Review: How to Shield an Assassin (Unholy Trifecta #1) by A.J. Sherwood

Rating: 4.5🌈

When I find a author I love , I’m like someone who’s been given a wonderful gift! So it’s with an unbridled enthusiasm that I attack everything in their catalog!

That’s the manner in which I came upon A.J. Sherwood’s Unholy Trifecta series! Honestly I wish I had more control because I binge read them all in one night.


But what a great night that was!

Each book gives a very memorable team member their happy ever after.

It sort of reads like a off bar joke..

There was an assassin, a thief, and a hacker…..

But in this case they form a found family….of criminals.

First up is Malvagio . Italian for Wicked. Also known as Ari Benelli, expert assassin.

When we meet him, he’s completing a job in Memphis and being followed. But the surprise is who is following him. It’s a 8-year old girl. One who’s been badly beaten.

The child abuse in the story has already occurred. We see the results scattered across the child’s face and body. Our imaginations fill in the rest.

This is also our first meeting with the girl who will become the glue to pull together the found family that’s to come. She’s Remi. Or will become Remi.

Events escalate quickly as Ari acquires a daughter and Remi a dad. I’ll let the reader find out how.

One aspect of this story is that the emotional damage Remi has experienced is never made light of. Throughout the story, her actions and words , which indicate to others that she’s still deeply traumatized , are taken notice of. And it’s mentioned that she’s in need of more help then they are giving her. I think that such a responsibility to show that the damage inflicted by child abuse doesn’t just vanish because they’ve been given a better living situation.

Kudos to the author here for that aspect of the story and her character.

The other members of the found family are folded in, Eidolon or Ivan the thief, and K or Kyou the Hacker. We get a great feeling and read on all of them through their interactions with the new family of Ari and Remi.

As all that is happening, so is the overall story arc of of art theft and new character intro of mercenary, Carter Harrison. That’s Ari’s love interest and he’s a wonderful one.

Carter’s a grand character who’s chemistry with the walled up Ari is perfect. This couple is so able to pull you into their world it’s hard to remember, one’s a mercenary and the other an assassin, with a daughter.

The crime is complicated, well thought out, and intelligent. I loved reading it and could see it acted out on screen. It’s a white knuckle hold your breath deal!

The ending was a little soft as I kept thinking something else was going to happen. But it’s just as well. Because the author has plans for it later on.

Suspense, humor, pathos, relationship dynamics that resonates…Sherwood put it all out there… in a criminal found family.

What a great suspenseful story and fantastic romance! Love the couple and found family, especially Remi.

Add this book and series to your TBR list. I’m highly recommending them.

Oh, make sure to read the short after the ending. It’s Remi’s POV on that night. Stunning.

Unholy Trifecta series:

✓ How to Shield an Assassin #1

✓ How To Steal a Thief #2

✓ How to Hack a Hacker #3

Now live on Amazon!


It’s not stealing if you’re stealing it back….

Ari had a game plan for life. Shoot people. Get money. Hang out with fellow criminal friends. He saw absolutely no reason to change that plan until one dark night in Memphis, when a little girl reached out to him with pocket change and a desperate plea for him to help her.

Adopting an abused little girl off the streets was, needless to say, not part of the plan.

Ari has no idea what to do with an eight year old. Things get more complicated when a mercenary, Carter Harrison, approaches him with a job. He needs Ari’s expertise to get into the very high-security museum and steal back Monet’s “Water Lily Pond.”

The job isn’t an easy one. It will take more than the two of them to make it happen. The situation is further complicated because Ari’s not sure what to do with his new daughter while working this job. And for that matter, how’s he supposed to handle the sexy mercenary?


Not child safe but child approved, children know best, Remi approves this book, idiots in love, but Remi loves them anyway, criminals make the best uncles, family of choice, Ari acknowledges Remi as the smarter one, Carter admits his own insanity, nothing blows up, Ivan is very disappointed by this, Kyou has PLANS for Remi, licking solves all problems, bedsheets, lifeskills, children should come with warning labels, it’s not stealing if you’re stealing it BACK, right?, the author once again regrets nothing

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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