Ruthless by Lexi Blake

Ruthless by Lexi BlakeRuthless by Lexi Blake
Series: Lawless #1
Published by Berkley on August 9th 2016
Pages: 352
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The Lawless siblings are bound by vengeance. Riley, Drew, Brandon, and Mia believe the CEO of StratCast orchestrated their parents’ murder twenty years ago to steal their father’s software program. And there’s only one way Riley can find some solid evidence...   Heir to the StratCast legacy, Ellie Stratton hires a new attorney to handle a delicate business matter—and she’s shocked by her attraction to him. Over the course of a few weeks, Riley becomes her lover, her friend, her everything. But when her life is threatened, Ellie discovers that Riley is more obsessed with settling an old score than in the love she thought they were building. And Riley must choose between a revenge he’s prepared for all his life and the woman he’s sure he can’t live without...

‘Ruthless’s’ summary was a delicious draw for me and I jumped in, itching for a good revenge plot that should at some point in time, turn sour. The set-up was perfect in the prologue – the Lawless siblings, whose namesake seemed fitting for the plot – but I found myself getting more and more confused (and incredulous) as time wore on. The story begins in the midst of a corporate buyout and a legal battle; it soon becomes apparent however, that there are several wars to be won, even when there are people you think are on your side.

I think the biggest problem I had was with the very uneven writing, or rather, the lack of finesse in the execution of the plot: dialogues seemed off (business meetings just didn’t have the appropriate voice and tone – who really mentions breasts and sex in the first so-called professional meet?!), characterisations were wobbly at best and at times one-dimensional, motivations were insufficiently explained and the plot of vengeance and the backstory needed to be a lot tighter. There were some parts where I felt Riley and Ellie behaved more like juveniles than adults. The former prevaricated too much and the latter simply seemed too naive and a pushover where it should really matter, but apparently lust and attraction are enough to change agendas because instant love comes well (there’re pages after all, dedicated to sex here), instantly after someone has an earth-shattering orgasm.

I think this inability to suspend my disbelief here played a huge, huge part in my subsequent ability to go on without questioning everything I read and without my scoffing terribly at some dialogue or scene. In the end, I skimmed lots, only wanting the bits where the deception unravelled and when it all went to pot. If I started out excited about the overarching narrative, this book is making me think again. Yes, there’s the mystery that’s yet unsolved and intriguing leads like Drew and Bran who have yet to fall to their knees in supplication to their women, but well, it’s going to take something special to get my doubts out of the way.