Review: Black by K.L. Grayson

Posted on July 12, 2017 in Review

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Review: Black by K.L. GraysonBlack by K.L. Grayson
on 29 June 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Self Published
Source: Self-Purchase

Everyone has one.
Some are close.
Some are dysfunctional.
Some are simply gone.

Nine-year-old Shae Black entered the Witness Protection Program after the murder of her father, mob boss Luca DiMarco. New name. New identity. And a ready-made family that had no idea who she really was. 

Fourteen years later, a letter from a ghost thrusts Shae back into the life she was forced to leave behind. As secrets unravel, revealing unexpected truths, Shae sees an opportunity to avenge her father’s death by destroying patriarch Sal Ambrosi, the man responsible for her father’s murder. Getting to the heart of the family will be difficult, but nothing and no one is going to stop her—not even the heirs to the Ambrosi family empire. 

She’s prepared for the two brothers, Dante and Rex, to put up a fight, but she isn’t at all prepared for the danger they will bring to her life and her heart. 

One will love her.
One will hate her.
One will vow to protect her.
One will vow to kill her.

All in the name of family.

Recently a favorite author of mine posted on social media “Read Black by K.L. Grayson, you won’t want to miss it, go in blind!” I decided to follow her recommendation – both downloading the new book, and not reading anything other than the synopsis on Amazon. I’m not sure I’ll be so quick to do that again in the future, although now that I’ve read the book, I don’t think the Goodreads reviews would have saved me either…

Black started off well. You meet Shae as she’s standing on a street in Chicago, staring at a building that looks remotely familiar to her, but she doesn’t know why. Her father and sister were murdered 14 years ago, and even though she survived, she has no recollection of what went down the night the murders happened. She spent the remaining nine years of her childhood in witness protection. But now she’s 23, and she’s hoping being back in Chicago will help spark her memory. Sounds intriguing, right?!

But once Shae meets Rex, a charming, devastatingly handsome, and rich nightclub owner, it seems she completely forgets about why she’s moved to Chicago. Seriously, they meet when she’s staring at the building, and start their insta-relationship shortly after. There’s a brief internal thought of Shae’s that her time with Rex is infringing on her real purpose for being in Chicago, but other than that, there’s no mention of the plot described in the synopsis until the 70 percent mark of the book.

Which is too bad, because this could have been a really suspenseful book if more time had been focused on the supposed plot, instead of the sex. I once read that the difference between romance and erotica is that you can take the steamy/bedroom scenes out of a romance but still have a story. If you took the steamy (and this book IS steamy) out of this book, you’d barely have a novella. I don’t have a problem with either novellas or erotica unless I’m expecting a romantic suspense. Because that’s what the synopsis told me to expect. So in that regard, Black fell really short.

The writing itself was pretty good. The author did frequently fall into the trap of using cliched, overused phrases (such as “like he’s a prisoner on death row and I’m his last meal.”), which doesn’t make her a bad writer, just not a particularly creative one. But I did like her characters, especially the hero. Rex is actually a good guy, who happens to be from a mafia family. He doesn’t want that life though.

We’re tainted. As much as we want to be like those men – clean hands and a bright future – it’ll never happen. That’s not who we are. The blood in our veins is poison, and it all but assures our destiny.

Shae is what’s right for me. I can feel that deep in my bones. But what if I’m not right for her?

But again, too much of the story is focused on the physical part of their relationship and it isn’t until the 60 percent point that Rex begins to worry about dragging Shae into his dark world. Once we get into the meat of the suspense, the story is actually pretty good. There was a plot twist (which I did see coming, but I read WAY too much, so it’s hard to surprise me anymore), and a little bit of action.

And then the book is over.

After I finished, I went and read reviews. I’m not sure what I’m missing. So many people touted Black as a great, suspenseful book. I read a lot of steamy scenes and a lot of leading up to steamy scenes. Three chapters of intro, 21 chapters of nothing that had anything to do with suspense, and then eight chapters of action.  The whole “one brother will vow to protect her, one will vow to kill her” was dealt with in about five sentences and left me so disappointed.  I think the problem was that my expectations (based on the synopsis) fell far short of what this book actually offers – which is a fairly steamy relationship, and a little mafia murder plot is thrown into the mix. But as long as that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll be happy!

 Read for Free in Kindle Unlimited


About K.L. Grayson

K.L. Grayson resides in a small town outside of St. Louis, MO. She is entertained daily by her extraordinary husband, who will forever inspire every good quality she writes in a man. Her entire life rests in the palms of six dirty little hands, and when the day is over and those pint-sized cherubs have been washed and tucked into bed, you can find her typing away furiously on her computer. She has a love for alpha-males, brownies, reading, tattoos, sunglasses, and happy endings…and not particularly in that order.


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