Erryn reviews ‘Blood & Bitcoin: Organized Crime (Criminal Delights Book 4)’ by L.A. Witt. The ebook was published April 26, 2019 and is 377 pages. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo, released on May 2, 2019 and is 11 hrs and 16 mins long. A copy was provided for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I love books where the line between the good guys and the bad guys is blurred.
Chris Emmett has a talent for screwing up and landing on his feet. As a SEAL, he managed to evade bullets and court-martials alike. As an FBI agent, he dodged danger and disciplinary action – right up until he didn’t.
With his career and freedom hanging in the balance, he’ll do whatever it takes to clean the slate…including an off-the-books deep cover solo mission.
The objective: infiltrate the Hive, a complex crime syndicate operating on the dark web, and find out who’s trying to kill Piker, the organization’s enigmatic and strangely alluring modern day mob boss.
The moment he’s pulled into the Hive, Chris enters a world where no one is what they seem, including the man he’s there to protect. Lines blur between moral and wrong, legal and criminal, ally and foe, and, as Piker’s seductive magnetism draws Chris in, straight and queer.
Chris is running out of time to stop a killer. He has dangerous feelings for a dangerous man, and the deeper he moves into the realms of organized crime, the less he knows and the fewer people he can trust.
And that’s before he learns the truth about Piker’s assassin.
Warning: These books are for adult listeners who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.
Over the years, romance heroes have gotten progressively darker. Bikers, cage fighters, damaged alpha billionaires and, finally, members of organized crime. I’ve often wondered when the progression would end but after having read books where the main character has killed people in cold blood and is still a hero, I’ve given up wondering how dark things will get. Criminals deserve their happy endings too…right?
I knew this book was one of L.A. Witt’s Organized Crime books before I picked it up, so I was well-aware of what I was getting into – violence, dubious ethics, and questionable people doing questionable things. Now, I’m able to suspend my disbelief as well as the next reader, but it wasn’t always necessary. Yes, this book is very dark, but there was also something redeemingly satisfying about the story. Yes, there were bad guys. Yes, there were good guys. And, of course, there were the characters who operated in the shadows, relying on the shades of gray to justify their actions, all the while knowing they were skirting the law at best and outright breaking it in some instances.
Do the ends justify the means? It’s a question asked over and over in the book and the answer depended on the circumstances and who was asking it.
In truth, I really liked Chris, the ‘hero’. A former SEAL and disgraced ex-FBI agent, he didn’t have a ton of redeeming qualities – just a desire to see the mission completed, no matter how many rules he had to break to get it done. Put in an untenable situation, he’s forced to make the best of it and try to get out alive. What happens to him once the mission is completed is almost secondary. That recklessness changes when he meets Piker. Piker, an enigmatic CEO of a technology company who is involved in some of those questionable ventures I mentioned earlier. Chris’ job is to keep Piker alive at all costs. He’s dedicated to the mission and once he meets Piker, he falls under the man’s spell.
I loved Piker. A man who doesn’t care what others think and yet has carefully cultivated an image befitting a tech billionaire. A man whose sexual appetites are strong as he devours those around him. He has an odd magnetism and I found I was intrigued. Parts of him are almost effeminate while other elements of his character as definitely very masculine. He confounded me as he did Chris and I liked always being kept on my toes as to what he’d do next. Some parts of his existence were predictable – the legitimate business side. Others were a mystery – the Hive in particular. I’ve heard of the dark web, of course, but I have no real concept of it. And Bitcoin? Totally out of my league. A few friends at work followed it and if they’d bought at a particular time they’d have made money. Fortunately they didn’t because they’d have lost money a few weeks later. The stock market is volatile but at least there are (supposedly) rules. An ethereal currency? Yeah, not so much.
This is a great book. The action was high octane and the sex was off the charts. The ending was also oddly satisfying as the worlds of dark and light crossed leaving those gray shadows I referred to earlier. I was happy and felt my investment in time had been well worth it.
And Michael Ferraiuolo? I don’t think I can say enough good things about his performance. He hit every note accurately and gave Piker the perfect voice. I also appreciated his female voices and it was nice to have some strong female characters to round out the cast of characters. Michael and L.A. make a good pair and I can’t wait to listen to more collaborations. If you like crossing into the dark side, this is the book for you.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
L.A. Witt and her husband have been exiled from Spain and sent to live in Maine because rhymes are fun. She now divides her time between writing, assuring people she is aware that Maine is cold, wondering where to put her next tattoo, and trying to reason with a surly Maine coon. Rumor has it her arch nemesis, Lauren Gallagher, is also somewhere in the wilds of New England, which is why L.A. is also spending a portion of her time training a team of spec ops lobsters.
Authors Ann Gallagher and Lori A. Witt have been asked to assist in lobster training, but they “have books to write” and “need to focus on our careers” and “don’t you think this rivalry has gotten a little out of hand?” They’re probably just helping Lauren raise her army of squirrels trained to ride moose into battle.