Trey: European Redemption is the seventh book in the Russian Mob Chronicles by Shandi Boyes. This book is definitely one of Shandi Boyes’ more disturbing stories. The story both unsettled and intrigued me at the same time. There were parts that made me incredibly uncomfortable with what was playing out and times I really wanted to close the book and walk away. I cannot honestly say that it is my favourite story of hers- but it definitely stirred quite a lot of reactions from me- tossing my emotions around like they were nothing but a rag doll. So, I do have to give her props for that.
This book has played on my mind a lot since I finished reading it, and has had me mulling over how I was going to review it- let alone rate it. But I think a story that can evoke so much from the reader, really does deserve some recognition. I love dark and disturbing stories- normally the darker the better. I like to have my mind twisted and my emotions toyed with. This story isn’t as dark as some that I have read and enjoyed- but there is something about it that left me uncomfortable and a little distressed. I took about eight pages of notes while reading this book- which is double what I normally do.
There are so many triggers in this book- so be warned! This is NOT a light and fluffy read. If you are looking for hearts and flowers, unicorns and rainbows- then this is definitely NOT the book for you. This story is NOT for the faint of heart. It is NOT a romance in the true sense of the word. So, let me make it clear- this is a Russian Mob/Mafia romance- with graphic violence, drug use/abuse/addiction, sex trafficking/exploitation/rape, violence towards women, swearing, brutality, torture, guns, blood, gore, and more. Trey is a dangerous unhinged Alpha Male I would class as an anti-hero, and I really wasn’t sure I was going to like him in the beginning with all his hard partying, manwhore, deadly ways. And poor Kristina has been so brutalized, held captive for years in the sex trafficking industry, so used and abused- my heart broke (and ached) for her and what she had been through- but I also admired the strength it took to get through all that without completely losing her mind. They are both damaged and broken- but form an intense connection despite it all. Will they be able to lead each other out of the darkness? You will need to read the story if you want to find out.
This is told from a duel/alternating POV- which really allows the reader to get a full perspective of what is going on and what is going through the characters minds as the story plays out. I appreciated getting such a rounded perspective of the story. There are a few flashbacks which help to build the backstory, as well as adding to the character depth and development.
There are a few issues that I found with this book that I don’t normally find or have with Shandi Boyes books- editing issues, and storyline issues. Then there were sentences/paragraphs with double spaces between words, while the rest of the book had a single space between words. Happy to say that these issues didn’t detract from my overall reading experience.
There is a nice surprise at the end of the book in the form of a sequel (novella) which is free to download (through the link supplied at the end)- which gives us more of Trey and Kristina’s story and answers some questions we may have initially been left with.
I debated what rating to award this book given that it disturbed me so much and really did make me so uncomfortable- which is really hard to do given that I love dark reads- so I came to the conclusion that the book deserved the 5 stars just for that reason alone.
Thank you, Shandi Boyes.
Reviewed by @angelahayes