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So, Ruthless People sounds pretty good, right? 4.14 average on Goodreads out of over 3000 ratings. A combo love story/crime novel focusing on an arranged marriage between warring mafia families. By the way, the bride and groom aren’t allowed to meet until three days before the wedding.

I enjoyed the beginning of the book. Melody struck me as a very strong woman who wouldn’t give up on her dreams just because of some stupid marriage contract. And Liam, although headstrong and egotistical, would obviously do anything for his family, even if it meant throwing away his happiness. Even the first meeting between Melody and Liam was pretty great. Liam is instantly attracted to her, and Melody shoots him for getting a little too friendly.

Soon after, though, I started wondering whether this book had just been thrown together at the last moment. Did an editor even look at it? If McAvoy didn’t want to pay a professional editor, surely she could have sought the help of her friends, family, or even her readers. (I’ve read books where the author actually requested that the readers email any mistakes they find so that the book could be corrected.) Anyway, I would have forgiven most of the mistakes in an uncorrected proof, but it was too much for a finished copy, especially one that an author expects people to pay for.

The writing is, in a word, awful. McAvoy regularly leaves words out or uses the incorrect words. (Don’t even get me started on the commas.) Again, this is something that could be easily remedied with a fresh set of eyes looking for mistakes. It was almost comical how many mistakes I found in this book. Almost, because at the end, it really started detracting from the story.

“It wasn’t even really your chest. It was much closer to your shoulder-blade. The worse you needed was stitches, you big baby.”
“I’m sure this will help the families who lost love ones and those injured, overwhelmingly so.”
“We’ve already missed three masses. A forth one and people might think I killed you.”
I wanted to rip the smiled from his lips.
I wanted to watch him rain fire and brimstone on the fool, but I wasn’t sure what they knew our how much they were after.

She overuses words, particularly “however” and “hissed.” I have never read a book where people hiss as much as they do here, and nobody I’ve ever met says “however” with this frequency. There are 40 mentions of characters hissing and 114 howevers over a mere 328 pages. That means that somebody hisses an average of every eight pages, and we can’t go more than three pages without someone saying “however.”

“Liam, we need to focus,” she hissed as I ran my fingers against her neck.
“You’re lying,” I hissed, shooting him through his other ankle.
“You’re wasting words,” I hissed. “How is he?”
We didn’t cheat on our wives, and we didn’t do any of the smack or drugs we sold. Those two things alone were things the mafia world was known for.However, it was also the first thing that brought them down.
None of them cared about the charity. They only cared about upstaging each other in who had more money to give, just to prove how rich they are. None of them could hold a candle to any wife of a Callahan. However, they all wanted to come in second place.
The Valero were coming at us with everything they had. We expected as much. However, with the cops now watching us more than ever, our actions were limited.

When reading Ruthless People, I felt like it would have been much better if McAvoy had stuck to crime with a side of romance, or romance with a side of crime, rather than trying to shove murders and explosions and declarations of love down the reader’s throat at the same time. With a little less going on, and a little more attention to detail, this book could have been so much better. 

Overall, I didn’t love or hate this book. I really just didn’t connect with it, or with any of the characters. It wasn’t the violence, or the sex, or the language that got to me. I can handle all of that. I just didn’t understand Melody and Liam’s motivation. There’s no rhyme or reason to what they do. They kill indiscriminately, often just because they can. Liam kills someone for walking into the restroom at the wrong time. Melody seems to shoot, stab, or otherwise attack anyone who annoys her. Without a reason behind their actions, it just becomes monotonous and boring.

“Is this jealously? Are you mad that this woman is on the same level as you are?”

A knife flew at my face giving me only a second to react. I moved out of the way before it embedded itself in the door.

No one is on the same level as me.”

Yes, that was Melody throwing a knife at her husband for merely suggesting that someone could have the same capacity for insanity as she does. (Also, please note the use of “jealously” instead of “jealousy.”)

I’ve given a lot of negatives about this book, but I will say that it’s a very original plot and it has a lot of potential. With a little (or maybe a lot) of polishing, this could easily be a four-star read for me. All in all, my rating is 2.5 stars, rounded up.

Final rating: ★

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