Dana reviews Shades by Jaime Reese (Published by Romandeavor, Inc. May 20, 2018. 344 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Life made him dangerous. Love made him lethal.
Killian Marks is a third-generation hitman. After hunting monsters for over twenty years, he lives under no illusions of happily ever afters and fairy tales. Until he meets a man who threatens to disarm him, by giving him hope for a future and showing him there’s more to life than just death.
For Nick, living in shadows is second nature. He’s all too familiar with the dark side of humanity and knows how delicate life can be. Each new day is a gift, even though it means doing it alone. But he’ll risk his survival for the one man who awakens something deep within and leaves him yearning for more.
Nick wants to solve the mystery behind the dark, brooding man, while Killian craves the life and light emanating from Nick. They soon discover they have more in common than either could have anticipated. With both their lives and hearts at stake, they must confront the ghost from Nick’s past intent on tying up a loose end. Only then will they truly find peace, and discover the shades of life in between.
Shades is a stand-alone novel, gritty in parts and romantic in others. There’s an assassin with a moral code, a snarky sidekick, a hint of suspense, a bit of violence…and a few surprises. Behind it all, there’s a love story that will thaw a killer’s heart.
I was lucky enough to review this author’s The Men of Halfway House series and when I saw the release of ‘Shades’ and its very different (or is it?) premise I wanted to read and review it, too. The book is a little bit darker than the series I mentioned and Killian is definitely more of an antihero than any of the main characters in the author’s other books. Still though, there is a small similarity that comes with falling for someone and wanting to be a better person; wanting to be deserving of love. And I suppose that isn’t just a similarity in the different books, but it is true for most people in life.
I’m going to start with Killian. This story is a romance between a hitman and a “regular” guy with a not so regular past. Killian is a very dynamic character. He is dilligent with the details and he seems cold and hard when he is working. He is pretty closed off, but I suppose that is normal for someone who makes his living taking contracts on others lives. He does have a certain moral code – not to harm women or children, and to only kill “bad guys.” We’re talking about those who deal in human trafficking and other sorts of horrid business. He thinks he sees the world in black and white until he meets Nick, who shows him different shades and colors, but after learning about some of Killian’s charitable actions I think he was selling himself short.
Nick appears at first to be very normal. He works at a restaurant that Killian goes to, but it becomes apparent that he is hiding from something. Out of the two men, he is the more relatable character, even as his secret past is revealed. He is more in touch with his emotions. He brings out a different side of Killian. One that is a little bit more distracted and also much more fierce. There is chemistry between them and I can feel that they have feelings for each other, but Killian’s aloofness does make some of their early interaction awkward. I guess that makes it a slow burn romance but when they finally decide to be straightforward with each other I think it is well worth it.
There are a few secrets in this book. Things that get revealed slowly and can’t be reflected on without spoiling the book for others. There is a lot of awesome and even though this book isn’t really set up for follow up books, I would really like to read about these characters again. Killian isn’t a character that I fell in love with but he was compelling and I did want to see him happy, with Nick, who I really liked. There is one last character who is kind of important in the story and it’s the cleaner who worked with Killian. Dex’s job is more dirty than Killian’s, but somehow it doesn’t seem to touch him. He is more jovial and he kind of looks out for Killian, even if Killian doesn’t think he needs to be looked out for. There is something about him that reminds me of Felix in Sense 8. The loyal friend to Wolfgang who isn’t as serious and enjoys life a little bit more. So of course, I worried about him.
I was pulled into this book very quickly and was never bored. I became invested in Killian and Nick and Drew. There was good action and the description was very good. So good, I was able to envision some scenes in a very cinematic fashion. The romance is good but not sweeping or grand. It just felt good to my emotions. I think any fans of the Halfway House series would enjoy this series and anyone who enjoys a good action/thriller book.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Jaime Reese is the alter ego of an artist who loves the creative process of writing, just not about herself. Fiction is far more interesting. She has a weakness for broken, misunderstood heroes and feels everyone deserves a chance at love and life. An avid fan of a happy ending, she believes those endings acquired with a little difficulty are more cherished.
…and yes, it was totally weird reading something about myself in 3rd person 😛