Dirty Power – Ashley Bartlett (Bold Strokes Books)

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This is a first for me. I’ve never posted reviews of all three books of a trilogy before, partly because I don’t see many worthy of doing that and partly because I don’t like giving space to the same author for the same characters and the same storyline. It gets boring. But “boring” is not a word I’d ever use to describe Ashley Bartlett’s “Dirty Trilogy,” and the final book, Dirty Power, upholds that standard.

Like Dirty Sex and Dirty Money before it, Dirty Power explores the relationship between Vivian Cooper (“Coop,” if you please) and Reese DiGiovanni, the daughter of a mob boss. Along with Coop’s best friend (and Reese’s brother) Ryan, they do mob business, fuck up mob business, steal gold, kidnap, murder, hold hostages, and flee the Feds both together and separately in a variety of domestic and international locales. And these adventures are related by Coop in a voice that leaves you breathless with its immediacy and veracity.

Bartlett’s talents are many. She knows her way around an action scene, she writes memorably hot sex (this coming from a gay man whose last experience with a vagina was at least thirty-five years ago), her plots are seamless, and her characters are true and deep. And if that wasn’t enough, Coop’s voice is so genuine, so world-weary, jaded, and outrageously sarcastic that if Bartlett had none of the aforementioned attributes, the read would still be entertaining enough to stretch over three books.

Coop’s eternal pursuit of Reese is interesting and heartfelt, and it’s not too much of a spoiler to say that it resolves itself beautifully in Dirty Power, giving the reader the happy ending anticipated throughout the trilogy. But this eventuality comes at a price, as neither of the girls has a shred of innocence left after what they’ve seen, done, and experienced.

Is this a standalone book? No. Not at this point in the narrative, though Bartlett lets enough of the past plot drop in that you won’t be totally lost if you choose to start at the end. But why do that when you can start at the beginning and read all three? That’s what you should do, you know.

And you can thank me later.

Review of Dirty Sex by D. Jackson Leigh

Review of Dirty Money

©, 2013, Jerry Wheeler

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