Title – Roman
Series – Saints and Sinners
Author – Kennedy Streath
Genre – Dark Urban Fantasy
Publication Date – 12/11/12
Length (Pages/# Words) – 89935
Publisher – PubRight
Cover Artist – Poppet
Benedict Nowak bailed on his marriage, taking his son with him but leaving behind his five year old daughter. He had his reasons. He had no idea they’d come back to haunt him.
TJ had come to terms with the mother she despised, making those small concessions that made life bearable. But her mother’s death changed everything.
Her brother, Anton, was the parent missing in TJ’s life, until he found a calling in violence, and left his sister at the mercy of shrinks and a mother with ice in her veins.
Roman Rincon was the juvie rescued by Father Marcus and placed in the care of Benedict Nowak. With his records sealed, no one knew what happened that fateful night when Roman was only fourteen. All Father Marcus knew was the boy had confessed to a crime not even the cops would talk about.
In the small coal mining town of Montville, two teens whose lives have been shattered beyond repair must find a way to cope … with school, with each other, with growing up marked as broken in a town dying under the weight of secrets and lies.
Warned off having anything to do with Roman, TJ is all too willing to agree, except for one little thing. The young man lives in the apartment above her father’s car repair business so avoiding him might be a problem.
As for Roman, he will take his secret to the grave, no matter what the cost.
AMAZON KINDLE / AMAZON PAPERBACK / BARNES & NOBLES NOOK / BARNES & NOBLES PAPERBACK / SMASHWORDS / ITUNES / GOODREADS
Forced into making decisions no young girl should ever make, TJ must deal with her conflicted feelings for a mother who cared only for her career and a father who turned his back on his responsibilities. When TJ’s mother dies, the teen must go live with a father who is a stranger, in a town dying under the weight of poverty and ethnic divisions.
TJ’s father, Benedict Nowak, has given Roman Rincon sanctuary. Fresh out of three years in juvie, the only friend Roman has is Father Marcus. The priest convinced the court to remand the troubled teen to Benedict’s supervision. Roman has to keep his head down and his nose clean.
This excerpt is the scene when TJ finally gets to meet the elusive teen.
“Come on in, Roman. I want you to meet…” Ben waved in her direction, “…my daughter, TJ.”
The teen stared, eyes a flat obsidian, framed by impossibly long lashes, the thick brownish black brows creased into a single, disapproving line. Deepset, those eyes were all she could focus on, commanding her undivided attention.
Ben rattled on, “TJ stands for Theresa Jane…”
Throat dry, TJ mouthed a ‘hi’ but it died before her lips could form the word. To her surprise her father wasn’t filling in the blanks like she might have expected, spilling all her particulars.
No … her mother just passed. I’m all she has. Well, Tony also. But Tony’s gone, back to his unit. She’ll be going to the high school. We’ll see the prin—
Instead he’d turned back to his task, shoulders rigid with tension. TJ wondered why.
But then she looked closer at the man hiding behind a boy’s lean and lanky frame, at the sharp planes of his high cheekbones, the cruel set to lips just on the edge of full, a hint of a dimple offset by the tilt of his head that spoke to defiance and self-sufficiency.
The hoodie masked all but his face. Short sideburns shadowed by the fleece suggested raven dark hair. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he wore it long, perhaps in a tail. He wasn’t as tall as her father or Tony, maybe five eleven, but she’d thought him bigger the way he commanded a room, like he’d emptied it of air and filled it with his presence, something physical … and something not. That something seemed to hover in the air currents, leaving her feeling like cannon fodder in a bad horror movie.
She felt the catch in her lungs, the sensation of menace, but refused to look away. She knew all about turf wars from her mother: the legal kind with briefs and a quick wit, the other with self-actualization on each side of a tennis court, the advantage always Eleanore. Mostly she knew about negotiating. About trade-offs. Being bought. Staying out of the way. Rigging the balance sheet so losses looked less like failure and more like incremental skirmishes.
Eleanore cooked the legal ledgers to get what she wanted. TJ leaned toward a slightly different interpretation but both had understood a zero sum game.
Roman had that very special knowledge also. But one thing about him was different: he needed no one, he feared nothing. Of that she was one hundred percent sure.
When he turned away and left without a word, she and Ben breathed a sigh of relief.
I was intrigued by the synopsis for this story as I’m a big fan of the Paranormal genre, be it television, movies and now books; however, it pains me to say that I wasn’t able to get into this story as I had hoped. The book started off too past faced leaving me confused. Characters were introduced so quickly and I was losing track of who was who at first. Internal monologues threw me off. I couldn’t tell if the characters were remembering past conversations or just pondering to themselves. I also had a difficulty relating to the characters; which made it difficult for me to follow along with the story and feel for these characters. I neither liked nor disliked TJ and Roman, I just didn’t feel an instant connection with them as I have with past reads. I had high hopes for this read and it’s possibly just me but I wasn’t a fan. Everyone has their preferences and I know this book received many 5 star reviews but based on my experience with this story, I’m only able to give it 3.5. It pains me to do so as this is my first 3.5 review.
Kennedy Streath writes with gritty realism, exploring that intersect where the paranormal and the suspension of disbelief take a back seat to the power of the spirit and the raw edges of conflicted souls. He moves to the backbeat that’s a heartbeat, blending action, suspense and intensely sensual romance.
Kennedy lives in the country with horses to ground that spectre of disquiet that haunts us all and holds to a belief in the promise of the young and young at heart.
1 Print copy of Roman (Saints and Sinners) (US only)
2 eBook copies of Roman (Saints and Sinners): PDF, mobi or epub