I have had a soft spot for Miki St. John from the beginning of this series. One of the most tragic and angst ridden characters I’ve read to date, this poor kid, found wandering in an alley at the age of 3, placed in the foster system for a time, somehow gets placed with a guy at the age of 12 who sexually abuses him and also prostitutes him out to other men. He survives years of this abuse until one evening while singing to himself he is overheard by Damien Mitchell who he befriends, forms a band with, becomes monumentally successful, only to suffer another major tragedy when he loses all three bandmates in a horrific car accident. And that’s not even the end of it, because over the course of the books in this series, there is a running theme of danger surrounding Miki; the latest being that someone is trying to kill him and no one knows who or why.
Picking up where book 5 left off, Miki is back in San Francisco and just trying to live his life. The previous events weighing on him so much so that he’s filled with anger and he doesn’t really know how to deal with it. Though he has Kane to level him out, he’s pushed too far when he is attacked several times in the span of just a few days. Questions that he’d pushed to the back of his mind rush forward when it appears that Miki has some sort of connection to an Asian crime family, but exactly what that connection is no one can really piece together. Miki’s boyfriend Kane along with his partner Kel, are on the case and they are determined to get to the bottom of this mystery and keep Miki safe.
Ford wraps up this series and answers all our burning questions. It’s a sad and tangled web going back before Miki was even born. An Asian mafia like family that dealt in a myriad of illegal activities including drugs and prostitution and apparently got away with it for years until their leader was put away. While they continued it was on a much smaller, less obvious scale. Twenty years later, his release from jail begins a killing spree of revenge. Determined to make as many people pay for how he was wronged his list appears long, and Miki is on it.
We are kept on edge throughout the story as Ford teases us with a hint here and there and we are able to speculate on Miki’s parentage as more is learned at every turn. I wasn’t surprised by what is revealed, though, and I was okay with that. In fact, I was really happy when the details of it when all were finally revealed.
Ford gifts us with scenes that get us all caught up on the Morgan siblings featured in previous books. Since I’d missed out on the last two books, I was thrilled to see who ended up with who and I hope to find time to backtrack and read those books soon. I’ve been a fan of Rhys Ford for years. I feel a bit of a connection to Rhys as she also has roots in Hawaii and her writing always includes some fun anecdotes that remind me of my childhood, the food and the people. Her attention to detail and ability to include humorous moments in a story with an otherwise dark theme while giving us a convincing love story is why I keep reading Rhys Ford.
I found this series by J. Bengtsson by chance when I was at work one day and stuck doing a ridiculously tedious project. After reading book one, I was hooked on the story featuring a family whose son is kidnapped, but against all odds, survives his kidnapper and comes home. While we see what happened to Jake in book one, the story continues and features the view from his sister’s perspectives.
In Fiercely Emma, we see what happens within the family while Jake is missing. Emma, who is about 16 when her brother Jake is taken is thrust into the role of the mother when her own mom, unable to deal with the Jake’s disappearance, completely checks out and leaves Emma to cook, clean, and take charge of her 3 younger siblings. This leaves her with a horrible view of motherhood and she vows never to have children of her own. As an adult, she is a nurse, and while she dates, she doesn’t allow herself to get close to anyone. But all that changes when she meet Finn.
I loved this story; it’s probably my favorite of the series. The author explores Jake’s disappearance from the perspective of those left behind. What happens to the family and how each individual is affected by Jake’s disappearance. When something like this happens, there is so much focus on the child or person who is taken. Bengtsson turns the tables and gives us the story from those who are waiting and home, worried, distraught and living with the unknown. Definitely recommend!
Next up: Rumor Has It, book 4 in Jessica Lemmon’s Real Love series. I’m also listening to Follow Me Back by A.L. Jackson released January 2018.