Dead White – Billy Balibally
I can only embrace you in my happy memories…
Time to make more happy memories
If The Seas Catch Fire – L.A. Witt
Sergei Andronikov was a child when the Mafia wiped out his family, leaving him with nothing but a hunger for revenge. Years later, through ruthless strategy and tireless patience, he’s a contract killer working for the three families ruling Cape Swan… and he’s nearly in position to bring them all down from the inside.
Domenico “Dom” Maisano is Mafia royalty, a made man… and a hitman. He’s caught up in a violent life he can’t escape, struggling to maintain an image he doesn’t want, and suppressing desires he can’t have.
A chance encounter throws the killers into each other’s paths. Though Dom knows he’s playing a dangerous game, he’s intrigued and keeps coming back. Sergei can’t resist him either—Dom is everything he set out to destroy, but he’s also everything he’s ever ached for in a man.
Then Sergei gets the contract he’s been waiting for—the hit that promises to bring the town’s Mafia to its knees.
But when a capo makes an unexpected move, Sergei must choose between dropping the hammer on the families he vowed to annihilate, and protecting the man he swore he wouldn’t love.
And the wrong choice—or even the right one—will destroy them both.
I picked this up because I specifically wanted to listen to Michael Ferraiuolo. I went in blind and came out awestruck . It was so good!
First of all, I was delighted to discover that the main characters were an assassin and a mafioso. I love stories with these kinds of antiheroes and double the thrill that this is a love story between the two.
Sergei and Dom met in less than ideal circumstances, parted ways then met again because Dom couldn’t stay away. At first it was just for sex then the arrangement became something of an emotional lifeline for the two men desperate to escape a situation where the only time you get out is when you are dead. The book painted a good picture of the struggle Sergei and Dom went through. It was pretty much gutwrenching. It was such a convincing no-way-out scenario that I half expected the ending to be tragic. The only guarantee this ends happily is this being MM.
Sergei saved the day with his resourcefulness and quick thinking. The man is deadly as fuck. Dom was the most reluctant made man there is. He had no choice because his uncle, the don, effectively traumatized him to submission. Dom was also his uncle’s personal hitman. Thing is, he is really just a gentle soul so even though he was bigger than Sergei, he could learn a thing or two about intimidating a target from the smaller man. They were supposed to kill each other but the chemistry between the two hitmen were off the charts. The enemies to lovers aspect was executed really well here.
If The Seas Catch Fire is a book about people with guns so violence and death are a given. It was described as dark, but although there were scenes of torture, I felt it didn’t cross over to the disturbing territory. However, the protagonists make morally gray decisions so if you are not comfortable with these kinds of characters, this might not be the book for you.
Author L.A. Witt impressed me yet again with her story telling. The twist and turns, the gritty atmosphere, the heartbreaking family situations and intense scenes all came together in a powerful emotional rollercoaster that I have come to associate with her angstier books. She makes her characters go through so much shit that I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up dead. How Sergei and Dom pulled it off was pure suspense. It was almost perfect but of course, something had to go tits up and there was a very close call so boy, was I relieved to see them miraculously survive!
I had a great time with this book. It’s a winning combination of good writing and outstanding narration so I recommend experiencing If The Seas Catch Fire in audiobook form.
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
They spoke three languages between them, and there weren’t enough words to convey what they’d take to the grave, what they’d had a chance to taste before fate inevitably closed in.