Lunatic is the latest in James’ Necessary Evils series about a group of psychopaths that were rescued/secured by a man when they were children. He raised them , with love within a family structure, to be killers. Using their natures but redirected towards a better “good”. Assassination of those determined to be criminals that slipped through the law or that were allowed to.
While every previous novel has outlined both the exact nature of the men at the center of the stories and the very complicated relationship they end up in with their lovers. Slowly in the series arc, as another agenda is revealed behind finding and nurturing young psychopaths, the books are slightly changing.
There’s questions that perhaps not all the men are psychopathic as labeled, but sociopaths. There’s discussions of nature versus nurture. And main characters that aren’t part of this system but are part of the outlier dynamics because of other associations. It brings another interesting outside element into what was a previously “closed’ family system.
Half of Lunatic’s pov is Archer Mulvaney. Archer is one of Thomas Mulvaney’s psychopaths he gathered from a institution that “saved” such traumatized children and didn’t know what to do with them. He did. We always get each man’s history at the beginning of each book. Ugly, raw, brutal. They are chilling. Because these are small children when Thomas is called to see them.
And yes, trigger warnings apply. As they will throughout the book. This is dark fiction.
Mackenzie Shepherd, wildlife photographer, brother to a brother psychopath and with a mother, Dr.Shepard, who’s specializes in Psychopathic behavior, is the second pov.
Together they are combustible. They have been hooking up since a Las Vegas meeting, and it’s only one of Archer’s many secrets he’s keeping from his family.
While the other , it’s hard to know what to call them, certainly not romances or love affairs since most of the psychopaths here have a limited or literally unknowable ability to feel love, it might be termed obsession or bond with their significant others. Or as one of the emotional halves puts it, their crazies match.
You got that with the others. Here it’s a bit of a longer road, especially when midway you narratively end up in what is usually in a rom-com storyline thread.
Of course, that goes sideways in the manner of this series, but the tilt in couple and format is just enough to make this a off kilter installment from the others while still playing within the overall arc theme.
Mac and Archer’s relationship , it’s impact upon the family, and possible repercussions, is expanding the series storylines and bringing in new mysteries. It’s doing this while keeping it’s core of Mulvaney siblings and mates intact.
I loved seeing some of my favorites here, the twins Asa and Avi, and their spectacular mates , Zane and Felix respectively. Watching the foursome arrive in the desert was hilarious. I hadn’t realized how perfectly realized this quartet of bonded killers were. How in sync their characters were now perfected. Honestly, I think I need another book with just these four.
But it’s still Archer and Mac’s story. Combined with a heartbreaking tale of sexual trafficking and child abuse. No matter what twist and turns you get, this is still very dark fiction about killers and the worst of criminals.
We have a settled Archer and Mac but are set up with a bit of a cliffhanger for the next story. That’s Maniac, and it’s the story for Thomas Mulvaney, father and head psychopath , and Aiden, the adopted son he disowned.
Until then, if dark, disturbing fiction is your thing, I’m recommending Unnecessary Evils. Read them in order to understand family history and dynamics.
Read the trigger warnings.
Necessary Evils series:
🔹Mad Man #5
🔹Maniac #7 – January 17, 2023
Every psychopath in the Mulvaney family has a role to play. Archer Mulvaney is the gambler, a drunken reprobate making his living as a high-stakes poker player. Very few people know the real Archer, not even his brothers. But there is one man who knows far too much.
Mackenzie Shepherd spends his days photographing endangered wildlife. He’s also the brother of a sociopath and son to the woman who literally wrote the book on raising one. When his mother asks him to head a secret government project, it seems like the perfect excuse to run away from his life.
But running from his past has Mac colliding straight into Archer. And that’s a problem. For this project to be successful, Mac and Archer have to agree on every decision, and the two see eye-to-eye on nothing. Except, maybe the sex. The sex is off the charts.
When Mac’s old life comes back to haunt him, Archer insists on putting their differences aside to help keep him safe. But Mac, like Archer, is used to solving things on his own. Can they finally stop fighting each other to find the truth, or is their relationship the next thing on the endangered species list?
Lunatic is a filthy hot, enemies to lovers, psychopath romance with an HEA and no cliffhangers. It features a sexy, roguish degenerate and a hunky bleeding heart ginger who love how much they hate each other. As always, there’s gratuitous violence, very dark humor, more blood than a slaughterhouse, and enough heat to melt your metaphorical undies. This is book six in the Necessary Evils series. Each book follows a different couple.
Unless it’s noted, all books reviewed have been purchased by the reviewer.