Series Review: Monster In His Eyes by J.M. Darhower

Collage by the supremely talented
Wench Olga
I've told you about my love of, my fascination with anti-heroes. A good number of my favorite anti-heroes are paranormal in nature, but I do love a good human anti-hero as well, and what could be better for creating an anti-hero than living in the mafia? Mob tales have fascinated me since I discovered The Godfather movies and then read the utterly amazing, way-better-than-the-movie book. I've also been working my way through the Dark Romance genre since last year, and Goodreads likes to enable my addictions so it recommended that I check out Monster In His Eyes by J.M. Darhower. My reading list had been languishing and the book sounded interesting, so I decided to take a chance. And this is one time that I'm so glad I tried something untested, because I devoured that book in twenty-four hours, then went on to read the other two in the trilogy, all within a work week!

Come with me through the jump and I'll tell you why this series so thoroughly captivated me, and why you should give it a chance, too!

I like your structure, madam!
There's so much to love about this series, starting with the basic set-up of the three books: the first book is told from Karissa's point-of-view, the second from Naz's, and the third alternates between the two. I love this creative choice because Karissa (and we) needed to be in the dark about some things, needed to be surprised about the threads that connect Naz and Karissa in the first installment. In the second installment it was wonderful to be in Naz's head, to know exactly how he felt about Karissa and about his place in his world. Naz freely tells Karissa that he loves her in the first book, but we know from Fever that words are easy, so Naz's POV was crucial. As Wench Olga said, "Anyone can say I love you and I'd give up the plank to save you yadda yadda. But he's no bullshitter I can tell you that." Then in the third book I loved switching between the two POVs, getting details about one that the other doesn't know yet.

Okay, not my usual, but I'm on board. 
And speaking of Naz's love for Karissa, their saga, their relationship features one thing that I generally hate in a romance--a young female and a much older male. Karissa is 18 when they meet and turns 19, while Naz is 38. He's literally twice her age. It's a personal ick-factor and I understand that it doesn't bother other people. But I am still amazed that it didn't really bother me in this series. There a moments when I remember the age difference, but because of Karissa's unusual upbringing she's wise beyond her years and much more mature than your typical 19-year-old. I actually really liked her, and think she was a perfect fit for Naz. Imagine that!

I also loved that the unfolding events of the story surprised me time and again. In addition to a really beautiful love story, the trilogy also features plots about mob hits, betrayal, hostile takeovers, new kids in town, and how one's choices can affect so many people. Ms. Darhower didn't shy away from the tough stuff in this story, and she didn't hesitate to delve into the darkest depths of humanity. The world can be beautiful, but it's also full of darkness, pain, sadness, and the need to make awful choices, and the Monster In His Eyes series boldly views both the beauty and the pain. 

So glad I took a chance!
Monster In His Eyes checked all of my boxes and then some. A wonderful love, a fascinating story full of ups and downs that kept me riveted, delightful side characters, both good guys and bad, plot points that kept me guessing and characters I couldn't quite figure out, and a mafia theme tying it all together. All blended together this made for a series that I devoured in less than a week, kept me reading into wee hours and sneaking chapters at work. I would highly recommend this series whether it's your first mafia story or whether you're already a fan of the theme. Monster in His Eyes is an outstanding addition to the field.

Wench Rating:


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