Sunday, September 27, 2015

ARC Review: SHOOTING DIRTY by Jill Sorenson

Shooting Dirty 
by Jill Sorenson

She's his only salvation.

Ace Clemmons has wanted Janelle from the moment he first saw her. Taking her captive while he carried out his last hit as a member of Dirty Eleven nearly broke him. Now that he’s gone straight, he’s back in her life, looking to stake his claim. He can’t erase the past but he’ll do anything to make it up to her.

Janelle Parker needs a new start, far away from the trailer park and the strip club. A down and dirty affair with a tattooed criminal is a step in the wrong direction, but she can’t resist Ace’s deliciously commanding touch, which has haunted her dreams for months. Soon they’re both in too deep, falling hard and fast—until an old feud with a rival motorcycle club explodes into an all-out war. Dirty Eleven's enemies won't hesitate to hurt Janelle to get to Ace. She has to fight to survive… and for the fiercest love she’s ever known.

There is something keenly harsh about this series. It starts with the stark landscape.  Having been to Indio, there are parts of that area that seem like a desert wasteland.  Amidst the casinos and resorts are run down mobile home parks with rusted out homes covered with tarp.  Jill Sorenson’s writing paints a very distinct picture of poverty and hopelessness.  But it is more than just the environment; the characters are gritty as well. 

As much as I like Ace, I really admire Janelle.  Janelle is a product of the area, and she has dreams of escaping. Working as a stripper at night, she is takes classes and tries to make a better life for her and her son.  What’s interesting to me is her attitude about her work and how she could put it into perspective. 

As much as she hated certain aspects of the job, performing at Vixen had made her a stronger person. She knew who she was in this setting. She knew exactly where the lines were, and how to stay behind them. There was no touching, no grinding, no nudity in the VIP room. Those professional boundaries were comforting.
Still, constantly running into obstacles can be discouraging: "She was tired of failing. She was tired of trying. Tired of caring." Loss of hope is the real struggle in Coachella Valley.

Ace is on the road to redemption.  Leaving the Dirty Eleven is a huge risk, but he is not the same person as he was when he joined.  Fatherhood changes him.  Love can change a person: 
Without Skye, he might not have been capable of romantic love. Becoming a father had softened him, just a little. It had made a tender place inside him, and allowed for another seed to take root. This seed had grown , against all odds, like a desert flower in stony sand.
His quest to have his daughter brings him to his moral boundaries.  What is he willing to do get custody of his daughter? And if he chooses to cross lines, will he be able to look her in the eye?  Will his actions taint the only pure and innocent thing in his life?

For me, the weakest part of the story is the relationship between Ace and Janelle.  They meet under dubious circumstances – actually, he kidnaps her and kills the father of her son in an earlier story. I may be a little too cynical here, but I’m not quite certain that Janelle would be so willing to forgive Ace for what he did to her.  I understand that their attraction is highly physical at first and it grows with time.  I’m still a little skeptical.  Nonetheless, for me, the appeal of this book is in the characters themselves.  They are multi-layered and just plain interesting.  Jill Sorenson is the master of portraying both quiet and elevated levels of desperation.


Conveying both dark desperation and bright hope, Jill Sorenson gives us an interesting character study. I’m really enjoying this different spin on the MC romance genre.  It’s out of the mold. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next for this series.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are my own and I was not paid for this review. 

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