I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Shadow Warrior by Christine Feehan
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Published by Berkley on June 4, 2019
Source: the library
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Also by this author: Air Bound, Rocky Mountain Miracle, Power Game, Earth Bound, Spider Game, "Dark Crime", Judgment Road, Toxic Game, Vengeance Road, Fire Bound, Bound Together, Leopard's Wrath, Wild Cat, Cat's Lair, Vendetta Road, Lethal Game, Desolation Road, Shadow Flight, Magic in the Wind, Oceans of Fire, Twilight Before Christmas, Dangerous Tides, Leopard's Rage, Reckless Road
Fourth in the Shadow Riders paranormal romance series and revolving around the extended Ferraro family of riders based in Chicago. The couple focus is on Vittorio Ferraro and Grace Murphy.
I have to note that I like the story concept, and the humor and supportiveness of the Ferraros is engaging, but oy…this book could have been half the size if not for Feehan’s repetitions! In some cases, I think she simply cut-and-pasted text to pad things out. And quite a bit of text was wooden in its delivery.
Feehan uses a third person dual protagonist point-of-view, so we hear the thoughts, feel the emotions, and view the scenes from Grace’s and Vittorio’s perspectives. Yeah, well, that dragged on and on too. Surprisingly, with all the action, the story is character-driven. Love-wise, the story actually makes sense. Yeah, it’s an insta-love sort of situation, but Feehan prepped us with Grace’s long-term fascination for the public Vittorio and Vittorio’s fascination with Grace’s fury and his desire for a woman who can handle him. Then again, how he’s figured out that Grace can put up with his dominant nature has me befuddled.
Grace’s character seemed more realistic than Vittorio’s. Although, Grace doesn’t make friends, doesn’t go out, definitely does not have relationships, so why is it she’s on the pill? As for Vittorio, sure, I get that he’s a shadow rider, an assassin, in the long time tradition of his family, so he’s obviously different, and it might be that all that frickin’ repetition got to me and affected my judgment. So keep that in mind!
I do appreciate the purpose of the shadow riders, and I do wish we had something like this in our real world. Too many criminals are getting off or being punished too lightly. They have more rights than the victims!
The conflicts, they are a’many with the inciting incident the proposed sale of Grace Murphy which entangles her with the Ferraro family. It also puts the Ferraros on notice as to the Scaldi activities and the betrayals happening on Ferraro turf.
The most show I got from the telling was the revulsion I felt for Haydon and Eloise. Otherwise, it was all tell, and I was quite busy skipping the sex scenes, as detailed as they were. It was, however, an interesting and smooth description of BDSM, which Feehan took her time finally revealing that it is what Vittorio wanted. I give his character props for being forthright with Grace, and I can understand her attraction to giving up control at home to Vittorio, considering the tension of her day job.
There’s really nothing about the cops, but Feehan really does a great job of melodramatizing those foster parents and Haydon. Oh, heck, all of it is a big melodrama.
It’s rather obvious that Feehan is setting us up for Emme and Val’s romance with their interactions in this story setting up a minor conflict.
It’s an interesting cover the Ferraros use to provide alibis, as playboys roaming the world. Of course their shadow riding ability helps.
The Saldis do have an interesting moral code that the Ferraros endorse, in a way. The idea of the treaty between them is certainly comforting, even if, on the other hand, it’s perfectly acceptable for both sides to have spies in the employ of their enemy. Of course, the proof offered up by Stefano appears to validate the Ferraro family claim to thorough investigation.
To sum it up, I hadn’t realized Shadow Warrior was the fourth in the series…and I won’t be reading any of the previous or any future stories.
It’s an instant attraction, solidified when Grace steps in front of the bullet meant for Vittorio.
Grace Murphy is an event planner who gives the clients exactly what they want; she’s also a silent partner in KB Events with Katie Branscomb.
Vittorio Ferraro is a shadow rider contemplating a very lonely future.
The Ferraros are…
…a tight knit, extended family into banking, nightclubs, hotels, and more. Vittorio’s brothers include Stefano who is the leader of the Chicago family, Ricco, the injured Giovanni, and the hotheaded Taviano and Emmanuelle “Emme” is their sister, susceptible to Val’s voice. There had been another brother, Ettore, who was not perfect. Francesca is Stefano’s pregnant wife (Shadow Rider, 1) whom the family adores. Mariko is a shadow rider married to Ricco (Shadow Reaper, 2). Sasha is Giovanni’s wife (Shadow Keeper, 3). Eloisa is their evil, nasty cow of a mother who focuses on the Ferraro charity events. Stefano has banned her from his home. Phillip is their cold, uncaring father. An arranged marriage.
