Another week, another book review, another Mafia story – my favourite kinda theme. Except, I am moving away from the Italian influence to Russian, something a bit different for me.
Russian Tattoos: Criminal (Russian Tattoos #3) by Kat Shehata opens with the kidnapping of Russian mob boss Vladimir Ivanov’s wife, Carter. Carter is held up in London by rival mob boss, Maksim Ovechkin, and won’t be released until Vladimir pays the ultimate price, his life. What Maksim doesn’t know is that Carter is pregnant with Vladimir’s child and she will do anything to protect her family.
OK, I just want to put one thing out there before we begin: Criminal can be read as a standalone book but I recommend reading the first two books in the series before starting this. Why? Like me, who did read this book independently, you may end up a little lost. While the storyline of Criminal will still be easy to follow, you will find yourself asking many questions about how the characters came to this point and, unlike others who have read all three books, you won’t have developed a strong tie to Vladimir and Carter which, from what I have read, is a disappointment.
Whatever order you choose to read Criminal in, I can promise you plenty of action. Plenty of hard-core violence and backstabbing, the kind you can only find in the gangster genre. Consequently, this leads to a deep and sinister story with the most sinister part, for me at least, being Carter’s love for Vladimir. Don’t get me wrong, I can see how she fell for her husband, the girl-next-door falling for the bad boy is nothing new to this world, but it didn’t stop me thinking “what the hell are you doing?!” as she continued to stay with him and also defend the relationship. And this was the frustrating part of the book for me; Carter was too weak. I really couldn’t connect with her as a person and I certainly didn’t understand her marriage (although a quick Google search gave me more of an idea of the background).
In terms of the other characters, none were exactly likeable, except maybe Dmitri (Carter’s bodyguard), but all were interesting, especially Vladimir. I think if you were a fan of Christian Grey of the Fifty Shades series, Vladimir will have a certain appeal to you.
Overall, I did enjoy the story. Although there were times I wished I hadn’t begun the series at number three, it was still somewhat of a page turner for me and I just needed to know how it ended. I would love to read your comments below about the series; I need some people to discuss further with!
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.