Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte
G&J: 4 Stars
Gitte: So, K.S. Adkins states at the end of Brutal: “hit me up and let me know if you loved it or hated it.” Well, just so you know, I bloody loved it. Sure there was a lot of wrong with it, but the unique and the interesting outweighed the bad. The hero is unlike any you’ve ever met and you fall in love with his person, the heroine is completely fucked up and the storyline is dramatic and kick arse. I think I highlighted half the book and that is a lot, because believe me this is a long one. Too long and very wordy but like I said, I loved it. The strength of the characters and the story line was immense; the execution questionable, which is such a shame! I know it sounds odd to give a book 4 stars with so much negative but the characters and their story won it for me! The connection between the characters was so intense and strong; completely believable.
‘She’s a loner, just like me; she’s seen the shit side of life. She knows, like I do, if something is too good to be true it probably is.’ – Rogan
We’ve mentioned raw and gritty a lot in reviews, however, many pale in comparison to this one. It was violent and graphic, horrifying and so intense I think I read with my chin on my knees and a bated breath. I must have shouted WTF tons of times throughout this story. It’s not pretty, it’s not clean and it’s not a sweet romantic bed time story. In fact it’s the complete opposite and won’t be for everyone!
This story is about revenge and fighting for justice and those who are unable to fight for themselves. This story is seriously tortured and extremely messy. You agreed didn’t you Jenny?!
Jenny: Absolutely Gitte! If you’re after a sweet doe eyed romance with a hot book boyfriend sporting a rippling six pack and azure blue eyes with a sweet little heroine and a smooth sailing romance….move on because you’re not going to find that in Brutal, but what you will find is a lot more! As you said Gitte, it’s the characters who are the strong point here not the physical aesthetics. This author has given us one of the most unconventional leading men I’ve ever come across and the story felt so unique in many ways. I devoured it and despite some of my misgivings in regards to plot holes and flow, I have to agree with you because I bloody loved it too.
“Some days, I’m lost, and others I just don’t give a fuck….That’s my reality.”
K S Adkins ripped from our living rooms, and plonked us onto the dangerous streets of Detroit and she certainly knew how to make us believe we were there and in the moment.It was as if we were witnessing the story first hand with Rogan and Vanessa and not merely reading it. Hmmm If I ever visit Detroit, I’m gonna make sure I’m packin’…yikes!!! No, this wasn’t a perfectly written story but you’re spot on in saying that what it lacked in execution it more than made up for in grit and determination and this debut novel from K S Adkins certainly delivered on its promise to shock us, entertain us and leave us gasping. It was dramatic, suspenseful, hot and at times downright uncomfortable reading – the author makes no excuses and doesn’t sugar coat her story or characters to which I was grateful. Yes, it needed work but I feel, with her imagination and a little more experience, this debut author will be kicking some major bookworld arse down the track and I’m dying to see where she takes us in book two, Brawler.
Gitte: So, we have the good but scary Detective, Rogan Black.
‘My name is Detective Rogan Black, and I could give a fuck if you asked. I stand up for what’s right. I make the rules, and I follow those rules. I’m crime’s worst nightmare. I make women and children cry, and grown men cower. I’m feared because I’m an asshole…’ – Rogan
Wow, there’s not many hero’s that are so unashamedly written. He’s a self-proclaimed ugly fucker, built like a brick shithouse and lives to clean up the streets of Detroit.
‘I have no family; I was raised in the system. The parents I was born to were hooked on drugs, and did whatever it took to get them, including pawning me.’ – Rogan
This man was so bloody sexy in my eyes, yeah really I don’t care what you say Rogan, I fell in complete lust and love. His soul was beautiful and the passion with which he felt and how he acted was mesmerizing and addictive. He was as hard as they get but his heart was pure. He’s an ultimate intense and protective alpha but it’s perfectly balanced with that vulnerable side of self-doubt and passion.
‘Watching him fight does something to me internally. His fists are like sledgehammers, and he uses them like Thor uses his hammer. It’s fucking erotic and beautiful how he moves.’ – Venessa
Rogan’s life changes the day he meets the fucked up Venessa. He feels immediately the impact this woman has on him, but the journey she takes him on is one he could never have envisaged. His life changes beyond all measure as Rogan grows and learns to live and love.
“Never had shit that’s mine, got you now. Don’t need nothing else.” – Rogan
“I want my shot at forever…You’re my forever, Angel…” – Rogan
Now what about Venessa, hey Jenny, what a bloody amazing kick arse heroine she was, her story broke our hearts didn’t it?!
Jenny: Vanessa’s story was harrowing to say the least Gitte! The opening pages of this book certainly knocked me sideways and sickened me.
‘You didn’t need death to die.’ – Vanessa
How Vanessa survived what she did without being a complete basket case is beyond me. She drew strength from her ordeal and refused to become the victim, instead becoming the vigilante determined to rid the streets of Detroit of those and others like them who destroyed her world.
‘I live in the shadows, ever watching. You never want to get a visit from me. Because if we do meet, you won’t remember it until it’s too late. My name is Vanessa Cross, thanks for asking. I am justice.’
This little pocket rocket had the guts of ten men; she had the strength of someone ten times her size and a heart to match. This one woman vigilante had balls of steel, yet was so vulnerable at times and I found myself rallying behind her every second.
Vanessa carried scars from her past and abhorred being touched in any way and she certainly never expected to feel love or be loved. That all changed when this giant, socially awkward and solitary man walked into life. Something changed and Vanessa began to feel love and passion and with the awakening of those feelings she also saw hope. In Rogan, Vanessa was able to see the man underneath, not just the exterior. I have to agree with you on Rogan, Gitte…..I don’t care what he thinks about himself…I found him to be as sexy as sin and possessing a beautiful heart. Together these two damaged souls had to find their way.
‘He’s home for me, I know it, and that’s dangerous.’ – Vanessa
Their relationship was never going to be smooth sailing with each living on the other side of the law and carrying baggage from their pasts. Each had to learn so much from each other as they explored new experiences and discovered newfound emotions.
I did question the validity of some of Vanessa’s actions as they felt out of place for me. In my opinion, after the ordeal this woman had suffered and after living such a lonely existence of sorts for so long the sexual encounters between her and Rogan would have been very different. Her actions just didn’t resonate with me and I found parts of the story to be out of whack in that regard, but again, the story itself and the characters within the story, including the secondary characters…..oh foot in mouth Rafe….will you ever learn? LOL helped me to forgive these situations.
G&J: So, there you have it. Brutal is one of those books readers are either going to love or not. There will be no fence sitting with this one.
‘True Detroiters never leave. They stay and fight. Cops can’t be everywhere. Shit, they’re afraid to. The city lives by its own code. Citizens have no choice but to protect themselves.’
As we said, we did have a couple of issues with the execution of the story and at times it tended to feel a little overwritten, repetitive and wordy but if you get past that and immerse yourself in the grittiness of the story, the raw emotion of the characters and allow yourself to be gripped by the neck into the deep dark and dangerous streets of Detroit, then you’ll be rewarded with some very unconventional characters, a brutal yet beautiful love story, and some very imaginative story telling which is powerfully delivered with passion, suspense, drama and heat.
“You want my advice?”………..”Love her right, fuck her hard, and ruin her for all other men.” – Rafe
Stick with this one folks; we think you’ll be glad you did! The story and the characters will consume you! We envision this series being a winner for us and can’t wait to see how this author flourishes with her unique, raw and brutal style of storytelling.
**Arc provided by author in exchange for an honest review. Please note: We received an unedited ARC**
BRUTAL by K S ADKINS