Rating: 5 stars out of 5 ★★★★★
Agent Lucky Lucklighter and his partner escaped Mexico alive, only to plunge into bureaucratic fallout from their mission. Hell, maybe Lucky should have stayed south of the border. Especially when the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau places Bo into rehab, and Lucky’s facing both therapy and an inquiry into a fatal shooting. Watching over his shoulder for a vengeful drug lord or a cartel don calling in favors leaves him scarcely able to imagine a future for them as agents, or as a couple.
Bo Schollenberger once had a vision for their life together, but he’s bowed beneath the weight of his undercover work. Lucky’s hanging on by his deeply chewed fingernails, clinging to hope by making Bo’s dreams of a home into reality. The last thing he needs is a phone call from a dangerous man who knows too much, summoning him back to Mexico for “an early Christmas present.”
Not when the SNB brass asks tough questions, like “How well do you know your partner?”
I am so in love with this book that if I had a copy in paperback I would be drawing little hearts all over it like a schoolgirl. You know, those big fat ones drawn with pink or red markers. Silly? You bet. Heartfelt? Absolutely.
You see this is the book I needed to read after all the pain and anguish that Eden Winters put Lucky and Bo through in Manipulation. Boy, was that a tough book to read. Beautifully written, brutally realistic, gritty and painful. And it left the boys in a dark and wounded place.
Now comes their recovery. We see how Bo and Lucky are dealing with the physical and emotional aftermath of the events in Mexico and their situation is devastating at every level. As it should be. Again the author doesn’t try to sugar coat what those events cost Bo. Forced with drug addiction again, then the pain of withdrawal, the struggle for sobriety and then to face how he felt under the influence and then after. Winters lets this overwhelming tide of fury,pain, and remorse pour over her readers as well as Bo and Lucky. Its effect is immediate and heartrending.
In addition to having Bo in pain, there is the trauma of killing a human being that Lucky has to deal with. So many issues that strike at the core of who these men think they are with the potential to shatter those images. As can be imagined the cost to Bo and Lucky’s relationship is high as well. For them to get themselves back together as a couple and as partners is struggle that we are as emotionally invested in as they are because we have seen what is has taken for them to trust each each and get to the stage that each is ready for a permanent, lasting relationship, one neither thought they would ever have. It has taken four books, bloodshed, and a ton of bullets and name changes!
Redemption is a more relationship/character driven story than either of the books that came before. And while I love those novels, I loved this even more because it concentrated on Bo and Lucky’s relationship as well as Lucky’s mental health. Sometimes Lucky’s mental state gets overlooked when dealing with Bo’s frailties but not this time. Eden Winters adds in some remarkable elements. One, a new character named Moose. Won’t spoil who Moose is but prepare to fall in love. Secondly, Lucky gets a bestie. Yes, I know Bo is Lucky’s best friend as well as lover but sometimes Lucky needs someone more and here he gets it in a character I just plain out adore. In fact, Rett’s so damn wonderful I could see her getting her own story and fan following. Rett is 6 feet of tattooed attitude magic! We’ve seen her before but here in Redemption she snarks, sizzles, punches and comes to life in a way that makes you love her.
This story while lacking the action/suspense makes up for it in the sheer emotional heft, depth and beauty of Bo and Lucky’s slow rebuilding of themselves and their relationship to the stage they can go forward once more. Winter’s dialog snaps and sings with the colloquialisms and thoughts that make staying in Lucky’s head such a mesmerizing journey and often so much fun. I often find myself wanting to pull up a chair next to Delores, grab an extra cat or two and watch the goings on along with her. These characters long ago stopped being paper beings and become people I cared about.
Then at the end, Eden Winters delivers the final cherry on top and ties up one more loose plot thread in a way that’s so satisfying, so fabulous I was quite beside myself. The best news yet? There are three more books planned for the series and the next is called Reunion!
Haven’t read any of Eden Winters Diversion series? Don’t start here. They need to be read in order because the relationship are slow to develop and the events follow a specific time line. I highly recommend them all.
Cover art by L. C. Chase. I like this new cover. Modern and crisp.
Expected publication: August 8th 2015 by Rocky Ridge Books (first published August 2015)
Diversion Series in the order they were written and should be read:
- Diversion (Diversion #1) – review here
- Collusion (Diversion #2) – review here
- Corruption (Diversion #3) | Review
- Manipulation (Diversion #4) | Review
- Redemption (Diversion #5