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Twisted Truths by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Contemporary Romance/ Mystery/Crime/ Netgalley/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense/ Speculative Fiction 12th October 2017
Twisted Truths by Rebecca ZanettiTwisted Truths by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Blood Brothers #3
Published by Forever on November 14th 2017
Pages: 432
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three-stars

You can't escape the past . . .

Noni is desperate. Her infant niece has been kidnapped, and the only person who can save her is a private detective with too many secrets to count--and more enemies than he can name. A man who walked away from Noni without any warning a year ago, a man who broke her heart. But with Talia's life on the line, Noni needs his help now more than ever--and this time, she won't take no for an answer . . .

The moment Denver Jones sees Noni, the memories come rushing back. The fire in her eyes. The determination in her voice. The danger of having her in his life. Denver had to push her away once, but now with vicious criminals threatening Noni and her niece, he'll do whatever it takes to protect them. But enemies from his past are circling, and they'll use anything--and anyone--to get to Denver.

It’s through the ‘inheritance’ of a friend’s baby that Noni Yuka gets tangled up in a gang’s trafficking activities while doing an online search for him—and trumpeting his presence when all Denver Jones wants is to lie low. It’s also the reason that he’d cut their affair short and found solace in a bottle, though Noni’s explosive return to his life thrusts him and his brothers into greater danger.

2 storylines converge in ’Twisted Truths’—which accounts for the length of the book—and without prior knowledge of the previous books in the series (as well as maybe the series before this) this might be a little hard to follow despite the brief recaps that Rebecca Zanetti does here and there. In short, the crazy brand of villainy that has been stalking the Dean brothers and now the Jones brothers come to a head here as the evil pair of Madison and Cobb pit themselves against Denver and by extension, the rest of the Jones boys.

As difficult as it might be to read as a standalone, ‘Twisted Truths’ is nonetheless full of action, some sexy times, some bizzare twists and turns (along with some TSTL moments from Noni), and sort of held together by a villain so overblown that an evil, giggling cartoon character might as well populate the pages. This closure however, is long time in coming and Zanetti does it by highlighting the bonds between brothers who may or may not be blood-related—who also jump in with seemingly unlimited resources to save the day.

three-stars

Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Contemporary Romance/ Mystery/Crime/ Netgalley/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense 12th April 2017
Lethal Lies by Rebecca ZanettiLethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Blood Brothers #2
Published by Forever on May 16th 2017
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three-stars

A deadly secret can't stay buried forever . . . Revenge. It's the only thing that will help Anya Best sleep at night. The serial killer who murdered her sister is on the loose, and Anya will stop at nothing to put him behind bars-even use herself as bait to lure him out of hiding. But she can't do this alone.
Private investigator Heath Jones's job is to bring bastards to justice. This time it's personal. He knew the Copper Killer's latest victim so when her sister asks for his help, he's all in. But when Anya uses the media to taunt the killer, she exposes Heath's identity, putting them both in jeopardy. Now, secrets buried long ago are coming to light and the forces determined to destroy him are watching Heath's every move, waiting to exact their own revenge. And they'll use anything and anyone to get to Heath.

‘Lethal Lies’, like ‘Deadly Silence’, is a spin-off from the Sin-Brothers series, with some paranormal bits hinted at, though it takes more of a back seat as Rebecca Zanetti focuses instead on the suspense. In here, Heath Jones fights for his own happy ending with Anya Best after the Copper Killer puts her in his sights and kills her sister as collateral damage. Revenge and grief push Anya into setting herself up as bait for him, inadvertently involving Heath in this crazy plan as her fake fiancé. But Heath’s weakness is playing the protector when he sees women abused or chased down and soon enough, finds himself in an untenable position where his foes finally know where he and his brothers are hiding out.

With the opening scenes arranged in an order that wasn’t entirely linear (with some flashbacks written into them), I felt as though I was thrust into a middle of a situation without a grounding context and spent quite a while bewildered, like an outsider who couldn’t quite make sense of what was going on until partway through. Is this book good as a standalone? If Heath and Anya had a history, what exactly is it? What is Anya’s murdered sister connection with the brothers?

It was only after the facts settled that it became somewhat clearer. Anya’s gauntlet, thrown down so impulsively, isn’t something that allows any secrets to be kept…and Heath and his merry band of brothers have a huge one that is compromised by her very public, naive trap-setting actions. Like the Sin-Brothers, there’s are foes out for Heath and the layers that help shield their business are all geared towards keeping them out of the public gaze which Anya has blown wide open. That bit intrigued me as it did in Zanetti’s previous series: the compound of elite, trained soldiers, genetically-modified and controlled by an evil doctor, though it isn’t emphasised at all here.

