by Karina Halle
Published January 2013
Ellie Watt is used to starting over. The daughter of a grifting team, Ellie spent her childhood being used as a pawn in her parents’ latest scam. Now she’s much older, wiser and ready to give her con artist life a rest. But returning to the dry desert town of Palm Valley, California means one more temptation than she bargained for – Camden McQueen. Once known as the high school weirdo, Camden is bigger and badder than the boy he used to be and a talented tattoo artist with his own thriving business. Ellie’s counting on Camden still being in love with her but what she’s not counting on is how easily unrequited love can turn into obsession over time. When Camden discovers Ellie’s plan to con him, he makes her a deal she doesn’t dare refuse, but her freedom comes with a price and it’s one that takes both Ellie and Camden down a dangerous road.
***The Artists Trilogy is a dark and sexy contemporary ride about three flawed individuals caught in a world where it’s so easy to justify the bad things we do. This is a pure adult read (Not YA or NA).
This is the 1st book in the trilogy. It is followed by the novella On Every Street (released in March 2013) and the sequel Shooting Scars (released in May 2013). The third and final book in the series will also be released in 2013.***
I’ve really enjoyed Karina Halle’s Experiment in Terror Series, so when she published book one of a new book, Sins & Needles, I decided to buy it and give it a try. This book was very different from her other new adult paranormal series since its an adult contemporary trilogy featuring non-stop danger, lies, lust, and intrigue.
Ellie Watt doesn’t really know who she is anymore. When her latest con goes bad and she has to go on the run again, she eventually runs out of money and finds herself back in one of the few places that she felt a little bit of peace. She swears that she’s done with the grifting life–even though it’s the only life she’s really ever known–and she’s going to try a life on the straight and narrow. Back in the town where she finished up high school and her uncle lives on an orchard, Ellie runs into an old acquaintance from school while she’s out job hunting, and it’s someone that she’s never forgotten but doesn’t recognize right away.
Camden McQueen was the Goth kid in high school that everyone teased and ostracized. He’d thought he had found a friend in Ellie Watt until she turned on him when she saw a way out from being made fun of for her own tortured existence because of her physical limitations and her parents’ illegal lifestyle. He never forgot that betrayal, and he sure as hell wasn’t going to let her slip through his fingers again without giving her a little payback. Now a successful tattoo artist with his own shop, Camden is set on impressing Ellie and showing her what she could have had back in high school–until she tries to rob him blind and he enacts the rest of his plan for revenge.
Both Ellie and Camden have made some huge mistakes in their not so distant past, and the past always has a way to catch up with them. What starts off as more of a grinding psychological story turns into a fast-paced action thriller as they go on the run for their lives. But when someone’s trying to kill you as you make your way across the country, who can you trust when your former best friend is now your partner in crime and has held a gun on you recently? It makes for some tricky business, picking the lesser of two evils…
Told in alternating chapters of the past and the present in Ellie’s point of view, Sins & Needles is a gritty, sometimes disturbing, darkly comic, and twisted look at two very damaged people and how they carry their physical and emotional scars around. The writing is fast and evenly paced with the great execution that I’ve come to expect from author Karina Halle. And after the ending of this book, I cannot wait to read the sequel, Shooting Scars. I just need to see what happens next!