This was aaaaaamazing! The build-up, the tension, the difference between their characters, the world building, the darkness . . . All of it. Brilliant!
This is a Mafia meet Detective novel, and I'm looooooving it. I get the mystery of the whodunnit (which is genuinely surprising) with the darkness of the shoot-first-ask-questions-later atmosphere. This is a match made in heaven. And I am here for the entire thing. I didn't read the rest of the series, just jumped straight in with this, and I wasn't confused. There was a little bit of information dumping to get you up to speed in places, but that was to be expected. Overall, this plot was perfectly balanced between romance, action, world building, character development, and downtime.
Characters and Romance
*Squeal* The romance was amaaaaaaaaazing. So much tension from genuine characters that have genuine issues with progressing into a serious relationship with the other person. There was a lovely mixture between friendship, banter, steam, and love that I enjoyed. Both characters were super well developed, with good backgrounds, detailed personalities, and they felt real. For once, I found decent character development in a romance novel. (It's genuinely hard to find sometimes.) The sex was good. I tend to have a problem with sex scenes that start off shown and then trail off into just a paragraph at the end; they always feel rushed to me. Like, finish what you started. This does not have that problem. It's hot and steamy until the end with a decent amount of dialogue and action throughout, so it doesn't rely of telling.
Since I didn't read the first two books in the series, I didn't get the full force of the world building in this, but what I did get took me by surprise. A lot of the time in mafia romances, you don't really get to see how the mafia works or how a lot of the illegal stuff happens. But you do in this. Which was a lovely surprise. I enjoyed the immersed feeling you get because of the plot. They're on the run and often hide out together, and both the psych detective and the mafia guy have their own skills that help the world really feel real and alive.
Okay, so this is where it loses a star for me. There are quite a few errors and the formatting is terrible. Personally, I look past errors to enjoy a good story, but I know some people don't or can't, so it's totally up to you. If you can, I recommend doing so. (I don't take off more than one star for bad writing).