Review: Shooting Scars by Karina Halle

Format: ARC
Publisher: Forever/Hachette
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Artist Trilogy #2
When Ellie Watt offered herself to her thuggish former lover Javier to save Camden's life, she never imagined the twisted game Javier had planned for her. Trapped by him and his entourage of killers, Ellie is forced to commit a dangerous, heinous crime-or Javier will kill Camden. Now ex-con artist Ellie must find a way to stay ahead of the game . . . before it destroys her and the only man she ever loved.

Camden McQueen can't forget Ellie Watt. Seeking revenge and pursued by the authorities for a crime he didn't commit, the talented tattoo artist does things he never thought himself capable of to save Ellie. As Camden straddles the line between love and retribution, he vows to do everything in his power to get her back. But if Camden unleashes his dark side, will Ellie still love him?

Do not read Shooting Scars unless you read Sins & Needles (read my review) first--the books in the Artist trilogy are not standalone books and must be read sequentially. This review will contain be major spoilers from Sins & Needles and minor spoiler from Shooting Scars. You've been warned.

Shooting Scars starts where Sins & Needles left off. To save Camden, Ellie went with Javier, her psychotic ex-lover. Javier used emotional blackmail on Ellie to force her to confront and kill Travis, a monster who Javier used to work for and also hurt Ellie when she was six years old after her parents tried to con him. In the meantime, Camden, after escaping his crazy ex-wife's brothers who was going to kill him, went to find Gus, Ellie's old mentor who taught her how to con. They tracked down Javier and Ellie to Mexico. When Camden saw Javier and Ellie together it made him second guess Ellie and things kind of took a dark, violent turn for Camden.

I don't want to go into too much detail because I think the less you know the better reading experience it will be for you. I called Sins & Needles "dark, sexy and dirty" full of twists and turns, and that theme continues in this book.  But there were so many more "Holy crap!" moments in this book! Karina Halle does not follow the rules of a typical romance novel and the whole novel was such a wild ride. 

Javier was portrayed as this psychotic guy in Sins & Needles but you see a different side of him in Shooting Scars. I hated the guy for the most part but there were times I didn't know how to feel. I'm still rooting for Ellie and Camden to be together but Javier... you get this side of him. But Ellie and Camden too, some of their choices were very questionable. I mentioned a darkness in Camden that was kind of hinted at in Sins and it was unleashed in this book. Ugh, such a messed up love triangle! The line between "good" and "bad" was blurred and that what makes this romance novel so unlike any other I've read. 

If you like dark, gritty, steamy novels where unforeseen craziness happens and you're so riveted by the story that you forgo dinner and must read into the night because you just gotta know, well Shooting Scars--actually, the Artist Trilogy is for you. I'm so excited to read the final book in the trilogy, Bold Tricks. How will Karina Halle end it?!

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