Review: Paladin (Jericho’s Boys Book One) by Onley James

Rating: 4.5🌈

Onley James writes dark fiction about bad things that have happened to young boys, often sexually abused and traumatized children. Let’s get that out of the way first. That’s not your jam? This is not your book.

However, such triggering subject matter is handled by James in ways I consider respectful to those children and adults who are still struggling with the emotional damage that abuse has inflicted . Also responsibly because of the treatments and doctors those victims in James’ series go on to receive help from. Aside from the murderous revenge, of course.

And the abuses they’ve suffered and endured is off page. Or done/described in such a way that we never see the actual atrocities. Just the rooms or a few items that suggest what they went through.

Sometimes the rooms are just too much to handle. Empty as they are. Read all warnings.

But books like Paladin are also about saving, recovery, healing, learning, and moving forward with a new relationship and found family.

Even if it’s a large and rather unique family of murder muppets and psychopaths.

Jericho’s Boys starts the series of stories about the found family of abused teenagers that Jericho Navarro, a vigilante, gathered together under his protection. They became a family, then part of the billionaire murderous Mulvaney clan, when Jericho married Atticus Mulvaney (Moonstruck (Necessary Evils Book 3).

As with all James books, we start off with violence. A mission to take down a child trafficking ring yields a surprise.

I love we’re really getting a chance to dive deeper into the personalities of people we’ve been seeing for books now.

Arsen “Arseny” Lebedev is one of those. He works in Jericho’s garage with the others during the day, then out on missions at night. He’s passionate, caring, and, unexpectedly, not a psychopath. Arsen’s a wonderful character who gets deeper and more knowable once he meets Ever.

Ever. The glue and focus of this story. The boy in the box. Everything about this character, starting with his name, will pull at your heart. This is his book, the others, including Arsen, however strongly, exist to help Ever step out, discover, learn, explore, experience, love , and find a family.

Be brave to walk by himself.

After enduring untold pain, suffering, and abuse.

There’s plenty of sex. That’s worked in a realistic way, considering his background.

And yes, lots of murderous things. Revenge and death. Bad guys don’t get to go free. I knew it would happen when I picked up a Onley James story.

Paladin (Jericho’s Boys Book One) by Onley James is a fantastic book and great beginning to a new series. I do think a reader should read Necessary Evils as a foundation for the knowledge and relationships that are apparent throughout this series.

I’m highly recommending this!

Jericho’s Boys:

✓ Paladin #1

◦ Rogue #2 – Feb 13, 2024

*Necessary Evils (7 book series) – this is the foundation series for Jericho’s Boys. Many ,if not all , of the couples and characters from this series play important roles in Jericho’s Boy books. So it helps to have read the books first.

Buy Link:

Paladin (Jericho’s Boys Book 1)


Arseny Lebedev lives a normal life. During the day, he’s a mechanic. At night, he livestreams a fairy tale video game called Paladin. And sometimes—only sometimes—he kills people. But they all deserve it.

Ever doesn’t know his last name. He doesn’t know much of anything. Most of his life has been torture, bought and sold by a woman who calls herself his mother. He’s resigned himself to a life of servitude, until he meets Arsen.

The moment Arsen sees Ever, they’re bonded. Ever is both fragile and feral, willing to defend himself with any tool at his disposal, even teeth. Arsen is color and light, a beacon in Ever’s darkness, as brave as the knight in the game he plays.

Arsen protects Ever fiercely, but just when he feels safe, someone attempts to drag him back to his old life, reminding him that reality isn’t fairy tales or video games. He knows staying puts Arsen in danger. But Arsen insists they’re safer together. Can Ever truly have his happily ever after or is it game over?

Paladin is a hurt-comfort, dark romance with an HEA and no cliffhangers. It features a vigilante twitch-streamer and the beautiful but feral gremlin he saves from a life of misery. As with any Onley book, you’ll find dark humor, steamy sexy times, and gratuitous violence against people who totally deserve it. This is book 1 in the Jericho’s Boys series. Each book follows a different couple.

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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