Michelle Heard’s Hunted by a Shadow is her third installment in her Mafia Kings series. It’s a stand alone dark Mafia romance, and boy, is it dark. I’m writing this review as I watch the Super Bowl in overtime. I’ve kinda gotten bored with the game – I mean, I was only watching for the commercials and celebrity sightings, particularly everyone’s favorite football couple. No, not Taylor and Travis. I’m talking about the Kuches*. They are freaking adorable, and I kinda need that in my life after reading this VERY DARK romance.
Hunted by a Shadow starts with a tragedy and then spends 60% of the book trying to come back from that. As it opens, Renzo is letting his family-by-choice little brother Giulio know that he is going to train him to succeed him as the leader of the Torrisi crime family, one of the five leading families of the Cosa Nostra. Skylar is a top chef who is in the hospital dying from kidney failure after hers were severely impacted during a catastrophic automobile accident that killed her mom. Her father is panicking and having hushed conversations with her doctor in the hallway.
Can you guess where this is going? The doctor comes to the father and offers to broker the purchase of a kidney on the black market. Skylar has no idea this is happening. Giulio doesn’t come home after a night out going clubbing. Renzo gets a nightmare of a phone call. His men have found Giulio’s body cut open and missing several organs. Skylar gets rushed to an OR for a sudden kidney transplant.
It doesn’t take Renzo and his connections long to figure out what happened to the kidney. He is feral in his anger and goes to extremes in his quest for revenge. He stalks Skylar then takes her hostage, vowing that he will not rest until he is able to bury Giulio’s kidney with him. He makes it clear to Skylar’s dad that if he goes to the police, terrible, terrible things will happen to everyone he loves.
By this point you’re asking, “Katie, how can this possibly be a romance?” You can be excused for asking this. We’ve spent the first 60% of the book on a quest for revenge with a lot of killing (on and off page) and torture happening. ZERO THUNDERSEX so far. Or romance of any kind, really, although there is somewhat of a softening toward Skylar as Renzo realizes she’s a kind person who had no idea where her life-saving kidney came from.
Don’t worry. It happens. It just takes a while to get there. It’s not Marian Zapata-ish or anything. It raises some interesting questions – how far would you go to save someone you love? How far would you go to avenge them if something terrible happens? Are you able to forgive someone for something terrible?
It’s fine. I was kind of surprised by the amount of time that it took us to get to the fun parts. The trigger warnings are for real. Amazon shows it as 4.4 stars. I think that is crazy high for this book. I’m more like 3.25. It’s fine. I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t make me want to go read the other books in the series or other works by this author.
3.25 of 5 stars.
*Just in case you need a little happy in your life, The Kuches:
there was actually a full baby in my stomach… like how did this fit in there?