The Faster They Live, the Harder They Fall . . .
Raised by con artists, Ellie Watt has a lot of crazy childhood memories-but none crazier than being scarred with acid by the demented crime boss Travis Raines. Now Ellie is a full-grown woman who lives for revenge, and Travis is a full-blown drug lord who kills for pleasure. The sadistic bastard has kidnapped her good friend Gus as well as her mother, whom he’s been holding as prized possessions in his heavily guarded lair. And Ellie has only one chance in hell of getting them out alive-using two dangerous men who love her to death . . .
One is Camden McQueen, a talented tattoo artist who’s made a permanent mark on Ellie’s heart. The other is Javier Bernal, her fiery ex-lover who’s busted more than a few heads in his time. From the crime-ridden streets of Mexico City to the predatory jungles of Honduras, this unlikely trio forms an uneasy alliance in the deadliest game of all-a gun-blazing battle to the finish that will pit enemy against enemy and lover against lover. And Ellie must choose the right man to trust . . . or die.
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On one side of me was Camden McQueen, on the other was Javier Bernal. One more light than dark, one more dark than light. Both men had loved me. And both of them I had seriously underestimated.
At the conclusion of Shooting Scars Ellie, Camden and Javier all have agendas regarding well known drug lord Travis. Camden and Ellie are on a mission to save Gus, a close friend, and Javier is aching for revenge and a chance to overthrow Travis’s rule. Fraught with secrets and lies, the three must find some way to infiltrate Travis’s compound and retrieve Gus. In doing so, Ellie and Camden must rely on the one person they trust the least and who has double crossed them more times than they can count – Javier.
Not only must Ellie navigate that treacherous task, but she must also find where her heart truly lies. Is it with the kind and caring Camden who can see the light inside of her dark shell? Or is it with Javier, the man who can sense the darkness inside of her, the man who makes her dirty wings take flight?
I feared Javier and what he might do to Camden. I feared Camden and the way he’d changed toward me. I feared myself and the things I might do to try to make sense of it all.
I feel that the central theme we have here aside from all of the action is a literal choice between the good and the bad. Ellie has the proverbial devil and angel on her shoulder. Even though she’s been steeped in a life of lies and misdeeds, do those deeds color her character as a person? Can a person ever be redeemed from a life such as hers?
Camden sees a lot of good in Ellie and he inspires her to be a better person, the person that he thinks she can be. Even after all that she’s done and all that she’s been through, he still thinks that she can make a better choice – or at least he did
Javier, on the other hand, recognizes a darkness inside of Ellie, one that compliments his own. I think he draws upon her insecurity about whether or not that small piece of evil inside of us all really constitutes her whole being. -Sidenote, this inspires me to draw upon the nature vs nurture debate. Would Ellie have made those decisions if she hadn’t been raised in the life? Is one person defined by the mistakes that they make? Can they be rehabilitated? Is love enough? – It doesn’t help that he knows her, that she’s loved him and that he knows exactly what to say to get under her skin to the point where she doubts herself.
That’s what I hated the most about Javier, that there was always a kernel of truth to his words, a truth that made you fall for all the lies.
I loved this battle between good and evil. I believe it was well crafted and Ellie’s transformation throughout the series was phenomenal. Absolutely no one can construct complex characters like Karina Halle. There is something about the way that she writes them that makes them feel completely real to me. Perhaps it’s because she makes them make tough decisions, ones that may not always have a happy ending, puts them in situations that really make them ask themselves who they really are. The answer may not always be the one we want to hear, but it’s reality in fiction.
But when you’re told over and over again about how immoral you are, how bad, how wicked, how unlikable how terrible you are, it’s hard to hear anyone say any different. I felt like a fraud being good just as I felt like a fraud being bad.
Bold Tricks was full of action from start to finish. I literally had no idea how this was going to turn out until the very end. I was biting my nails at every turn. Would they survive each situation? Who was she going to chose? Would they make it out alive? What about Camden’s kid and ex-wife? Gus? OH MY GOD, they’re going to die!
Her ability to describe their surroundings was quite possibly some of the best I’ve seen. I loved all of the locale descriptions, especially Honduras. I LOVE Honduras. The desert, the rain forest, the Mexican slums. All of it. One of those stories where I was 100% present, which actually didn’t happen with the first two books so I feel like I can offer an objective opinion – mine anyways. It took until this book for me to really click with all the characters and fully understand where the whole plot was going. When it finally came together it wasmarvelous. I couldn’t have been happier with the ending.
1 WINNER: iPad mini pre-loaded with all three digital The Artists Trilogy books (SINS & NEEDLES, SHOOTING SCARS, and BOLD TRICKS) and an ON EVERY STREET novella is included!
5 WINNERS: A signed print The Artists Trilogy (SINS & NEEDLES, SHOOTING SCARS, BOLD TRICKS) prize pack.