A Chaos Moondrawn Review: By Way of Pain – Criminal Delights: Assassins by J.M. Dabney

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is part of the Criminal Delights series, which are standalones by different authors revolving around dark themes. Pay attention to the trigger warnings. This book is about a lawyer named Cowan Kingley, who is a hired assassin. The reader sees him at different ages to establish him as not quite right, and much of the book is in his first person POV. The reader also gets the first person POV of the man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and ends up kidnapped instead of killed. The key here is the why of it. What would make an assassin not kill a witness right away?

The warnings say dubcon, but I would say this is noncon. The Stockholm Syndrome contributes to the confusion. As a virgin with no experience, the captive has never had the chance to find out what he likes. Once Conway starts with the humiliation, whipping, spanking, choking, and breath play…his captive realizes he likes it. I don’t think this will convince anyone who isn’t predisposed to liking this sort of book. The book really has two acts. The first half is more intimate with just the two of them. The second half has John Wick style action sequences. While the whole book is actually effective, well written, and way more entertaining than it should be with a satisfying conclusion…there is a major issue.

Although Conway thinks of himself as a sociopath and has studied human psychology, I can’t agree since he is able to become obsessed, possessive, and caring–genuinely caring as the reader knows his POV–towards his captive. In the thank you note at the end, the author calls him a psychopath. These are not interchangeable words; they are two different things. One lacks empathy and the other lacks conscience, but neither would care about anyone else, let alone fall in love. This is the downfall of the book. If you are willing to ignore clinical definitions of these mental illnesses and suspend disbelief, it is well done for what it is.

The cover by was done by Natasha Snow. The covers of the whole series are stylized and match

Sales Links:  Amazon | Universal Link: books2read.com/CriminalDelights-Pain

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 166 pages
Published May 20th 2019 by Hostile Whispers Press, LLC
ASINB07PKQZ23C
Edition Language English