Read my reviews of the previous books in the Wages of Sin series:
- Bad Habits (#1)
- Play Dirty (#2)
A psychologist willing to act as a relationship counselor for a pair of self-proclaimed psychopaths is already an intriguing character to me, so I was hooked on Dr. Tobias Eastman from his first appearance in Play Dirty. Despite his client list, he was still way too chill with the events in that book, so I was thrilled to dive into his point of view here. Tobias may have started as a secondary character with a role to fulfill in the plot, but his encounter with Madigan and Azreal awakened him to an entirely new world. Some names on his client list are irredeemable, in his professional opinion, and he might as well do something about it. For the greater good, of course. (The fact that in another world, Tobias might be on his own client list is another matter entirely.)
This decision to act rather than passively listen puts him on a collision course with Madigan’s mentor Soren, drawn out of retirement by the events set into motion earlier in the series. Though Soren originally views Tobias as a slightly intriguing obstacle, Tobias’ first attempt at vigilantism offends his professionalism. After a bloody encounter, Soren finds himself with an amateur killer to educate while also keeping said baby killer safe from the local mob.
In direct contrast to the tight grip Tobias keeps on every aspect of his life, Soren is so laid back he might as well be horizontal. The romance arc here draws on multiple genre tropes, from opposites attract to forced proximity. But ultimately, Soren and Tobias are merely another pair of kindred souls who find themselves free to finally be their whole selves in front of another person without censure or judgment. Soren mentors Tobias in all sorts of new subjects (yes, that means sex) as they tackle their lists of names to cross off while also trying to figure out who has Tobias in their crosshairs (and why).
My favorite murder husbands, Madi and Az, make an excellent appearance toward the end of the book because Wilder and James have created a delicious greater found murder family in this series. It’s important to note that Soren may risk his life to rescue Tobias, and Tobias may be a novice killer, but he’s still quite skilled in other areas. Their relationship isn’t necessarily a pairing that makes sense on the outside, but it works for them, and the authors pack enough punch via both emotions and conflict to make the ride entirely worth it. I highly recommend this entire series to readers who love morally gray characters who show their love in unique ways (even when sometimes that means at the tip of a knife).
Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.