I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Zeta Cartel series, and was looking forward to this latest novel from A J Adams. Each book is completely different and can be read as a standalone story, but my advice is to immerse yourself in the dirty goings-on right from the start. The characters in each story are woven into the stories of other characters, so there is a theme running right through the series.
Each book focusses on a tough but ultimately good-hearted woman and the career-criminal she meets at a low point in her life. The men are not pussycats. They are killers who make their money from crime and drugs, but the series is up-front about that from the start. If it isn’t your thing, avoid. If you love a bad boy who will kill to keep his lady from harm, fill your boots.
In this, the sixth book, Spirit is a stripper, a former sex worker working all the hours, doing a job she hates so she can afford to keep her sick mother in a comfortable nursing home. She’s great at teasing, dancing, giving the punters what they want, but the sex part just isn’t for her. Her attempts to go legit hit a brick wall about the time she meets Coop, the newest member of the Zeta Cartel. Then her life becomes even more turbulent than ever. Despised in the English town where she lives, her reputation in tatters, she turns to her lethal lover for protection.
Coop is on a mission; to avenge the murder of his childhood friend. A former slave in South Africa who used lethal force to free himself and his fellow prisoners, he now has a murderous skillset. He’s also skilled at inventing and cooking drugs, and begins work for the Zetas, believing one of them might have killed his friend. In the meantime, a serial killer is inconveniently dumping local girls’ bodies in the woods outside Coop’s chop shop. To complicate things further, Coop has growing feelings for Spirit, the stripper who rejected his advances, but has now become a friend.
This is a tightly woven tale. I honestly think A J Adam’s writing improves with every novel, and it was pretty good to start with. There is less emphasis on sex (although it’s hot!) and more emphasis than ever on scene-setting and plot. The opening pages are dynamite, and the whole book carries on in that vein. The violence is there, but not hideously graphic. It’s more suggested. And the language is fruity, with lots of reference to sluts, tarts and whores. Obviously, the drug theme runs throughout, though the Zetas don’t use their product, so no one can accuse this series of glamorising drug use.
This has been an awesome series, written with great heart and an enormous amount of forensic research into the cartel lifestyle. I don’t know if it’s over, but I hope not. If it is, it wraps things up very neatly. My summers won’t be the same without a new Zeta Cartel book so I guess I’ll be reading them all again!
Determined to get her mother the healthcare she needs, drop dead gorgeous Spirit Westcott works as a stripper, not caring a jot that it cements her reputation as the village bad girl. But when Spirit falls foul of John Cooper, the newest member of the notorious Zeta Cartel, she loses her job. Furious, Spirit confronts Coop–only to discover his secret drug lab. When Coop decides to save her, by disappearing her and keeping her captive, Spirit is less than impressed. However, she quickly learns that Coop has an even deadlier secret, and one that may drag her into the abyss.
When dangerous, single-minded John Cooper learns his best friend was murdered, he resolves to exact bloody vengeance. The knowledge that his prey is a Zeta, one of Mexico’s most dangerous cartels, doesn’t stop him. Coop joins the organisation, only to discover that finding his prey won’t be easy. To his annoyance, sexy Spirit Westcott is also a spanner in the works. After embarrassing him in public, Coop suddenly finds himself saddled with an unwanted captive, and her cat. Then, just as things couldn’t get worse, a killer takes aim at the village girls. As Coop is drawn further into the cartel, he is forced to make decisions that may cost him his life–and that of his love.
Ruthless Sinner is a gripping tale of vengeance, murder, cartel violence and finding love in the darkest of times.
Warning: This bad boy romance contains explicit adult themes and graphic violence. It is for adults only.