Read my reviews of the previous books in the Necessary Evils series:
Disclaimer: I received an electronic ARC of this novel from the author.
It would have been so easy for this series to get repetitive quickly, but James continues to amaze me with her ability to create striking, unique characters of all types. As with all other personality aspects, psychopathy is a spectrum; just because Atticus happens to fall on that spectrum doesn’t mean he particularly enjoys the tasks set to him by his father’s “experiment.” On the other hand, Jericho belongs 100% on Team Emotion with Noah and Lucas, other Mulvaney brother partners. However, just because Jericho can feel empathy doesn’t mean he isn’t willing to “take out the trash” and then experience no emotional trauma over it.
Instead, Jericho’s emotional trauma expresses itself in how he defines his relationship with Atticus, which is simultaneously romantic and incredibly sexy. Atticus might not know how to interpret all of his emotions, but he does know that he can’t help but respond to Jericho in a way that supports him better than the other relationships in his life, past and present. The way the other Mulvaney brothers treat Atticus has always made me slightly uncomfortable in the previous installments of this series, so I appreciate that this story point is explored here from both Jericho and Atticus’ perspectives.
This particular story point, in which Thomas Mulvaney (adopted father/principal investigator if this crazy experiment) might not have gotten everything “right,” is also explored in the continuing saga of least-known brother Aidan. On the surface, each of these novels does stand alone, but I love that this bit of family drama evolves across books. This story also teases a future relationship for another Mulvaney brother, and I predict it will be absolutely delightful while also tying Jericho’s family of misfits closer to Atticus’ family of psychopaths.
As usual, James teases the reality of the external conflict before submerging the reader into an even darker world. My original assumption of the antagonist would have made for an excellent plot, but James builds on that assumption to create a story even more exciting. Her ability to intertwine thrilling storylines with nontraditional romance arcs has hit the perfect mark for every book in this series so far.