Review: The Slayer

The Slayer (Untamed Hearts, #2)@Kele_Moon
The Slayer by Kele Moon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Romance Review

Latino gangster thugs and Italian mafia are appealing sexy when Ms. Moon writes about them. Full disclosure, I loathe gangster romances and mafia characters are not that far behind. For some reason, Ms. Moon makes these work. Is she perhaps romanticizing them a bit? I'm sure she is. What she's doing is showing how at the heart of it, gangs and mafia thrive and arise because of needs which are not fulfilled. What are these needs? The need to belong, the need to be protected, the need for a family. Ms. Moon highlights the good parts of what organized crime could be and still showcases how deadly and illegal it can be.

The second in this series focuses on Chuito "The Slayer". Whilst reading the first book can help, this one can be read as a standalone. The first couple chapters of this book were a complete turn off for me. Chuito came across annoying with his constant protests of protecting Alaine, a woman he's not good enough for. At one point, I just wanted to scream, "Get over yourself. She wants you. Deal with it and quit being a pussy." Fortunately, the story immediately jumps into how Chuito comes to redneck-ville surrounded by a bunch of hicks. This slow five-year dance between Chuito and Alaine is fabulous. I really got into it and loved it. Ms. Moon does an excellent job of creating a love story which spans five years into one book.

Alaine is the proverbial good girl. She's a pastor's daughter. Chuito is a Puerto Rican thug who's killed many and his tattooed body is evidence of it. Chuito is also a product of his environment. No matter how badly he wants to be out of the criminal life, he can't escape its claws. He fears bringing Alaine down with him and he should. Because when he does, Alaine needs to make a difficult decision. If she breaks, the Italian Mafia will take her out. It is never just one favour. It's never just one job. Once a person is in, they are in for life and Alaine learns this all too late.

The conflict in this story is phenomenal. There are no win-win situations, only lose-lose ones. It's a constant struggle between what a person can live with and what needs to be done. The struggles for Alaine are interesting to me because I have no issues with them. Granted I'm almost twice her age. Perhaps that is why I find the ends justifies the means. It also makes me feel for Chuito who desperately wants to protect Alaine's innocence. He doesn't want her stained with his bloody life and when it does, it nearly breaks him.

Whilst there is violence in here, none of it is shocking. All of it is satisfying for me because it meets my need for vengeance. I'm not sure what that says about me, but I can say it makes this book much more appealing for me. I can connect and understand Chuito. He's a renaissance man in the wrong time. He's loyal, fierce and protective. He can also cook. Honestly, Ms. Moon creates a lovely anti-hero and I am enamoured of him at the end. The secondary characters in this book are so good. I'm looking forward to Nova and Tino's books. They are the kind of bad boys women fall for, because of their charm and elegant, gentlemanly ways.

Another point I really wanted to stress about this book is how well Ms. Moon compares and contracts between two deadly criminal organizations. I loved learning the tidbits of the Puerto Ricans. The Italian Mafia represented by Nova and Tino is fabulous. At heart, the two are so similar. The difference is the outside and how they use their influence. I have to admit whilst I love the rough Puerto Ricans, I'm entranced by the power exuded by the Italians. Given a choice, I'd go Italian all the way.

Lastly, the appendix at the end of this book is fabulous and hilarious. I love the translations and commentaries from the characters. It encourages me to learn to speak Spanish just so I can say all these bad phrases like "Si la tocas te lo juro, por mi madre, te lo juro que te mato!"

Highly recommended to romance readers who love bad boys with hearts of gold.

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