9/17/15

REVIEW + EXCERPT: DIRTY PROMISES BY KARINA HALLE!!!

Title: Dirty Promise
Author: Karina Halle
Release Date: AVAILABLE NOW!! 

SYNOPSIS:
Blood. Sex. Revenge.
Being king comes at a brutal price.
Drug lord Javier Bernal has sliced and diced his way to the top of the Mexican drug trade, presiding over the country's largest cartel. But his rise to power comes at a brutal price: the death of his sister, Alana. Devastated and wracked with guilt, he turns away from his new wife, Luisa, forcing their marriage into a steady decline. But it isn't until she's pushed into the waiting arms of Esteban Mendoza, his right-hand man, that Javier realizes everything he's lost.
And it isn't until he learns the truth about Alana, that he realizes everything there is to gain.
Blood will spill.
Cities will burn.
Heads will roll.
Because Javier will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants.
And what he wants is raw, ruthless revenge.
Dirty Promises is the third and final book in the Dirty Angels Trilogy. While the other two books - Dirty Angels and Dirty Deeds - can be read as standalones, it is recommended you read at least Dirty Angels before reading Dirty Promises.
PURCHASE HERE:

"...the brutality of our compound, the screams or the breaking hearts or the ending marriages or the lives full of bad choices..."

There are no happy endings within the drug cartel wars of Mexico. There is only pain and violence and the thirst for power. Sometimes there is momentary peace before the bottom falls out and blood is shed once again, the cycle of pain and violence, the struggle to survive never-ending. Dirty Promises is a love story written in blood. It's that never-ending cycle of carnage and violence, fear and bloodlust, peppered with moments of peace and hope, before hope is lost yet again. If you're looking for roses and rainbows, this is not the way. The silver linings in this story are of the barbed wire variety... sharp and ugly and unforgiving.

Javier is absolutely despicable in this book. He's bloodthirsty, murderous, unfaithful, unhinged. And yet, still, I rooted for him. My loyalty to this depraved, sadistic monster remains unchanged. I know people will say he's unforgivable, irredeemable, a lost cause, that there's no excuse for his behavior in this book. I call bull shit. Javier is a deplorable human being on a good day. I'd expect nothing less from him when he's reached the lowest point of his life. And that's what this book is. It's the ruination of Javier Bernal. It's his undoing. The death toll rises at his hand, yet another Bernal sister is dead and it's Javier's fault, his enemies are closer than he ever imagined, his marriage is unraveling (to put it very, very mildly.) I'm not exactly holding my breath for Javier to find a good therapist. This is Javier Bernal we're talking about. Furthermore, this is Karina Halle we're talking about. Just when I thought there was no way this series could get any darker, any more brutal, any more twisted, Halle shows up with her arsenal full of bold tricks (<--- you see what I did there? ::winks::) and demonstrates that the depths of depravity she's willing to delve into for the sake of an unforgettable storyline are limitless.

"We were slaves to hate because hate was strong and we sacrificed love to fuel it."

I can't lie. I'm a little afraid of Karina Halle after reading this book. Knowing now what her brain is capable of churning out... it ain't right. If I had half of these thoughts and ideas rolling around in my head, I'd beat them back with a stick and then I'd find a priest. Instead, Halle slaps a pretty cover on her wicked musings and turns them into one of the most evocative, dark and twisty works of literary genius I've read this year and I'm bowing at her feet. How something can be so gloriously perfect and so sickeningly disgusting all at once, I can't even begin to understand. But it can be done, it's evidenced here within these pages. Dirty Promises is not for the faint of heart. There were moments I literally dry heaved. But if you can handle gruesome violence, deplorable acts against human beings both the good and the bad, utter ruin and devastation of characters you hold dear, well then you're golden. If you loved Javier before, you'll love him even more now (after you get past hating him and wanting to rip his face off.) If you hated him all along, well... we can't be friends. This book is everything I never knew I wanted and so much more.

"...there is a line between ambition and lunacy, between, well, evil and pure evil..."

