Book Review: Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy) by Karina Halle

Shooting Scars by Karina Halle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Grand Central Publishing

Summary:  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?

I really enjoyed this follow up to Sins & Needles & I fully admit that I've pre-ordered the final installment Bold Tricks already. Yes, it was that good.

Picking up where we left off in Sins & Needles, the action rolls on as Ellie has left with Javier to save Camden, his ex-wife Sofia & their son, Ben. I already felt all was not well because I didn't like or trust Sophia from the first book. Sadly, Camden is not as suspicious a person as I am. Had he been, he would have seen the betrayal coming. Even though I expected it, it was hard to read & watch the events unfold over poor Camden. That made my Sophia hate deepen & I really hope she gets her comeuppance in the final book. I am unashamedly #Team Camden & he did not disappoint in this book. I do worry for him because of how far he's willing to go to safeguard Ellie (I'm still cringing from the tattoo gun interrogation). It's like he's trading away little pieces of who he is & becoming someone else. I'm not entirely sure their relationship won't be the sacrifice for her safety.

Now to Ellie. She is still my hard to love heroine. Actually, she pissed me right off in this book. She has some serious problems & makes what I consider a fairly unforgivable error but I still want good things for her & can't help rooting for her. When she messes up, she goes big. I get why she is flawed & damaged but I keep wanting to know where her final line is. What's the point she won't cross no matter what anyone says to her or where she is in the moment. Oddly enough, it seems Ellie is trying to work that out too, so I'll have to hang in and see.

I am so not a Javier fan. I don't care about his obsession, damage or that he loves Ellie in his own way. None of that sways me because I really don't trust him & cringe when Ellie gives anything he says credence. He's never fully honest with her, fully admits that he may do her actual harm & especially after Uncle Jim, I just can't be bothered with his whole thing. But, I don't want him dead. I need him around because he causes me such consternation & annoyance that there'd be no story without him. There were many instances in this installment where he made me want to toss my Kindle across the room & if anything fatal happens to Gus, I'm holding him responsible & will want Camden & Ellie to make him pay.

Speaking of Gus, he is awesome & I hope we see him again in the final book. I'm wondering if the woman that he was in love with was Ellie's mother. The Coffeemate thing was great & added a great bit of suspense in that moment. Overall, there was a good amount of suspense in this book. I did feel a bit of a lull waiting for Ellie to connect to Travis between the hideout fish shop & the hotel in Veracruz but everything did seem necessary. The final reveal at Travis' home was a thrill & all I can say is I really need to know how the thing with Ellie's parents resolves. I think I'm more concerned about that than the Travis situation. Anyway, great second installment & I very much look forward to the last.

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