ARC Review: Ruthless People by JJ McAvoy

★★★★★ 5 stars!

"He was known as the 'Boogeyman of the East,' and I was the unknown 'Wicked Witch of the West.' "
"Every last person we kill is for family. If we do not kill them, they kill us. It’s the way of the world. It is self-defense."
I cannot not give this book 5 stars because it just impressed the heck out of me. Not that I liked every single thing about it, but because the author was really able to stick to what she presented us at the book blurb and the beginning if the story: two ruthless people who have no qualms whatsoever to do what they want to do for what they believe in.

I've read other books wherein one or both main characters are introduced as highly skilled, no-mercy mercenaries. Halfway through the story though, they have a semi-change of heart (usually because of the developing love story) and develop a conscience. I like it when book characters evolve and turn out for the better, but my problem is that the characters often become too soft that it borders on getting "out of character". Hands up to JJ McAvoy for being consistent and staying firm with characters' personality, ethics and morals. Oh, I meant the lack thereof!

This story is not for readers who like it when killers make a complete 180 by the end of the book. There are things that happened here that really made me go, whaaaaaattt, whyyyyyy??? why are you so, so, sooooo bad??

Melody Giovanni and Liam Callahan are full-fledged mafia offspring and leaders. They carry weapons. They bond over live feeds of carnage they cause. They kill without hesitation. It doesn't matter if it's a man, woman or child; if they need to have them gone, they are dispatched. So, for those who are hoping that these two would suddenly step down from their respective turfs and choose a family life complete with the white picket fence, consider yourselves warned.

I guess you could say this is kind of like Sons of Anarchy wherein the main characters are essentially criminals who don't blink twice when shooting a person.. but you can't help but want to know what happens to them next. I certainly want to know what happens in the next book. There is a wonderful and terrifying twist in the end. Terrifying for Melody and Liam, if I may take a guess. Having established that these two are truly two of the most ruthless people I have read, that's saying something!

As for their "love story", it definitely isn't what you'd call romance. They want to kill each other the first time they met. There is an obvious power struggle at the beginning, with the main issue being Melody, a woman, being in-charge of a powerful Mafia group. They come to respect each other's intelligence and guts, though, and that's where their relationship is built around: mutual respect. Melody and Liam recognize each other's power, and they choose to be together as partners and equals. Like I said, not the most romantic of stories. Then again, their brand of romance is not at all common, and it's definitely not all pleasant! Although this did make me relish, as a reader, those few moments when these two would talk and behave like a regular couple. I loved that phone conversation where Liam coaxes Melody with a smoothie, and she couldn't resist the bait. She just had to release her bitchiness before succumbing, of course.

RUTHLESS PEOPLE is for readers who are willing to read a story through the eyes of killers. To see their point of view, and to be exposed to their way of thinking. This isn't sweet or toe-curling. It's the opposite of a "light read". But it is very interesting, and if you are open to all these things, I'm sure you'll want to find out what happens next just as badly as I do!

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My thanks to the publisher for the ARC via NetGalley!



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