emotions playing out in the particular scene.
All in all, the Boston Underworld Series is one not to be missed by mafia romance lovers. Each of the three books I’ve listened to so far have been enjoyable, intriguing, and filled with heat and a genuine connection between the characters. Now I can’t wait to finish this series by listening to the last book I have yet to listen to: Ghost (Alexei and Talia’s story!).
Source: Review copy provided for review purposes.