Shooting Scars - Karina Halle Originally reviewed at Red Hot Books

If I can sum up this book in one word it is cracktacular. This is the second book in Karina Halle’s Artist Trilogy and is absolutely not a stand alone book. Even though the author states that readers don’t need to read the prequel, On Every Street, I think it goes a long way to understanding all the dynamics at play. I recommend reading it after Sins & Needles. For fans, this book does not disappoint.

Shooting Scars picks up right where Sins & Needles left off. Those of you who are Team Camden will be happy that the book is told from his and Ellie’s alternating POVs.

Ellie chooses to leave with Javier so that Camden can be safe with his ex-wife and son. Camden very much wants to go after Ellie but is conflicted about leaving his son now that he has him back for the first time in years. Javier is comfortably villainous in his success at binding Ellie back to him. As soon as their car pulls away from the curb, the action starts and does not let up. My eyes were glued to the page to see what was going to happen next.

Team Ellie – *sigh* This girl. She finally realizes her love of Camden when she’s thrown back in with her first love, Javier. No matter how nefarious Javier is, Ellie’s weakness towards him is understandable to anyone who’s had a great love. Those feelings, no matter how long ago, linger in our consciousness. She is torn between the future, Camden, the need to be good and normal and the past, Javier and the criminal she is. She’s a frustrating character in this book with her indecision and her lack of acceptance of responsibility for her own actions.

Team Camden – Poor Camden. Cam is the essential “good guy” and for most of the book we see him getting kicked around. Yet, I have to give the boy props for getting back up time and time again to move forward. At one point, I just wanted Camden to grow a pair and start kicking some ass. The last quarter of the book shows Cam turning into Connor. Will it stick? Aside from the wimpy behavior, a few things bugged me about Camden. His internal dialogue about Ellie was overly saccharine and he was more concerned about Ellie than protecting and being with his toddler son that he hadn’t seen in 2 years.

Team Javier – I love a good antihero and he’s got it in spades. He’s “evolved” from the person Ellie left six years ago. During that time, he waged a bloody war to build his empire and if Ellie thought he was ruthless before, he’s stone cold now. He’s using Ellie as a means to an end. Yet, as the story progresses, cracks in façade begin to appear. Javier is not as cold as he wants to be where Ellie is concerned. By the end of the book it appears as if he might be turning a corner? To be sure, Javier is one mean mofo but there is respect because he owns who he is.

Everyone is changing and the reader is left wondering whether for good or bad? Old habits are hard to shake, but when love is at stake, what wouldn’t you do? I was left with conflicting feelings all around and am reserving judgment for the final book in the trilogy releasing in October 2013.

Rating: B-

*ARC provided by Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via NetGalley