As far as suspense goes, ‘Lethal Lies’ was surprisingly slow-paced as we follow the story of how Anya and Heath get on drawing the killer out, with some steamy scenes thrown in as they give in to their mutual attraction. 50% into the book however, Heath/Anya are still on track (or rather, undercover) to become bait for the killer whose sights are on the latter, with several meetings with his brothers and an ex that refuses to go away as they spend too much time deciding if what lies between them is real or fake, in a to-and-fro that got frustrating. Several territory tussles between the brother and the FBI ensue, all of which seemed like red-herring fillers to bring the page count up but didn’t seem to add much to the developing action. I couldn’t quite decide if Anya’s insistence on her continued involvement was gullible or admirable though it was balanced at times by shots of maturity that didn’t deviate from her determination to avenge her sister. Heath on the other hand, was hard to unravel, apart from his inability to leave women in distress.

It did get better though, in the last 50 pages or so, when we’re finally set on the straight and narrow to getting the Copper Killer to appear. But his identity isn’t that much of a surprise and is more connected to the Sin-Brothers history than it is to Anya.

I’m left somewhat mixed on ‘Lethal Lies’, frankly. Yet there’s enough of their unresolved background and a foe still waiting in the wings that presumably, will lead to a showdown in the next book, which will probably keep me reading to the end.

three-stars

Deadly Silence by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted in Action/Adventure/ Contemporary Romance/ Magic/Paranormal/ Mystery/Crime/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense/ Speculative Fiction/ Urban Fantasy 31st October 2016
Deadly Silence by Rebecca ZanettiDeadly Silence by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Blood Brothers #1
Published by Forever on October 4th 2016
Pages: 400
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two-stars

Under siege. That's how Ryker Jones feels. The Lost Bastards Investigative Agency he opened up with his blood brothers has lost a client in a brutal way. The past he can't outrun is resurfacing, threatening to drag him down in the undertow. And the beautiful woman he's been trying to keep at arm's length is in danger...and he'll destroy anything and anyone to keep her safe.
Paralegal Zara Remington is in over her head. She's making risky moves at work by day and indulging in an affair with a darkly dangerous PI by night. There's a lot Ryker isn't telling her and the more she uncovers, the less she wants to know. But when all hell breaks loose, Ryker may be the only one to save her. If his past doesn't catch up to them first...

Having read Zanetti’s Sin Brothers series, the transition to this is seamless, only because the plot is familiar in ways that echoes in the other books. There are groups of boys experimented on; they develop special abilities, some more than others and they’re scattered throughout the country, all of them in some sort of confusion and doubt about this traumatic past. ‘Deadly Silence’ isn’t military-focused nor is it very strong on the paranormal side, but there are many things going on—seemingly unrelated events that fill in the gaps of a boys-home childhood and a growing ‘romance’ that starts past the casual relationship that Ryker and Zara have gotten going when the book begins.

But familiarity breeds contempt as well; I think what bothered me is the rinse-and-repeat feel of the story: a pairing of a dominant (who should belong in a BDSM club) whose crazy personality overwhelms a woman trying to be strong and independent, a blood-forged relationship with other men and an ongoing plot to uncover just what had been done to them years earlier.

I liked Zara well enough, thought her brave, compassionate and strong enough considering the kind of macho males we’re dealing with. The neanderthal male ‘hero’—if that is really the word to use here—however, bothered me the most: possessive to the point of being controlling and demanding, always at the edge of losing his temper and control, asking for Zara’s complete trust and disclosure when he wouldn’t offer up his own past and secrets, then uses sex to get her to capitulate and manipulate when she refuses. Surely there has to be a limit to the definition of ‘protective tendencies’? I was horrified by this behaviour even in fiction—in real life, this would be reported to the police for stalkerish behaviour (with a restraining order in place) and it’d be a relationship I’d be in a hurry to be rid of.

What kind of man says and does these things to a woman? I think it’s one from whom she should get far away as possible.

Yet I read on, engaged by the plot and sub-plots more than I could stomach Ryker, going through the ill-timed sex scenes that put the suspense down a notch because Ryker needed yet again to convince Zara with a heavy hand on her bits that she needed him for protection, as though good sex is the cure-all. The ending got somewhat insane, with the bad guys shaping out to be caricatures with very little shades of grey in between and still not getting caught.

So the saga lives on, only because the bad guys can’t seem to die and will continue to pose a threat throughout the series.

I’m not quite giving up, but I’ll tread with caution, because Zanetti and her writing can do so much better.

two-stars
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