An Interpol agent playing a dangerous game. A Mafia princess. A man determined to exact retribution…
Nick Clarkston, a young Interpol agent, threatens to undo the fragile peace between the Lucchesi and Andretti families when he tries to take down the Mafia don father who abandoned him. He allies with his father’s sworn enemy, a mobster both devious and ruthless. The mobster’s alluring daughter helps Nick negotiate the murky criminal underworld, but he soon learns she’s using him. Trapped, and with nowhere to turn, Nick makes a tragic mistake that plunges him further into danger.
Delfina Andretti appears to be the typical Mafia princess–but this princess wants out. Delfina dreams of being a fashion designer, and hooking up with Nick is her ticket out of an arranged marriage. Her feelings for Nick are genuine, but he’s leery of her. Even worse, his heedless drive for justice threatens to get them both killed and to put everyone Delfina loves behind bars–unless she and Nick can forge a new future for their warring families.
Once again, Delamar had no problem sucking me back into the world of the Luchessis, the Andrettis, and the rest of the Italian ’Ndrangheta. But she really amped up the stakes and the action in Dario’s personal vendetta against Enrico by luring Enrico’s illegitimate son, Nick, to Italy. And we learn that Nick’s little boy lost mentality causes him to fall right into Dario’s trap – again and again and again. Seriously, for an Interpol agent, Nick really isn’t that savvy when it comes to dealing with the criminal element and he fails miserably when it comes to learning from his mistakes. While his ineptness endangers him, it’s also probably what saved him because no one really saw him as a threat – because he wasn’t.
Dario’s daughter, Delfina, is struggling against the strictures of the family business. She has no desire to marry someone of her father’s choosing just so that he can strengthen the family’s standing. Especially as his choice is her best friend’s brother, who is a drug addict. Especially when what she wants to do is design clothing. Especially when all she really wants is to not be a part of the ’Ndrangheta. To live her own life. To be free. When she first meets Nick, she knows exactly whose son he is and, due to his age, she despises him because of what he represents – her uncle’s infidelity to her beloved Aunt Toni. But as she spends time with him, she understands why her aunt was so drawn to her Uncle Enrico – the Luchessi men possess a natural charm. As it becomes obvious that Delfi will soon be engaged to a man of her father’s choosing, she hatches a plan that will either save her from her father’s machinations or get Nick killed.
I was blown away by just how well Delamar subtly reminded the reader that Nick was British and not raised in the ’Ndrangheta way. There was a definite difference between the Italians and Nick in their mannerisms, speech, and how they saw the world. Honestly, I’m still amazed that Nick made it to the end of the book still living because some of the stunts he pulled should have gotten him killed. As with the previous books in the series (which you do have to read before Retribution), there are plots, deals, lies, and subterfuge aplenty, and just when you think you know what’s going on, you find out that there is even more going on than you as the reader are privy to. I’m intrigued to know if Delamar is playing it that close to the vest or if her muse is as secretive as her characters are with one another. Or maybe I’m just as paranoid as Dario – who, by the way, was a major arse at the end when he revealed the “supposed” truth about Toni’s feelings for Enrico. I, for one, don’t buy it – but it certainly shook Enrico up and that alone made me dislike Dario even more. Ultimately, Retribution was another excellent addition to the Blood and Honor series, keeping me up until the wee hours of the morning to finish it and leaving me salivating for Redemption to find out what the author has in store for the families.