Karina Halle is one of the most superbly talented writers I've had the pleasure of reading and every single book she delivers to her audience is better than the last. Her writing evolves and morphs around each vastly different, deeply evocative storyline she executes. I feel as though I say it every time, but this might be her most flawless, stunning writing to date. Dirty Promises, from cover to cover, is a hauntingly dark tale of drugs and sex, greed and bloodlust, murder and revenge. I felt as though I was being squeezed, pummeled, pulled through the ringer so that everything I could ever dream to feel was left on the floor in front of me after I finished. Everything from frustration and visceral pain, to lust and love and hope, to pure unadulterated hate, I felt it all. I felt sick yet whole, disgusted yet relieved. I felt seduced, utterly rocked, and completely satisfied. With her beautiful prose and gritty plot, Halle eeks out every drop of emotion a reader can possibly feel until there's nothing left. Dirty Promises is ugly and phenomenal and I loved every word from beginning to bittersweet end.

Jessica's Rating:

My gun began to feel heavy in my hands. I needed to use it, and soon.
Light was seeping in underneath the door, so I pushed my goggles up on my head and slowly pushed it open.
The kitchen was empty, and the only light came from above the stove. The fridge hummed and the house was silent except for muffled laughter coming from down the hall.
A terrible scream splintered the room.
A man’s scream.
Had the ambush already begun?
I exchanged a worried glance with Diego as we heard doors further down the hall being flung open. Footsteps.
People ran past the kitchen, heading up the stairs toward the scream, not bothering to look our way.
All of them except for Juanito, that was.
He stopped dead in his tracks at the archway, staring at us like we were ghosts. I couldn’t help but grin.
He snapped out of it, reaching for his gun, but mine was already aimed at him. I shot him in the kneecaps, both of them, just as his gun fired, bullets cracking the ceiling.
Then, as if on cue, all of the outside erupted in gunfire. The sound shook the walls, and through the rattling windows bursts of light filled the sky. My army was here.
I ran over to Juanito who was screaming in pain, and picked him up by the collar, shaking him.
“All right you little fuckface,” I sneered at him, trying to fight the urge to strangle the fucking life out of him. “Tell me where Esteban is and I’ll make your death painless. Don’t tell me and I’ll break your bones with a hammer. Which one is it?”
His screaming wouldn’t stop. I shook him again. “You can’t protect him now. You’ll never fucking walk again and he sure as hell won’t give two fucks about a pathetic piece of garbage like you. So talk.”
But before he could, Diego was calling out my name. I let go of Juanito, rolling over him just in time as the air above me burned with bullets. Diego fired back at the assailants, and I kept rolling until I was behind the kitchen island. I quickly reached for the grenade which I knew could take out enough of them without damaging the structural integrity of the house, and tossed it out of the kitchen. It rolled down the hallway.
They yelled at each other to move but it was too late. I pressed my hands over my ears as the blast went off.
“Jesus, Javi,” Diego swore as pieces of plaster rained down on him. “You haven’t even moved back in yet.”
I didn’t care if it was sloppier than my usual methods — it was efficient. I scrambled to my feet and stared at the wreckage. There was a ragged hole in the wall, smoke and flames licking the edge.
I shrugged. “I wanted to open up that room anyway.”
Miraculously, or something of that nature, Juanito was still alive, holding on to his bleeding and blasted knees as he writhed on the floor.
He was missing half his face though, so it wasn’t like he escaped the explosion unscathed. He was very scathed and crawling for freedom.
I covered my nose and mouth with the crook of my elbow and walked into the smoke, letting it wash over me. Juanito looked up at me with what was left of him, begging for mercy with an outstretched hand.
I stepped on his hand instead, crunching the bones beneath my boot.
“That was for my sister,” I seethed. “I know you intercepted her call when she was calling me for help.”
“Javier, we have to go,” Diego said, coughing and coming over to stop me. A war was raging around me, but none of it mattered. All that mattered was an eye for an eye.
This time I stomped on Juanito’s arm, driving it in with all my might, like I was squashing a cockroach, until I felt it break beneath me.
He screamed.
I smiled.
But I was the furthest thing from happy.
And Juanito couldn’t even speak at this point. His mouth was a flap of burning skin, covering a gaping hole. He was useless.
I slid the hunter’s knife out of its sheath, and with one swift motion, stabbed it downward into the top of his skull.
The screaming stopped.

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky, Racing the Sun, The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books. 

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK. 

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle , on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.



While the first two books (Dirty Angels and Dirty Deeds) can be read by themselves, Dirty Promises should not be read as a standalone. WARNING: contains scenes of rape and torture, reader discretion is advised.

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