Dark Hunter is the fourth book in the Zeta Cartel Series, but can be read as a standalone.
Once Rip Marston’s family was tragically murdered, he took it amongst himself to get revenge. Working as a stealth killer for over a decade for various criminal enterprises, he is the best of the best that doesn’t exist. After saving Arturo Vasquez’s life, he’s offered everything he’s been looking for: a home, protection, and plenty of opportunities to let his inner-monster out. His hopes for stability are challenged when he comes across a barely alive woman in his garden. Is she just going to slow him down and make his façade impossible to maintain, or could he actually use her to his advantage?
This is one of my more favorite stories by A.J. Adams, but the execution was too flawed for me to really like it. The format and organization was often sloppy, making it hard to follow the timeline. There were obvious inconsistencies that should’ve been an easy pickup for a proofreader: IE An alias Rip uses goes from Benton to Benson in a matter of three pages. There’s a ton of inner monologue that just repeats and repeats that dragged the plot. But my biggest issue was the constant use of British expressions and terminology by American characters. For example: Use of the word ‘torch’ rather than ‘flashlight’ by Morgan, a Texan. An author shouldn’t write a character from a different culture if you can’t get it accurate.
Aside from some creatively descriptive murders, this book isn’t very dark. Rip constantly hems and haws about his horrible treatment of Morgan, but other than some threats, he doesn’t actually mistreat her. The author had a cartel boss and a hitman repeatedly saying ‘ohmigod’. I’m supposed to fear these characters, yet a lot of their dialogue just seemed like high school girls playing a role.
The book is pretty light on the romance. The connection between Rip and Morgan came out of nowhere. There was little buildup and actually, very few intimate scenes with them together that didn’t go to black. I just didn’t get enough of them alone together without the influence of having to play a role for the cartel for me to absorb their genuine feelings for each other.
If only an editor (or a better one) had a hand in the story, it would’ve been much more impressive. Instead, I felt like I wasted half of the book just figuring out what I was reading.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.