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Shadowcraft - Jean Woolf 3.5 Stars

This is one of those books that the blurb doesn't properly prepare me for what I'm getting myself into. I expected the main character to be stronger or amazingly street smart based. Instead I read about a teenage forced into prostitution that has learned to do what he's told or face the consequences.

Li is seventeen and one of Mother Hen's whores. It's on the cold dark street one night he's picked up by a john in a car way too nice to be one of the guys they're used to. There's something off about him and he wants Li to stay with him for the night. Li hasn't had any tricks that night and the idea of going back to his pimp empty handed is enough that he chooses to risk whatever it is the stranger might do to him. He doesn't expect him to be a Fed. He's not the up and up kind either. Soren, the fed, shows him just what will happen to him if he doesn't play along with the plan to place nano trackers in a drug dealer, Davis, they've been trying to bust for years. Terrified and out of options Li just went from prostitute and drug mule to Fed snitch.

Okay, the first 20 pages of this book had me hooked. I was biting my nails. The entire book was suspenseful and kept me on edge. In a good way. This wasn't angst. This was street survival and their only option available to them. Although a teenage prostitute tugs at my heartstrings it doesn't allow me to enjoy sex scenes. Graphic on page sex by someone who doesn't have the choice of NO may as well be dubious consent at best. So just prepare yourself for gritty and ugly. There's no knight in shining armor in this book. No real love story. There's a true connections with one of his fellow whores but I can't say if it was romantic or just them having someone they trust and truly care for.

I'm torn about how I feel about this book. I enjoyed everything minus the sex scenes. I particularly didn't understand the need to have sex with someone to prove to Mother Hen he was with a john and not the feds when he's been brutally screwed that morning. I don't think the evidence of that goes away in twenty four hours and the possibility of the exam didn't justify screwing Li in my opinion. It continued with that tainted sex theme throughout the book. I despised pretty much all the characters in this book except Li and his friend and I'm sure I was meant to. The HFN ending didn't bother me, although I'd have preferred to know what becomes of Li.

Whit's review is also posted at Live Your Life, Buy The Book