Road to Ruin by Callie Hart and Jonny James

May 3, 2017 Book Review 0 ★★★★½

Road to Ruin by Callie Hart and Jonny Jamesfour-half-stars
Road to Ruin by Callie Hart, Jonny James
Series: New Orleans Nights #1
Published by Self-published on April 30, 2017
Genres: Suspense
Pages: 138
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Malicious Destruction of Property.
Two counts of breaking and entering.
Two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance.
Four counts of assault.
Three counts of illegal gambling.
Three years served in Orleans Parish Prison.

Tommy ‘Havoc’ Kendrick’s rap sheet reads like a recipe for disaster: one part mayhem to three parts chaos. There’s no arguing the matter; he’s a bad guy, or at least he used to be. For the past five years, Tommy’s been on the straight and narrow, keeping his head down and staying out of trouble. He left the French Quarter behind, along with the New Orleans crime syndicates and underground fights that used to pay his bills. Trading in the high-octane thrill of earning money with his fists to work in an auto mechanic’s was hard, and yet somehow, despite everything, he’s made it work.

Until now.

Tommy hadn’t planned on seeing his brother again. When David Kendrick turns up on his doorstep with a bag full of money and four broken ribs, Tommy finds himself heading back to the place he swore he’d never return. Back to the fights. Back to the drinking, the drugs, and the women.

Back to a life he thought he’d left behind for good.

Nikita Moreau has lived in New Orleans all her life. She learned to drive there, lost her virginity there, bought her first house there, and she’s damned if she isn’t going to die there, too. As a prison psychologist at one of the country’s most dangerous facilities, she runs the risk of dying in the state of Louisiana on a daily basis, and yet she wouldn’t give it up for the world. There’s nothing more satisfying than helping those everyone else has given up on. Nothing more rewarding than fixing something everyone said was broken.

The day she meets Tommy Kendrick, however, she learns a painful lesson: sometimes a person is too broken to be fixed. Sometimes a person is beyond reach and cannot be saved. The tall, dark and handsome, tattoo-covered devil is danger personified. She knows this. She knows he’s bad news. So then why can’t she stop thinking about him? Why can’t she stay away from him?

And, most importantly, why won’t she save herself?

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

I was waiting for a train, headphones in hand to spend the next hour of my journey in my own world of reading and music.  Imagine my delight as I refreshed the kindle app on my phone and saw Road to Ruin appear! From the moment I set my eyes upon the eye opening first line until the last word, I was hooked.

Road to Ruin is dark, dirty and dangerous.  It’s a quick read jam packed with action, the kind that takes place in a dark alley or similar sinister location. The heroines are interesting. One we don’t hear from, but we know what she is doing. The other is a gutsy, not to be messed with straight up and down kind of woman. She does have one moment she walked right into and the outcome was predictable but that was the only time she slipped up IMO.

The main men are dangerous and teetering on the edge of sanity. Scrap that, one has crossed over but there’s an element of doubt lurking in my mind. They have no trouble distancing their minds from the macabre moments they participate in, carrying on as if they are going about a 9-5 job (which I can assure you was far outside the normal business time frame and activities).

She’s complicated. Perhaps more complicated than any other woman I’ve met, but still…I’m Alexander Bastien. I will win her heart without a fucking doubt, and when I do…

The prologue introduced, Alexander and Geraldine heralded the darkness within the story that lay ahead. Their first scene had a medieval ritualistic edge to it that had me reducing the font on my phone in fear someone would inadvertently catch a glance at what I was reading.  Hell’s bells, is all I can say and hope to goodness this only ever occurs in fiction! The mind boggles, I read dark books and I don’t recall ever coming across this particular situation before…or maybe I have compartmentalised it for my peace of mind!  I got it but at the same time I thought it was overkill and definitely an indication of the Alex’s twisted sense of the need to prove his point.

My concern was still with Genevieve, the woman we met in the prologue, when the story shines the spotlight on Nikita, a counsellor at the local prison. It wasn’t long before I embraced Nikita and the new direction of the story. The action and suspense still prevalent, only now the driving force was a lot easier to process than the introduction.

Nikita is my kind of heroine. She’s her own woman, unpredictable, suffers a little from not thinking first, but she gets the job done. Working in a tough, male dominated world, she becomes a champion for the downtrodden criminals she encounters. It is through her caring and support for one particular inmate that brings her into contact with Tommy.

I lived off it, fueled by the idea that I was a god amongst mere mortals.

Initially, there are two dark stories emerging, running parallel until a dramatic scene brings them together. It was as if the gods were at war, a cold war that was about men who refused to bow to the other.

There’s a lot happening in this concise first part of the duet. A page turner that had me devouring the story quicker than I believe it was intended to be read. Before I began to write this review, I contemplated reading it again, this time slower but I opted for harnessing the raw emotions I couldn’t ignore.

For readers who have enjoyed Callie’s other dark stories, you won’t be disappointed in this book. It is an entirely different story, but it had the same combination of strong women and dangerous men. Road and Ruin reminded me of Deviant except with more focus on the dark side of revenge than the romance f#cking. Yep, can’t call it anything else, but let me tell you the participants take it seriously. Disturbingly so, and this is certainly not a book for the faint of heart.

Road to Ruin is the first part of a Duet and in true Callie Hart style she leaves you desperate for more. It was more a WTF will they do next ending. No one is hanging by a thread but there are choices with limited options left to consider. Limited as in do as I say or pay the price kind of options. It’s here that I notice I hadn’t mentioned this book is written by not only Callie Hart, but Jonny James as well, which is a testament to the way the two authors presented this story!

4.5 Dark Suspenseful Stars

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