Learn more about S.T. Abby, and order her books here: https://www.amazon.com/S.T.-Abby/e/B01N2YXWZG/
This isn’t one of my typical blog posts. It’s been awhile since I’ve highlighted an author here, and never one I didn’t personally invite and interview. Then again, this isn’t your typical book review, or for that matter, your typical romance trope. The author doesn’t know me, and I don’t know her. This is me organically fangirling the crap out of her, and doing what every author dreams a reader would do: spreading my book love by “word of mouth” for the world to hear. Unprompted. I don’t leave reviews for every book I read, or it would be another full-time job, and I already have two. But for those books that blow me away, I make sure to leave a review. This series gets a whole blog post.
I never thought I’d side with a serial killer in a romance novel. Yup, you heard that right. The heroine is a kickass woman, who also happens to be a serial killer. Our hero, and the man she falls in love with? He’s an FBI profiler.
Before I dive in, a little about me to get a full appreciation for this review. I’ve been an avid reader my whole life, and have read thousands of books…literally. Being on food stamps when your neighbors have no idea that your parents are one paycheck away from losing the house pretty much sucks. It also removes any paid entertainment off the list of things to do for a kid growing up. A library card was my ticket to freedom. The first romance I ever read was Sidney Sheldon’s The Other Side of Midnight when I was twelve. I read it on a hammock in aunt’s basement that summer. My mother never censored the books I read, so I checked out whatever I wanted from classics to trash and everything in between. Some of my popular favorites by the time I got into high school and college were Patricia Cornwell (her Kay Scarpetta series), Stephen King (The Stand is one of my all time favs!), Dean Koontz (Lightning, another fav), Danielle Steele, Jackie Collins, and even Frank Herbert to name a bare few. I read the entire Dune series my senior year of college during finals and then into the summer after graduation. You could say I have eclectic tastes in books.
So, I picked up the Mindf*uck Series on a recommendation from an author friend who did a beta read of my latest contemporary romance manuscript. Yeah, full disclosure: Not only am I an avid reader, I’m a published romance author in both paranormal & contemporary. Anyway, my friend recommended the series as a study in how to weave in flashbacks and reveal relevant history. In addition to that, I have a new series (in a new genre) that I outlined a year ago with a love triangle involving a serial killer (launch end of 2018 if I’m lucky.) So you could say I went in a little curious, but I wasn’t prepared to be blown away.
The MF series is a five-novella serial. One story told in five acts. Each ends on a cliffhanger, but the price and the immediate availability of all five books doesn’t make that a problem. This is a ROMANCE novel that’s like a love child mashup of Colleen Hoover (Love her!) and Patricia Cornwell with the tables flipped. Our heroine is the monster, and the execution of the storyline to make us root for her is nothing short of brilliant.
If you have any triggers that involve rape or graphic violence, this is NOT the series for you. She states that right in the product description, so don't give her a 1 or 2 star review because you made the mistake of buying it anyway or without even wondering about the obvious covers. Just saying, people, read responsibly. Rant done. As the author quotes in the beginning, “I know this sh*t is f*ucked up, so don’t bother writing to tell me I’m twisted in the head. ;)” She follows that with, “This is for the ones who lost their voice…for the ones who wish they could be Lana Myers.” That quote alone epitomizes the brilliance captured within the pages.
As I mentioned this isn’t my usual fare, but it was so skillfully executed, as an author, I’m in awe. The characters and relationships are deeply honed, a passionate romance to die for (and some do), a moral compass that is skewed but horrifyingly justified, and tightly crafted narrative and plot that had me devouring all five parts of this serial and forgoing sleep—something I haven’t done since college, and that was a long time ago. Just sayin’. I read it in a few days while working full-time, editing a book, preparing a book launch, reading a second book, and listening to J.R. Ward’s latest, The Chosen, during my commute back and forth to work. So you get it, I’m busy, but I still read this whole freaking series in the waking hours in between.
So, the series…Here’s the description for the first book:
They took too much.
Left too little.
I had nothing to lose…until him.
I didn't expect him.
I didn't want to fall in love.
But I can't let him go.
Logan Bennett makes the world a safer place.
He's a hero.
He locks away the sick and depraved.
But while he's saving lives, I'm taking them. Collecting the debts that are owed to me.
Ten years ago, they took from me. They left me for dead.
They should have made sure I stayed dead.
Now I'm taking from them.
One name at a time.
I've trained for too long.
I've been patient.
I can't stop now.
Revenge is best served cold…
They never see me coming, until I paint their walls red.
Logan doesn't know how they hurt me. He doesn't know about the screams they ignored. He doesn't know how twisted that town really is.
He just knows people are dying.
He doesn't know he's in love with their killer.
No one suspects a dead girl.
And Logan doesn't suspect the girl in his bed.
They're looking for a monster.
Not a girl who loves red.
Not a girl in love.
I'm a faceless nightmare.
At least until I tell them the story they've pretended never happened.
But in the end, will Logan choose them? Or will we watch them burn together?
SSA Logan Bennett, our sexy, delicious and capable profiler is Lara Myer’s perfect match. They both understand serial killers, and despite what drives Lana’s revenge killings she doesn’t cleanly fit the profile. She’s got the loving support of a partner, who’s like a brother and lost almost as much as she has. Together, they out-monster the monsters, and live within a moral code that includes not killing innocents. Lana has been through hell and back, and she kills and tortures without mercy. But all her victims are those who have done the unspeakable, losing their innocence long ago. Watching this story unfold is an addictive thrill ride that will have you questioning the definition of justice and compromising your definitions of right and wrong. Watching an entire FBI profiling team get compromised as the story unfolds adds to the intrigue. Hadley, Leonard, and Jake are all excellent secondary characters that add texture to the story. Nothing is black and white, and this story shows that there is every shade of gray when it comes to evil. Underneath it all, the driving and compelling power of love and family. Lana is smart, strong, and the product of what they made her: an avenging angel who likes to get “stabby,” and who won’t stop until their debt is paid.
For those slow on the uptake: stabby = S.T. Abby. Had to chuckle at the pen name.
We need more books with heroines (not necessarily serial killers) of this quality. There are many awesome books on the market from both high profile traditional and indie authors, but this one puts even an impressive chunk of those to shame. Missing are the flaws in this series that I find so often in even the best of the best. If anything, this series deserves to go viral. Traded a precious afternoon of editing to write this post as I work past my book hangover.
My Rating: Screw five stars. This book deserves six mindf*ucking knives. TOP PICK, 2017
Stab on, S.T. Abby. You have a new fan.