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The Killings Begin by Bradley Pay

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Published: June 25, 2022

Bradley Pay

Pages: 334

Genre: Thriller

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Bradley Pay is the pen name for Robin Bradley and Jody Leber-Pay. These close friends bond over their love of storytelling, spinning elaborate contemporary fiction novels that defy genre norms and keep readers on their toes. Robin’s love of writing stems from her family, who first inspired her to write poetry, and Jody’s passion for problem-solving and leaving her comfort zone inspires their continued collaborations. When Robin and Jody are not creating their sinister Spectrum Series, Robin loves to cook, and Jody spends her free time hiking and golfing.

Gia Delgado flips her life upside down when she escapes from her arranged marriage and moves to Madrid. Finally, she can live the life she wants… if only it were that easy. When she realizes the lifestyle she craves is just out of reach, she enters into a contract with three complicated men. In exchange for an apartment and stipend, she’ll pretend to be their “no strings” wife, whether they want to display her in public or lead her to the bedroom. There are vital rules, though: They are all bound to secrecy, and no one is allowed to fall in love.

If you think you know what comes next, excuse me… you’re wrong.

Gia doesn’t know it yet, but someone sinister is destined to tear her life to shreds. From the outside, Tracey Lauch looks like the adopted son of a perfect high-society family. Who wouldn’t trust him? He works in the justice system, sits on his family’s art museum board, and even establishes a foster home to keep siblings together. These appearances mean nothing. As he tries to cope with his abandonment trauma, a reconnection to his past triggers him, and he loses control with deadly consequences. Now a serial killer, Tracey panics. Fleeing to Europe, he hopes that a change of venue will quell his murderous desires. Can he heal his past, or will his anger and pain enslave him forever?

“I want to make the world beautiful.”

After escaping an arranged marriage, young Gia finds herself living in Madrid, where she doesn’t know anyone except her best friend, Mari. After meeting a group of friends in a local bar, Gia makes a crazy offer that will benefit her and the men she’s just met. Tracey is a legacy, living up to the promise of his Southern upbringing. He has always felt like a piece of him was missing, and just when he thinks he has found it- something dark takes over. Now, Tracey is living his life with a secret.

I enjoyed this novel. I liked the alternating storylines and the way the timeline moved. It kept things fresh without getting tedious.

The characters were all given strong introductions, and immediately we see connections between the group. Gia, Mari, Raul, Joseph, and Sal live their lives, making memories and finding adventure.

I predicted how things would connect, but I’m not disappointed. I was impressed that I was right and that the story worked so well. I wish we had spent more time getting to know Tracey and his novel, and he is going to be a big piece of the series, and his features were limited.

I assume that has been done on purpose, as this was book one of the series. I enjoyed the descriptions of life in Madrid. The Peacock was described in such vivid detail that the building is a character in its own way.

I enjoyed Gia and her trajectory as she progressed throughout the story. She started young and maybe a little naive, but she knew who she was, and she was not afraid to embrace it.

I liked Mari and the fact that she was realistic. She was also the only character able to put Gia in her place when necessary, and she did so out of love.

Joseph was delightful, loyal, and genuine. When he found Anusha, he was scared to hurt Gia with the truth. He was a great balanced character, bringing peacefulness to the group.

Sal was a complicated character. Hardworking, ambitious, and driven. He was motivated, perhaps not always by the right things, and turned to drugs and alcohol to help him maintain his image. I found his descriptions of his addiction described like a dance and felt it was handled with respect.

Raul was the most genuine and vulnerable character for me. We get to know him quickly, and he continues to captivate your heart. When David is added to the mix, you can feel the happiness radiating from the pages.

I loved the side characters, Sasha and Kisho, Lee and Fong, and for the brief time she is featured, Charlotte. The balance they brought was lovely.

This was a solid introduction to the series and a well-done debut. I am interested to see where this story leads, and I am dying to have answers!

Thank you, Robin and Jody, for sending me a copy of this special novel. I truly cannot express how amazing it is to have you share your book baby with me. I am excited to display my (signed!) copy on my bookshelf, and I look forward to reading for you ladies again.

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