by Tillie Cole
There are some books that span genre’s that allow me the opportunity to discuss my passion with likeminded individuals without ever giving a second thought to how they may perceive either the content and/or characters of the books and my reaction to them, I mean there are definitely some stories that I ain’t going to be rushing out to discuss with either my mother or my daughter and god forbid if my old man picked up my kindle, he would have a hissy fit!
But not with Raze, This is one of those books that I just have the need to tell everyone about, one that needs me to sing its praises and one that deserves to be that topic of discussion because the book is astonishing, words fail me!
Centred around the world of the Russian Mob and their fight to the death underground club, from the first paragraph on the first page you will become completely absorbed in the life of “Raze”, and holy shit what a life or no existence is probably a more definitive term for the years he has endured at the hands of the guards at the Gulag for a crime that he didn’t commit.
Torn from his family as a teenager, accused of a crime that was manufactured to insure his demise, Raze the only son of one of New York’s three Russian mafia bosses, found that as bad as he could ever have imagined life to be, his imagination would have never prepared him for what he was about to experience because believed dead by all those that he loved, He was abandoned to hell and learnt quickly that in order to survive he had to become the monster they designed him to be, kill or be killed.
With over 600 kills under his belt a fortuitous event resulted in him escaping, he had one thing on his mind… to find Alik Durov and to extract his revenge... he knew that Durov needed to die.
Raze just had to remember why?
Memories had been stripped from him but while drugs and beatings had achieved that while he had been in the gulag, now he was free and on the streets of Brooklyn, the flashbacks were becoming more and more frequent and when he happens across Kisa in an alley one night, something deep within him tells him that he has to protect her, without a single thought he saves her from being attacked, killing her assailant in the process.
There is something about them from that very first meeting that pulled me into their story and had me rooting from them.
I mean the picture that the author had already painted of Alik was hardly one to endear him to the reader, he was verging of psychopathic, his need for Kisa was nothing short of barbaric and his treatment of not only her but those around him, smacked of him definitely having a few sandwiches short in his picnic basket (he really was barking mad!!!)
The story or the kicker in the story is apparent early on, I mean it is clear who Raze really is, and you know that he is going to have to face Alik at some point in the ring and that only one of them will survive.
It is apparent that the connection between Raze and Kisa is as strong as ever but what Tillie Cole has down to a very fine art is the fact that she carefully and very cleverly weaves her magic over the story and piece by piece slowly wraps the characters around your subconscious, burrowing them under your skin and anchoring them so deep into your soul that letting them go is not an option.
The context of this story was one that was played out on the most masculine of stages or should I say rings but the crux of the story was intensely personal, deeply private and beautifully romantic.
Here were two souls who had belonged together since the day Kisa was born, I thought it was beautiful that Raze (not is birth name I know but you will learn that when you read the book) had lent over Kisa’s crib and asked her mother is he could have her, could she be his- I meant OMG how cute!
I loved the fact that this powerful and brutal family accepted that the tiny patch of her sky blue eye colour that was present in his eyes, was enough for them to believe that God had meant for them to be together.
But cruel forces were at work, enemies within that had other plans, had jealousies that would not be denied and that were prepared to stop at nothing to insure that their needs and desires took precedence.
But Raze and Kisa, while they drew breath were always going to find their way back to each other because whenever they were within touching distance of each other they were like magnets the pull to be together was too strong and with her he could finally make sense of the flashbacks, Kisa opened his heart and unlocked the mysteries of who Raze really was and what had happened to him.
My heart sunk when he had no idea what Love was, when they were finally together and it was painfully obvious that he didn’t know how to make love to her, the fact that he had been abused in every sense of the word while in the gulag was difficult to comprehend and the impact that this had on this emotionally immature but battered and broken man was astounding.
The fortitude that he found to endure the events that would have broken even the strongest of individuals had my head in a spin and my heart looking for the next opportunity to start beating again.
I needed Raze to find his revenge and I considered that Alik deserved it all or so I thought but to be honest I had a morsel of sympathy at the end when it became apparent that to some extent he was a puppet at the hands of those who were charged with protecting him most.
This is a fabulous read, one that should be accepted as being beautifully brutal.
Yes it is about fight to the death matches, it features a man that thinks nothing of using an abusing his partner for nothing other than his pleasure, it is hard, uncompromising and bloody but underneath it all it is so much more…it is gentle, romantic and completely encapsulating because it shows that as humans were are capable of acts that will not only abhor but astonish, ones that will both repulse and captivate and above all it will lay foul to the misconception that your head will ever be able to overrule your heart… because hands down HEART WINS EVERY TIME!!!
This book has it all and in spades but it can be summed up in just one word- Awesome!