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Feature book: The Payback

7 December 2022

The Payback by Julie Weaver

Series: Team Zulu #2
Subgenre: romantic suspense
Release date: 26 May 2022
Publisher: self-published
Format: ebook and print
Length: 351 pages
RRP: $4.99 (ebook, KU); $21.94 (print)

This is book two in the Team Zulu books, and my first Julie Weaver.

We have a wounded but feisty heroine and the computer nerd/hacker hunk who falls for her as he saves her from being mowed down by a motorcycle on the day he’s moving into her building.

Set in Philadelphia, Sage and Brandon’s story gets intense mighty quickly.

Sage has spent the past three years staking out a bar where the Wolf Street Mafia has its headquarters. She’s trying to find out who killed her boyfriend, Kieran, three years ago.

She thinks she hasn’t been noticed.

The 2IC of the Mafia—and heir-apparent—pays her a visit. His sidekick is his hulking Russian foster-brother, and while she’s trained and trained, Sage is no match for the Russian though she gets a few shots in.

Dante, from the Mafia, lets her know she’s been caught staking them out and now she’s ‘his’ and will work for him. Rock meet hard place. Sage has no choice if she’s to keep searching and keep her flatmate safe from the lunatics running the Mafia.

Muscles, aka Brandon, is on a mission to find out how his sister died. Their lines of enquiry intersect with the Wolf Street Mafia. Brandon is an alpha male with a gentle side. He’s also mighty cocky and annoying and keeps sticking his nose into Sage’s business. The attraction is pretty strong, pretty quickly but Sage won’t go there again. She couldn’t bear to be the cause of another lost life. He can’t bear to see her hurt and is willing to abandon his plans to save her.

This Mafia is into lots of things and they’re a pretty awful lot. Revenge is coming for them though and they aren’t going to like it.

Once Sage and Brandon team up and start working in earnest, there is a lot of action and death (so please check trigger warnings before you read) but they’re mostly satisfying deaths. That says it all really. I was pretty happy to see what happened to the rotters in the Mafia and those they were blackmailing or owned because of their own dirty dealings. It’s like cheering for the serial killer, Dexter, because the people he killed deserved it. Vigilantes and how we react to them is a discussion all on its own, isn’t it?

While I did enjoy it as a standalone book, I think reading book 1 may have helped in building the story, so I’m off to find that one.

reviewed by Sharon

A review copy of this book was provided by the author.

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