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  • Pretty much perfect!

    Review originally published in Romancing Romances. I loved this book so much I couldn’t even write the review when I finished as I was so excited I couldn’t keep still enough to actually sit in front of a computer. When I finished The Devil of Downtown my first thought was… I want to read it again! That’s how much I loved it. I’ve always loved a bad boy who is good for his love and/or has a heart of gold. Jack Mulligan… doesn’t have a heart of gold, but he does like Justine and he doesn’t want to see her hurt. Jack Mulligan “rules” downtown New York. His character is based on a real man, Paul Kelly. Jack’s look is based on Vincent Piazza, who plays Lucky Luciano on the tv series Boardwalk Empire, which the author, Joanna Shupe, has mentioned she used as an inspiration for Jack. For fans of the series Pecky Blinders, Jack is also quite similar to Tommy Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy. And if Jack Mulligan is the devil of downtown, Justine is the do-gooder, the angel. While he deals in favours, blackmail, and balance of power, she deals in the business of helping people just because they need it. Justine works at an institution where she helps women whose husbands abandoned them and their children either return, or pay retribution. It’s in her work that she meets Jack, as one of the men employed by him abandoned his wife, and kids. Jack doesn’t like having someone talking to his employers, and he makes a deal with Justine that this man will pay to support his wife and children, if she owes him a favour, which he can collect at any point. She hates not knowing what might happen, but she has no other choice. Jack respects Justine because she stands her ground, she challenges him – and she is able to do this because she knows Jack does not hurt women or children. She believes he will not break his “code”, but still Jack thinks she is incredible just by behaving like that. You go Justine! All throughout the book there is this motto that Jack will corrupt Justine, that he’s a spider and will get her stuck in his web without her noticing. And, in a way… that does happen. But Justine realizes what happened and she didn’t like the person she was becoming. It was a heartbreaking scene. Have I mentioned I cried in this book? More than once, actually. But I still loved it! They had such an amazing chemistry, Jack exudes sexiness, and Justine, whom most people considered plain, was like an avenging angel, and had this sexual energy that just appealed so much to Jack. I know some people will not be happy with the end… but for me it was perfect. Because they both acknowledge that for them to be together, things have to change, at least slightly. Although I’m an only child, I really connected with Justine, and understood her very well. And Jack just connected with me in all the right ways. The sisters of the previous books are also in The Devil of Downtown, but I paid almost no attention to them. They were just plot points to make us understand Justine better, in my opinion. I just loved this book so much, the essence of New York, and blackmail, and the power, and the sexiness.. It was pretty much perfect.

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