3 Stars

** spoiler alert ** I found it hard to warm to Julian. Usually these types of leading male characters that are dark and edgy with a tragic past have a vulnerability about them that cuts through the coldness and the brutishness and gives them a hint of having something deeper that makes the reader intensely interested and even attracted to them. I found this lacking with Julian. Also – the twins – diddling the best friends wife and not even bothering to use protection… the fact that he was their father and is allowing the lie to continue and his horrible best friend to raise them made me dislike him more. There was nothing appealing about that aspect of the story. 

Peter is a horrible character. Crass and crude and a terrible husband and father. I can’t believe Julian so passively accepted that his friend was cheating and damaging his family, and then the way he spoke about Alana – that should have inspired a more aggressive reaction out of Julian.

Meredith I intensely disliked. She was conniving and underhanded and completely self-centred. The whole journalist doing the secret story on the saucy club thing has been done so many times that it is becoming a little tired out. 

There was plenty of intrigue that keeps the reader guessing – are the twins Julian’s, what happens behind that door in the raven room (please let it not be some snuff type thing), why is Alana afraid of Thompson, why does Julian have to pretend not to know her there, who murdered the girl and is it connected to the raven room, why are Thompson and Pam tight?????… all the way through there are questions that demand to be answered which means you have to keep reading to find out if those questions get resolved.

Alana was a little insipid but I love the twist with Alana 2.0. Clearly that means that they are Sofia and Tatiana. It does sadden me though that at the end he realises that the girl in his house doesn’t have the scar on her shoulder which means the new dead girl must be the Alana he was falling for. That is sad. He finally begins something real with someone and the girl he saves is not Alana. 

I really don’t understand why Pam is gunning for Julian so hard. All because there is a suspicion that he pulled the trigger not Sofia? So what if he did? It was years ago, he was a child and protecting 2 younger children. That is not reason enough. And why is he even a suspect in what appears to be some kind of serial murder thing? I guess I will have to relent and get book 2 to find out, even though I didn’t love this book I feel that my questions are left unsolved.

While the story was appealing and intriguing I really struggled to form a connection to any of the leading characters. I never became invested in their outcomes and I certainly never formed any kind of attraction or connection to the leading male which is usually the author’s intention in these books. I also feel that the book didn’t quite match with my expectations based on the synopsis… “Anything you can imagine, Everything you crave For visitors the the Raven Room its every fantasy fulfilled” based on that i was expecting a much hotter read with plenty of sexy scenes in the club but it was lacking – the club scenes were very tame and only sporadic and Julian never seemed to scene at the club at all so what was the point in the whole club aspect other than giving the author a connection to the murders to use?

I will most likely find book 2 at some point just to see if my suspicions are correct but I am not desperate to race out and buy it like I would be if the leading characters really grabbed me.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Anything you can imagine. Everything you crave. For the members of The Raven Room, it’s every fantasy fulfilled. But for some, that desire is a matter of life and death. 

Drawn by needs he cannot control, Julian ventures to The Raven Room, a secret and exclusive sex club in the underbelly of Chicago. It goes beyond sex. It goes beyond kink. The Raven Room is the only place where Julian finds release from the dangerous urges that threaten to destroy the successful life he’s worked so hard to build. 

When the police link the Raven Room to the death of a young woman, it threatens to expose a number of powerful people—people who would kill to stay anonymous…

Meredith’s body can’t get enough of Julian. He has opened her sexual horizons to tempting new possibilities. But out of bed she’s an aspiring journalist, and The Raven Room is the story she’s been looking for. By writing an exposé on the club and its elite clientele, she plans to launch her career. 

As Meredith embarks on a sexual journey into the forbidden world that Julian inhabits, questions emerge, and dark appetites threaten to swallow her whole. How much can she trust the man who has laid bare her erotic nature and how much will she sacrifice in order to protect him?