Vittorio’s housekeeper is Merry Dubois and her husband, Marcellus, who is the caretaker of his property.
Nicoletta works in a flower shop and both Taviano and Dario are interested in her. She’d been rescued by the Ferraros when she was a teen and now lives with Amo and Lucia Fausti as their foster daughter and Stefano’s ward.
There are cousins in Los Angeles, New York (Salvatore, Lucca, and Geno), and San Francisco. Damian is a cousin and the jeweler for the family. The Archambault family, French cousins, manufacture the special fabric used for the Ferraro clothes. Elie Archambault has joined the family as a bodyguard…and he’s interested in Emme.
Bodyguards (and family) include Emilio and Enzo Gallo who run Gallo Security; Drago and Demetrio Palagonia; Tomas and Cosimo Abatangelo are cousins and Emme’s usual bodyguards; and, Raimondo Abatangelo is their younger brother. Rosina and Rigina Greco are family investigators. Aunt Rachele and Uncle Alfeo are cousins and investigators as well. Leone Palagonia is only sixteen. Renato and Romano are more cousins with the most powerful voices.
Martin Shanks is the nightclub manager. Timothy Vane is his assistant. Clay Pierson and Peter Franks are both bouncers. Ezra Banks is a security guard. Vinci is the Ferraro family lawyer. The morally loose Bruno Vitali runs a flower shop; Theresa is his ill mother?? Angelina Laconi is a nurse who will help oversee Theresa; her parents (Anita is her mother) own the kitchen shop. Their son, Pace Laconi, will help keep the Fior A Bizeffe, the florist shop, open. John and Suzette Balboni own a local hardware store that is not doing well. Puglia’s House of Design, owned by Lola and Merci, lost four carpets. Twin friends of Nicoletta’s, Eva and Marta Giboli, are finally reported as missing by their mother, Rita. Berardo Giordano is a gossip who runs a butcher shop. Henry Watson had worked for the Ferraros’ for years.
Detectives Art Maverick and Jason Bradshaw are the ones who usually investigate the Ferraros.
The rabidly persistent Haydon Phillips is a scum-sucking little jerk and Grace’s foster brother.
The Saldi family is…
…a notorious crime family based in Chicago and claiming the entire East Coast with whom the Ferraros have been at war off and on for over a hundred years. Giuseppe Saldi is the leader; his beloved wife, Greta, is dying. Valentine is Giuseppe’s adopted son and heir, and the man with whom Emme had fallen in love. Val’s parents — the youngest brother, Fons, and his wife — were killed. Giuseppe’s brother is Miceli with one illegitimate son, Dario Bosco who is usually Val’s bodyguard (and heir after Val), and two legitimate sons, Tommaso and Angelo. Martina is Miceli’s wife and a good woman. Miceli’s enforcers include Ale Sarto and Lando Gori.
Leonardo Saldi had been Giuseppe and Miceli’s father. Marco Simoncini runs the Saldi escort girls. Teodosiu Giordano had been a Miceli enforcer who became a loan shark. Harold Jenson is Miceli’s consigliere.
Owen and Becca Mueller had been abusive foster parents with a son, Dwayne, who took after them. Julie and Kyle Vaughn were the next foster parents. Howard Bennet had been a neighbor of Grace’s.
Shadow riders must have children and be mated, willingly or unwillingly, by a certain age. They slip into shadows and ride them to the next shadow. They hear lies and can use their voices to persuade. There’s mention of an International Council. Greeters are the initial contact the public has with the shadow riders.
Midnight Madness is a fundraiser for Locals Helping the Elderly, which KB Events is planning. Rene Bisset is the best chef in Chicago. Fred Manson will not be its auctioneer this year. Anne Marquis is a famous actress and a friend to the Ferraros. She’s still in love with her jerk of an ex-husband, Moritz Mischer, who owns a winery. Candy Chardonnay, a model for the winery, is his conniving girlfriend. Mrs Landie Kandar is a widow who travels alone. Byron Fields is a lawyer for Beta Corporation. His wife is a schoolteacher, and they have three children. Emerson Caldwell attends the fundraiser with a silencer.
The Cover and Title
The cover has a roiling red, yellow and black sky over the fuzzy browns of a city skyline. In front and off-center right is a bust of Vittorio in a deep blue suit, shirt and tie, his dark hair slicked back, a horseshoe mustache, and a short beard. At the very top in white is an info blurb, the author’s name is immediately below it in an embossed silver above Vittorio’s head. Below Vittorio’s faded out chest, is the series info in yellow with the title immediately below it in an embossed silver.
The title is all about the Shadow Warrior who finds the woman he never thought to encounter.