by J.A. Redmerski
Series: In the Company of Killers #3
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Kate Reinders, Luke Daniels
Genres: Crime Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Suspense Thriller
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 5 cups
Fredrik Gustavsson never considered the possibility of love, or that anyone could ever understand or accept his dark and bloody lifestyle—until he met Seraphina, a woman as vicious and blood-thirsty as Fredrik himself. They spent two short but unforgettable years together, full of lust and killing and the darkest kind of love that two people can share.And then Seraphina was gone.It’s been six years since Fredrik’s lover and sadistic partner in crime turned his world upside-down. Seraphina went into hiding and has eluded him ever since. Now, he’s getting closer to finding her, and an innocent woman named Cassia is the key to drawing Seraphina from the shadows. But Cassia—after sustaining injuries from a fire that Seraphina ignited—suffers from amnesia and can’t give Fredrik the information he desperately seeks. Having no other choice, Fredrik has been keeping Cassia locked in his basement as he not only tries to get her to recall her past—because she and Seraphina share it—but also to protect her from Seraphina, who clearly wants her dead. But Cassia is a light in the darkness that Fredrik never believed existed. After a year subjected to her kindness and compassion, he finds himself struggling with his love for Seraphina, and his growing feelings for Cassia—because he knows that to love one, the other must die. Will light win out over darkness, or will something more powerful than either further destroy an already tortured soul?
The series In the Company of Killers by J.A. Redmerski has continually blown me away. For lack of a better phrase or perhaps the most genuine assessment, “ this series is a total mind-f@ck.” Redmerski brings her dark, sadistic characters to life making you love them even as you cringe. The Swan & the Jackal is the third story and brings us Fredrick Gustvsson’s story. At its heart, it is the love story of Fredrick and Seraphina. These characters are dark, cold-blooded murderers, and assassins. Redmerski chewed me up and spit me out as their tale unfolded.
Seraphina and Fredrick are broken, complex and yet together they had this twisted beauty. Seraphina has been missing for six years, and when Fredrick is not doing his job, as an integrator and assassin he hunts for Seraphina. He believes Seraphina is in hiding, fearing he may kill her if he finds her. She may be right. When he locates an innocent woman injured in a fire that Seraphina ignited, he brings her to his home and locks her in the basement. Cassia has amnesia but Fredrick is convinced she holds the key to finding Seraphina and will stop at nothing to unlock her secrets. Cassia slowly becomes a bright light that dims the darkness for Fredrick and the tale that unfolds is mind blowing. Holy twisted tales my friends!
I should loathe Fredrick; the man is a cold, heartless bastard who takes pleasure in inflicting pain, but Redmerski slowly peels back his layers revealing the tortured soul behind the cruel facade. Cassia seems meek at first, and I attributed her feelings and emotions to Stockholm syndrome but I was wrong, so wrong. Characters from the previous novels are present, and we work a couple of side cases with Fredrick and the team. We also learn of overall arc developments making me eager for more.
The Swan & the Jackal was brilliantly paced with twists and turns that shocked me, ripped my heart out and made my jaw drop. The last 40% of my listening experience continued into the wee hours of the morning because there was no way I was stopping. Fredrick’s story is far from over and maybe I am sick, but I cannot wait for more.
Fans of dark, gritty, complicated romances wrapped in the world of assassins for hire will find The Swan & the Jackal to be a brilliant addition to the In the Company of Killers series. Redmerski has this incredible gift for bringing these dark, damaged characters to life and weaving them around your heart.