Title: Training For Revenge (Those Who Dare #2)
Author: Brenda Cothern
Publisher: Wench Publishing
Release Date: June 19th 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 209 pages / 73,893 words
Reviewed by: Jia
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.63 stars out of 5
Anthony Mancini, Chicago’s Italian kingpin, has no choice but to bring in outside help to train his niece, Valentina Russo who is hell bent on exacting her revenge on the Irish mob that had her abducted and abused her four months ago.
Mancini hires two assassins to do the job. Gordon Wellington is a hands-on, up close, silent killer. Craig Barlow prefers the distance poisons allow to take out his marks.
Years of beating each other to take out the same marks has built an unrivaled hatred between them. Hatred or not, now they have the same contract: Train Valentina Russo. Working together was never part of their plan. Neither was a relationship.
The book starts with Brick and Hix telling Uncle Anthony how Val’s having trouble learning how to defend herself and that she’s a liability to them when they are out. Which is why the two assassins are hired. Good book which could have been better but I still liked it a lot. I don’t know how the author does it, but there’s something about the characters that just pulls me in, makes me want to read and like it even with the issues I had.
Training For Revenge focused too little on the assassins’ relationship development. They are rivals and them stealing each other’s targets in the past as well as having a severe dislike for the other’s attitude has them at least thinking they hate each other. The book isn’t that long and would have benefitted with more content in the form of more together-time for the assassins. Instead I found myself wondering why I’d need to know Val’s thoughts and training in so much details. Here we get more of Val’s side as well, although the way the book leaves off makes it feel like her story missed the point somewhat. On the other hand it also feels like a third book might be expected. If so, then I’ll absolutely read it.
My favorite parts, except for Gordon’s and Craig’s interactions, were when she talks to Uncle Anthony and in the beginning when Brick and Hix talked to Uncle Anthony leaving a huge satisfaction in me and I thought “Yes! Exactly!!” Just what I was thinking. It’s rather funny though because reading this book just cements the thought that the author knew exactly what she was doing when she created Val’s character. There’s a funny part where Val thought how she hates arrogant people, but on the same time she, herself, is so arrogant it borders on too much for me at times. I mean she pulls a gun on Brick because she’s angered by something he does for her own good, she’s annoying, stubborn, arrogant, immature, has a difficulty to follow rules and her hearing apparently isn’t the best. At first I thought her to be rather stupid but then Craig comes in saying Val probably has a photographic memory and is smart. Well, she certainly doesn’t show it in the beginning.
Then there’s the part where we’re told Uncle Anthony’s untouchable. There are no bodyguards around or anything called security that we’re aware off so the whole notion that he’s untouchable is rather what we’re told by the characters not shown. I also found it strange how well Uncle Anthony judged Gordon’s and Craig’s relationship and emotional status since both of them is supposed to be hard to read and what not. He didn’t really know them and they didn’t meet much during the time they were there to train Val. This might be a minor detail, still it doesn’t fit well with me when basically strangers can understand each other better than almost the persons themselves.
Training For Revenge’s written in third person narrative with a lot of head hopping between Val, Gordon and him but also Brick and Hix in the beginning. I didn’t find it to bother me much. The handholding though parts of the book I could have done without though. I like having to think and not overly, blatantly, pointed at the cues. I also know the two assassins are deadly there’s no need to explain their deadliness all of the time.
If there had been more focus on the assassins’ relationship development, a little less head hopping in the narrative and less hand-holding in the story this would have been close to a 4.5 star book for me. Nonetheless, I really like the characters and the story in general and will still definitely recommend it! Not everyone will have the same issues as me, either.