That’s the only memory he carries from a childhood he does not remember. And now it is all he knows. Blood is his life.
Knox Bishop has done a lot of horrible things, all at the command of the man who holds his leash. It’s a matter of loyalty for him. Allegiance to the man who saved his life when he was a child. So he goes where he is needed and does what he is told. He tortures. He kills. He kills. He tortures. It is an unrelenting cycle that he constantly craves and can never quite satisfy.
Eighteen year old Lacey Barnes distributes her assets to fund her dreams. Medical school is the end game and she is determined to get there by any means necessary. But a family member’s careless mistake derails her plans and now she must pay a price in order to save him.
She goes to Knox willingly offering him the only valuable thing she has. Herself. In doing so he allows her into his world, a world filled with darkness but rather than being scared it intrigues her. It lures her, calls to something in her that she hadn’t known existed until he awakened it.
Every bit of his flaws is reflected in her and Knox will do anything to keep her in the darkness with him.
I’m not what you would call normal. The word has no meaning to me. But I’ve been pretending to act normal. It’s something I’ve been practicing since I’ve been aware of the thrum and its significance in my life. I was seven when I first heard the lullaby. Second grade, just before recess. It happened in a squall. Nothing and then all at once. I remember everything about that day. The bell rang and the other children went to play. Not me. Never me. I always stayed behind, mostly by choice, but never contested because the other children thought I was weird. I think maybe they unconsciously knew that I was lacking something fundamental. Something they all had and I didn’t, and maybe even never had at all. Whatever it was, I was alienated, excluded from their games. But I couldn’t say it bothered me. I was indifferent to it. Katia would sometimes play with me. Yuri’s youngest daughter, my adoptive sister, kept me company when she wasn’t with her own friends. But she’d been home sick that day.
In the small classroom with its oversized, rainbow-colored letters hanging over the chalkboard and tiled number blocks littering the carpeted floor, I sat in the beanbag chair staring fixatedly at the class pet. Sweet Ms. Devon always stayed with me but she’d left for a moment. A moment to heat her lunch. A moment to speak to a fellow staff member in the teachers’ lounge. But it’d been a moment too long for me. The noise in my head had been too loud. The urge too strong. The pink-eyed little rabbit, Mr. Apples, and the yellow pair of scissors sitting blades down in Ms. Devon’s “Best Teacher” mug had been too much of a temptation for me to resist.
The pounding of my heart. The lullaby and the thrum. The latch had given way beneath my shaking fingers, soaked with apprehension and anticipation. The struggle. The frantic movement of something living, something warm, with the same accelerated heartbeat as mine grappling for life. Desperate for freedom even while knowing the inevitable hand of death loomed was intoxicating. The thrill, the excitement, the sweet seductive power. I swam in it. Like too much candy on Halloween. Too much ice cream in the summer. It had been a quick death for Mr. Apples. It had been crude. Amateurish. But ever so effective in quieting the discord of my mind.
Poor, sweet Ms. Devon came to find me on the floor of the overly-bright classroom. Huddled on the floor, covered in Mr. Apples. She’d been one to smile a lot. But I stole her smile that day and replaced it with horror instead. Her pretty features contorted like a Kabuki mask.
* A review copy was provided by the author for the Blog Tour *
~~ 4 Disturbing Stars ~~
After reading this book, I have to think to myself….how am I able to give this book 4 stars when it was so absolutely disturbing….and all I can say is that even though it will push every limit you have….the writing was flawless. Francette Phal has created such a dark, raw, and gritty story, you can’t help but like this book. Now don’t get me wrong just because I liked the book and her writing doesn’t mean I liked the characters much.
I am having such a hard time with this review, because I want to warn all the readers out there, just how disturbing this book is but I also think that gives too much of the story away. I refuse to write spoilers in my reviews, so with that, just be WARNED this book is very dark and will push your reading limits to the wall. I thought my limits were pushed with the Dark Duet and Caleb, but I have to say Knox and Flawed by far exceeded those limits. I knew going into this book that is was a dark and raw book and storyline, but I couldn’t even imagine all that happens in this book. This book is DEFINITELY NOT for everyone. There are many factors to the storyline that will be SEVERE triggers for people. If you are a person who has triggers while reading certain story lines and scenes, then I would say that this book isn’t for you.
This book also ends on a Cliffhanger…one that will have you begging for the next book NOW!!!! Even with my limits pushed I am totally looking forward to the next book, because I am interested to see how the author handles this cliffhanger. I see some really interesting things happening in the future for these characters. I am in all honesty hoping we get to see a HEA for Knox and Lacey, but I really can’t see how that will happen.
Lacey is an 18 year high school student by day and a prostitute by night. She has a deadbeat mom and a loser brother, but for some reason she is extremely loyal to them. They get into a lot of trouble and Lacey feels she needs to bail them out….hence the prostitution 🙁 I felt bad for Lacey, but I also felt someone needed to smack her upside the head and say WAKE UP!!!! This loyalty is what gets her mixed up with Knox (the psycho) I thought Caleb was bad, WOW let me just say Knox puts him to shame. It’s weird but I don’t hate Knox but I’m not in love with him either. I think I am just trying to figure out if he is redeemable at all. There is something revealed towards the end of the book, that leads me to believe that he can be saved, but I guess I’ll just have to wait for the next book.
I know that this review is very vague and sounds negative, but I truly did like this book (what does that say about me???) but I truly believe this author has a gift at writing disturbing characters and story lines. If you go into it knowing what this story is about and how it will push you to your limit, then I think you can see that it really is a well written story. I also loved that she gave us 3 POV’s….Lacey, Knox and Katia (Knox’s adoptive sister) I think you need to be in all three of their heads to get the full scope of the story.
Again this book will NOT be for everyone, but if you are a fan of the Dark Duet or raw and gritty characters and stories…this is the one for you.
Francette lives in Massachusetts with her amazingly supportive husband of ten years and her darling two year old son. Reading amazing books has led her to writing and she’s dabbled in fan-fiction before self-publishing her own works. She’s constantly thinking up new stories to write and does her best work when music is playing in the background. Romance is where she’s most comfortable but she hopes to one day venture in mystery novels. She has a weakness for coffee ice cream, tropical fruits and a good glass of wine.