4 out of 5 Stars
*I was provided a copy of Leverage by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*
Tyler Karras is ready to live his new life now that the Russian mafia, the Bratva, has been disbanded. He has a new wife, a stepson, and a baby on the way. But old demons aren’t ready to release him from their clutches. In fact, the Bratva, which Ty thought he’d left buried four years ago, now wants to pull him in deeper than before. They have the perfect leverage over Ty—his new family.
In order to save his stepson Connor and his wife Hannah, Ty will have to do exactly what he swore to never do again. He’ll have to kill. And once he allows himself to do something so despicable, he’ll never be the same man again.
Leverage is book two in The Mistaken Series, and it picks up four years after the end of The Mistaken. It can be read as a standalone, as all the pertinent history is given to the reader, but it would be easier to understand after having read book one first. It is a suspenseful thriller with tons of action, and it will keep you guessing who is on what side right up until the end.
The story picks up with Hannah and Ty happily married and expecting their first child while Hannah’s son Connor begins a downward slide in college after witnessing the death of his best friend. But not everything is as it seems, and Connor’s problems lead him into a mess of trouble, landing him on the doorstep of the Russian mafia. The whole family gets pulled back into the mafia’s world without knowing why they’re being targeted.
Once again, Ty is a standup character. He only wants to do right by his family and protect those he loves. But circumstances outside his control drag him into the very life he was trying to escape. I enjoyed reading about his internal struggle to do the right thing versus doing what had to be done to save his family. Ty recognized that deaths would be on his conscience no matter what choice he made, and he didn’t want to subject his family to the man he would become once that happened.
This book brought Hannah’s son—Ty’s stepson—into the forefront. Connor seemingly fell into trouble with the mafia, not realizing he was specifically targeted. And hiding his troubles from his mother and stepfather only made matters worse. The inclusion of Connor in this book added another layer of intricacy to the plot, twisting and turning things around until you couldn’t be sure who to trust. It kept me constantly wondering who was on which side.
Told in first person point of view, one of the drawbacks of this book was the multiple points of view. Like The Mistaken, Leverage gave us three different perspectives. While the change of perspective was clearly labeled and separated by chapter, there was no rhyme or reason to the order. Something with so many changes would have been better told in third person, as it limits the confusion of who the “I” refers to and tends to feel smoother.
This book was also heavy on violence, so be warned if that’s not your thing. It was well written though, so while the reader got gory details, it certainly fit the theme of the book. The few minor editing issues didn’t disturb my enjoyment of the action-packed story. Overall, I enjoyed this, and I would definitely read more by this author.