There Are No Saints

Sinners Duet, Book #1

By Sophie Lark

ISBN# 9781728294247

Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi

San Francisco is a mecca for struggling artists trying to make something of themselves, and just be seen.  Mara is a prime example of that.  She lives in a crowded house with multiple roommates and works three dead-end jobs just to be able to afford even that.  And, her roommate just informed her that she needs her out of the studio she’s been using.  Now Mara is faced with the daunting task of finding a new one, so she can make her art.  But studio space is so expensive.

Everyone knows the local celebrity artists Cole Blackwell and Alastor Shaw.  Their rivalry is legendary.  However, people don’t know that the sculptures and paintings the two produce aren’t the only art they create.  The two are also serial killers and create masterpieces with their victims as well.

And, when Mara catches Cole’s eye at a showing, Shaw sees it and decides to test Cole.  Shaw kidnaps Mara and leaves her, very artistically, and near death outside of Cole’s dumping grounds.  Cole decides not to play Shaw’s game and leaves her there since she’s so close to bleeding out anyway.  He just hopes Shaw will clean up his mess.

However, Cole quickly becomes obsessed when days later he sees Mara alive and well.  She managed to free herself and get miles away to the nearest road for help. 

Cole decides to offer her an insane price on one of his studios he has for rent.  It also makes it much easier for him to keep a better eye on her.  He even gets her into a prestigious art show. 

He orchestrates their meeting, and she recognizes him from the night he left her to die.  Somehow, he still manages to become her mentor and help her break into the art world she covets.  The more time Cole spends with Mara, he starts to see himself in her.  She is the closest thing to an equal he has found in this life and he loves how she just lives life to the fullest, enjoying every experience.  She makes him feel things he’s never felt before and he’s unsure what to do about it.

“In that moment I realize this whole thing has been a performance.

She knew I would watch.

She’s been fucking him for me, at me.

To get revenge on me.

And I realize… she’s everything I dreamed of and more. More vengeful. More strategic. More effective.

More fucked up.”

Cole knows what will happen when Shaw realizes Mara is still alive.  Everything he has created with her will come crashing down, and Shaw will want to finish what he started.  Can Cole protect her and stop the inevitable?  Or will Cole’s darker side take over and he will take her out himself?

“Sometimes you have to kill what you love.”

I picked this book up when it was offered to me as a dark romance.  That’s kind of my kryptonite.  I actually liked this novel a lot more than I thought I would.  The characters were engaging and the story was interesting and different from anything I’ve read before.   And, let’s face it, I’ve read a lot of books over the years, so it’s exciting to stumble upon something ‘different’.

Cole was such a dynamic character.  He’s the thing that goes bump in the night.  A predator you will never see coming.  However, this author was able to write him in such a way that you actually liked him.  Rooted for him even.  And, honestly, I didn’t even care if he became reformed or not.  He being dark and dangerous is part of the fun, after all.  A loveable psycho, if you will.

Mara was a fun scrappy character too.  She recognizes Cole for the predator he is, but that doesn’t stop her from going toe-to-toe with him.  Her revenge she took on him was epic down to the painting on his wall.

“I’m struck anew by the absolute insanity of this girl. I admire her audacity. While planning how I’ll punish her for it.”

The one thing I didn’t like about this book was the ending.  And, no the characters didn’t do anything bad or anything like that.  My issue is that the ending … wasn’t really there.  It stops at an odd place when the excitement is just ramping up.  Hey, if you want to read the rest … catch the next book.  I truly hate when authors do this.  Who knows what I’ll actually remember by the time I get around to reading the next book.