New Release Review ~ The Dead Don’t Mourn by Anne Russo

GENRE: Gay Thriller Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 74,223 words
RATING: flame rating 4

Sequel to The Dead Don’t Lie

Three months have passed, and Ian and Adam are both struggling with the memory of that fateful night. Consumed with guilt, Ian carries on with his day-to-day existence with little success, while Adam adjusts to his new life as a cold-blooded killer.

But both men face a new challenge when Adam’s latest target, a crime boss’s beautiful daughter, enters the picture. It’s a dangerous assignment that forces hidden jealousies and not so buried desires to the surface.

Yet as Adam and Ian’s desperate situation escalates, they find their chaotic world dealt another heartbreaking blow when tragedy strikes a member of their group. The devastating event compels Ian and Adam to confront their feelings for one other. Yet with sinister forces at work against them as well as the dark story of their families’ joined and tangled past, will Ian and Adam fight to build something real together? Or will they find themselves torn apart once more?

NOTE: This story contains scenes depicting a suicide attempt and/or suicidal ideation as well as substance abuse/recreational drug use. This is book 2 in a series and ends on a cliffhanger.

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Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.

Ian reached over his head, keeping the door closed, refusing to let Adam leave. “Please, hear me out first.”

The plea seemed to get Adam’s attention. He sighed and turned back towards Ian, glaring up at him. “Fine, what is it then?”

But Ian couldn’t tell him, undone by the heat in Adam’s eyes. The tiny space a thousand degrees, the stench of the place creeping into Ian’s clothes, his lungs. Every breath he took unbearable agony.

Frustrated by his silence, Adam threw his hands up. “Goddamn you! What?”

“We can’t go on like this.”

Adam nearly laughed in his face. “Go on like this? You did this! What the hell do you want from me? Let me out of here!”

“Why won’t you just talk to me?” Ian tried, and Adam’s face fell, but for a moment before his anger sparked, renewed.

“Talk to you? Why would I ever want to talk to you again? Isn’t it enough that I have to be drunk just to look at you?”

Ian’s control burst. Something shifted in him. Furious with the petulant scowl on Adam’s face. His dismissal of him itching under his skin, darkening his thoughts. “Oh, so is that why you need to drink every day? Why you’re getting high now too? So what’s next, Adam? Pills? Needles? What else do you need to do to kill the pain?”

Adam rose to his full height, poking his finger into Ian’s chest and sending him skidding back a couple of steps. “Me? Oh, that’s rich coming from you. The king of fuck-ups lately.”

“Watch it –”

“No, you watch it. Isn’t it enough that we got through this mission in one piece? A feat I’m surprised we managed with the way your head has stayed crammed so far up your ass lately. So, I’d take a long hard look in the mirror before you criticize me.”

The harshness of Adam’s raw truth, blistering and unrelenting, froze Ian to where he stood. “Right? I’m going to take advice from a man who can barely stand up straight. You’re a mess, and it’s going to get you killed, which I suspect might be your plan all along.”

“And so what if it is?” Adam didn’t deny, his eyes flashing, his lips twisted into a mean sneer. “Congratulations, Einstein. You figured out my master plan. To eat a goddamn bullet and never have to look at your fucking face ever again.”

Ian broke, pulling Adam close by the back of his neck. Desperate to smooth out the harsh lines around his eyes, his mouth, aging him beyond his years. But the second their lips met, Adam slammed him into the opposite wall. The force of the attack surprised Ian, not sure how Adam had caught him off-guard.

“This is your idea of fixing things? Did you honestly think you were going to fuck me in this disgusting bathroom?” Adam crowded into his space, spitting out each word as if he’d tasted poison.

“You won’t listen –”

“Listen to what?” Adam shouted, his tone wavered a touch into hysterical. “You can’t fix this, Ian. Don’t you get that? Whatever we had, it’s gone, and it’s never coming back.” Adam’s blistering tirade, a furious breath against the side of Ian’s face. The terrible and unflinching heat of his words scorching them both. “I’d rather die than let you touch me again.”

Ian flinched as if Adam had slapped him. The relentless thudding in his heart now turned into a hammering and brutal army — one stampeding through his ribcage as his diaphragm shrieked and moaned in protest. The walls of the bathroom were shrinking further — threatening to swallow him whole.

Ian pushed Adam away from him. Adam stumbled and caught the edge of the sink, gripping it to keep from falling.

“The fuck is your problem?”

Ian couldn’t answer him. Flooded with shame as he scrambled for the lock, throwing the door open.

“The hell, man –”

Ian stammered out an apology to the guy standing outside, but before he could finish, the scent of his cologne hit him. Something smoky and dark, overwhelmingly familiar. In one terrible split-second, Ian’s world exploded.

Ian grabbed him by the throat, slamming him into the opposite wall. All while the man in his grip sputtered and protested, taken off-guard completely.

“Ian, what the fuck? Let him go!”

Ian registered Adam’s voice only as an annoying buzz in the background. His vision whitened before roaring back as hands pulled him away.

“Let him go –”

Ian lost his balance, dropping the man from his hold. The man’s knees buckled as he slid against the wall, his eyes wide with horror as he held a shaky hand to his throat.

“Dude –”

Adam stammered apologies, but Ian could barely hear them. As the roar in his ears rose to a deafening thunder — his heart jackhammering in his chest — boom boom boom.

He bolted, shouldering past a crowd of people as he fled the bar. Adam’s concerned shouts following him as he raced off into the night.

 

~ * ~ Annies Review ~ * ~

4.5 Stars

The Dead Generations series has been such a surprise for me. Not one to typically pick up darker reads, I cannot deny that Adam and Ian have completely ensnared me. I never know what to expect with these books and The Dead Don’t Mourn just proved that again and again.

The second book in the series picks up shortly after the first book’s shocking conclusion. As this series follows a continual plotline, The Dead Don’t Mourn is definitely not a standalone. In fact, I almost wished I had reread The Dead Don’t Lie just before this one because there were a couple of times I briefly felt lost when past characters and scenes were referenced. The fast pace and near-constant action or unraveling of the story kept me reading though and I quickly found myself immersed in Ian and Adam’s deadly and often morally ambiguous world.

I really liked how much history the readers get in The Dead Don’t Mourn, particularly in regard to Ian’s parents and how Katherine came to sink her claws into the family business. There are plenty of twists and surprise revelations along the way, along with some heartbreaking moments that give the reader a significant glimpse into what makes Ian the man Adam knows and unwillingly loves.

Ian and Adam’s hot and cold relationship continues much of the way through The Dead Don’t Mourn. However, there are a number of events that changes the relationship dynamic and left me eager for what will happen next. Once again, the book ends on a massive cliffhanger, so readers who don’t like to be hanging onto the edge of their seat clamoring for more may want to wait to begin this emotional ride. Whether you wait or jump right in now, this series is definitely one worth the read if you like a darker series with some morally ambiguous characters and a really exciting storyline.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn’t a requirement. ***