Blurb as written by the author, review to follow after cover picture
~~ West Greer – War ~~
They say violence is never the answer.
I beg to differ. There’s no peace without a little pain.
Drake, Prescott, Francis and I are monsters who live up to their name.
The Four Horsemen.
Gods reincarnated as men.
Scarlett returned to the fold, but not as the girl we once knew. The girl I’d been obsessed with my whole life. The one I’d have given everything for.
It all changed when she walked into Fortuity and gave us a run for our money. Battle lines were drawn. Flags erected. And we were at a stalemate.
If she thought we were backing down, she was in for a wakeup call. It was time Scarlett learnt who she really was. And why we would never let her go again.
Chaos by Sarah Bailey is the second novel in the dark romance series, Four Horsemen. The first novel presented a new shade of near pitch black dark romance from this author as four ruthless (and mostly psychotic) men work to bring the only woman they could ever love back into their fold. Book one ended on a doozy of a cliffhanger, as cold blooded murder appears to be what it will take to move the group’s relationship to the next level. I’ll be avoiding spoilers, however the cliffhanger is addressed here in reasonably short order, and you’re not getting fucked with too bad as the reader. The intensity and uncertainty displayed from those opening moments sets up another chilling story where Scarlett comes closer to the truth, and we see just how far the Horsemen will go to make it happen.
A theme of the series is one of romantic (and mostly literal) possession. Every one of the Horsemen feel entitled to ownership of Scarlett, and have varied levels of justification for it. As Scarlett grows as a character, however, we see a shared need to possess. By this point we know Scarlett had a horrible accident some ten years ago, but even by the end of book two the details are murky at best, and we can feel for Scarlett’s struggle. For someone looking for possession of something so precious as their own past, it makes a lot of sense that she’s going to grasp on to whatever she can in the meantime. These men, as dishonest and dangerous as they’ve been, allow themselves to be possessed in the same way they’ve been boasting to us about her. It’s doing the world a favor to have these crazies together, maybe they can give the rest of us some peace. That’s a fool’s wish however, as peace is definitely not an option in this novel.
The overarching antagonist plot is fairly straightforward, but the nuts and bolts become hard to track at times. It’s best not to worry about whether a particular character is “good” or “bad”…they’re all pretty bad, horrible, and despicable in their own ways. These characters in some ways can’t be relied on as credible narrators, and in many cases they’re outright lying to themselves about their intentions. Still, the author does a fine job of giving you a lens to either see through their bullshit, or lose yourself in their problems. Both methods are valid and available to you as the reader. We can guess that Scarlett and the Horsemen will eventually come down on the side of what’s deemed most correct for their own truths. Anyone else in the universe is expendable, and the rest of it can be left open for your own interpretation. It’s a beautiful disaster, if you’re up for the challenge.
There are moments in the novel that make the word “uncomfortable” seem like an unworthy adjective. Scarlett will do things, and have things done to her, that will (or at least should) make every reader’s blood run cold…if only cold with lust for the taboo if nothing more. I can only tell myself “these aren’t normal people,” so many times, but this fictional disconnect is the only thing keeping the pages turning on certain occasions. The novel should make no apologies however, and none will be offered. War is hell, and West is making a fine case to meet that standard. Perhaps what makes me most uncomfortable, is the fact that I can feel, and in real life have felt, the kind of emotion it takes to do these deplorable things. It’s one thing to think it, it’s another to do it, and this novel pokes that unsavory side of us that most try to keep in check. Paired with the better than ever sex scenes, those that know what they’re in for will certainly have the time of their lives.
Verdict: Chaos by Sarah Bailey is another emotion jostling, jimmy rustling erotic thriller that sates the hunger of those famished for the hot psycho reverse harem dark romance presented in the initial novel. The best thing for damn near every single one of these characters, in a real world context, would be for a 12 gauge slug to meet their faces at a high rate of speed. In a way, at least a couple of them would probably be grateful for the favor of this freedom from their demons. But still, they play the hand they are dealt and look for every opportunity to swing the odds in their favor no matter the moral cost. I don’t root for these characters, and I’ve made it abundantly clear I think they belong in the ground. And yet, I can’t help but admire the pure macabre of their response to a shit life they would otherwise have if they didn’t fight back, and the self-reflection that pops up in between moments of questionable behavior. As typical, the sexual content is as great as ever, and it pushes the story along nicely and presents key character developments…as uncomfortable as they may be to some. The emotions of the climax are very well written. There is no circumstance that I would ever feel sympathy for these characters, but a deep sense of pity comes through very strong. It’s another cliff hanger of course, but one where I’m more excited about what’s to come rather than bewildered. We’re on the cusp of something big and we’re just getting started.
Special thanks to Sarah Bailey for providing an advance review copy of Chaos to TehBen.com for review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
Author’s Twitter: @sbaileyauthor
Purchase Link: Amazon