Beckett Taylor is a murderer. His calling, his craft are destruction and intimidation—whether he wants it that way now or not. He left Poughkeepsie to keep his brothers safe, to keep Eve safe. Set up with happy lives to live, they’re better off without him, right?
But all his willpower crumbles when he hears his brother Blake’s frantic voice on the phone. An unknown enemy has moved in on his old territory, and Livia’s been taken. In an instant, Beckett knows it will take an attack only he and Eve can execute to bring her back. All his self-imposed embargoes are torn to shreds, perhaps along with the new man he’s struggled to become.
“Brother, call Eve. I’ll be there soon.”
Debra Anastasia is busy, just like every other mom. There’s dinner, the dogs, the two kids, the two kids, and her ongoing battle with…ahem… digestive issues, which combined with her adolescent boy sense of humor makes for colorful and sometimes cringe-worthy social media updates. Her first love and crowning achievement is her thriving career as the weirdest mom on the block.
She’s eternally grateful to Omnific Publishing, which has now published four of her books: two in the Seraphim Series and two in the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood Series, as well as her novella, Late Night with Andres. That one is special because 100% of the proceeds go to breast cancer research. (So go get it right now, please!) She also very much appreciates her open-minded readers, who embrace everything she has to offer, with a focus on anti-heroes and bathroom humor.
Debra lives in Maryland with her family. You can find her at DebraAnastasia.com and on Twitter @Debra_Anastasia. But be prepared.
More than a year ago, it came out that Debra Anastasia was writing a sequel to Poughkeepsie. I put the tentative release date on my calendar and waited. And waited. And now, I have my own site and the privilege of reviewing this book.
Yes, I’ve been a fan for a long time. Don’t ask me how long, because I don’t remember. It goes back to the days when a cardboard piano was making a world tour.
So, this is the second book in the series, and it’s not for the faint of heart. This world is gritty and stark, black, white, blood red and murky gray. There are three brothers who grew up in foster care. Beckett (the lead male in this book) is the leader and provider. He’ll do anything –even go outside the law- to protect the people he loves and ensure that they have everything they need to live successful, safe lives. Blake found his solace in music with Livia, and Cole found his in religious faith and the love of a girl named Kyle. But Beckett has no personal comforts; he’s a Mafioso, a murderer, with his fingers in a dozen illicit pies. And –sad day- he’s in love with a lady assassin who’s not quite sure whether she’d rather love him or kill him.
First, I adore the cover. It’s striking. Just thought I’d get that out of the way!
This book is gripping. The second I got my hands on the ARC, I had to start reading. I stayed up half the night, finished it, set it down, went to bed and when I got up the next day, I picked it up and read it again. The characters are all beautifully developed and the storyline is first rate. If I ever get to sit Debra down and pick her brain (and I will!), I’ll ask her how she researched it. This is a tough universe and obviously, quite foreign to my experience. For one thing, Beckett and Eve can be simultaneously tender and brutal to each other.
“These violent delights have violent ends
As Father Callahan tells Kyle, God does give us more than we can handle. Life is full of trials and how we respond to those trials affects their outcome. That’s actually a comfort, because we all know that nobody’s life is easy. That’s especially true of the characters in this book. They all have difficult circumstances to endure.
Other supporting characters are fascinating. Ryan, for instance. He’s a straight-shooting cop who’s unlucky in love. When his ex, Trish, changed all his phone contacts to highly apropos names from Fifty Shades of Gray, I did cackle. But, wow, is she vindictive. It amazes me that someone could spend that much effort on spite.
It’s good to see Mouse’s memory kept alive in this story. I like it that Livie uses the afghan that he knitted. I LOVE it that Beckett prays to Mouse (calling him his personal saint). I truly liked Mouse and Beckett’s affection and loyalty to him is pleasing.
Beckett and Eve are no fairy tale lovers. The closest comparable couple I can think of is Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Some couples love each other and yet get so frustrated that they might fantasize about beating each others’ head against the wall. Beckett and Eve? Well, they might actually do it. Their dynamic is appalling, and yet their love is so real it leaves an aftertaste.