Shooting ScarsShooting Scars by Karina Halle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dude, where do I begin? This book was a ride and a trip all rolled into one, with a side order of OMG and WTF.

If there’s one thing I will say, this book kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end, but Ellie, Javier, and Camden all made me want to use my harisen on them at least once during the course of the novel. I like following these characters, though they’re epically flawed. I think the flaws came out especially in this novel, with all three main characters facing off against their demons and not coming out without scratches.

Picking up where “Sins and Needles” left off, “Shooting Scars” starts with Ellie back in Javier’s contentious company. Short version: the man is crazy and quite different from the person Ellie knew six years before. More or less, like Ellie, he’s taken a turn towards his darker side, quite possibly gone over the edge. Camden, while devastated by Ellie’s abrupt departure, tries to take care of his ex-wife and child. He discovers some rather contentious events before setting off on a journey to take Ellie out of harm’s way. Cam ends up teaming up with Ellie’s old friend Gus to do it, and the two ultimately end up dodging all kinds of hostile company in the process.

Javier reveals to Ellie that he has plans for her – to kill Travis. It’s an opportunity that Ellie’s wanted for quite some time, but she’s not certain whether she wants to take it. At the same time, she finds herself rekindling some of the time lost with Javier, though the man is dangerous (understatement). I don’t know how I felt about this because Javier – while I liked his contextual relationship in “On Every Street” with Ellie, he’s obviously this odd division of controlling mastermind and wounded shell of a beast who seems to tame every once in a while under Ellie’s presence. He was always this way, true, but it’s definitely more evident in this novel.

The novel’s written in dual perspectives, so I got a glance at Cam’s character for the first time in his POV. I thought the dual POV worked fine for distinguishing the character, and there were times when I was more invested in what Cam was doing (especially when he was with Gus, who I mentally cast as Hector Elizondo for some reason) than with Ellie. Still, that didn’t mean that he had some major flaws – and there were times when I wanted to throw the book at him.

The novel moves rather dynamically with the rolling action – I can’t complain that the dual perspective points slowed the narrative down at all, though I think the love/hate relationship with the characters is more in full thrum here than in the previous novel. But the tension stays high, and I loved it for that. By the end of this novel, intentions are revealed and Ellie, Javier, and Camden are all in the same boat whether they may like it or not. It’s going to be interesting to see how “Bold Tricks” concludes the series, and I’m willing to jump along for the ride.

Overall score: 3.5/5 stars

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Forever.

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