If people remember, I wasn't a big fan of the first book in the series, Nine Lives. I believe that if I was to review it again, having read the whole trilogy, my review of Nine Lives wouldn't be as harsh... However at the time, I had no idea that it was going to be a trilogy... As a single book, Nine Lives was meh, but as a trilogy, it was much much better :)
When Cut Throat came out, I really hesitated to buy and read it. Then, the fan girl in me won... I mean, it's a book by Sharon Sala? How couldn't I read it? Also, I guess Cat deserved another chance... I have to say, I'm happy I continued on :)
So here are my thoughts of Cut Throat and Bad Penny :)
Cut Throat by Sharon Sala
published by Mira in November 2007
He killed her once…
Throat slashed and left for dead next to her murdered father, a thirteen-year-old girl vows to hunt down the man who did this to them—Solomon Tutuola. Now grown, bounty hunter Cat Dupree lets nothing— or no one—stand in the way of that deadly promise.
Not even her lover, Wilson McKay.
Their sexually charged encounters leave McKay wanting more, but Cat is determined to keep her distance. She doesn't need a man making emotional demands, not now, when revenge is near.
Suspecting that Tutuola is still alive, despite witnessing the horrific explosion that should have killed him, Cat follows a dangerous money trail to Mexico, swearing not to return until she''s certain Tutuola is dead—even if it means destroying her very soul…
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Cat Dupree, book #2
The Story: Cut Throat picks up where Nine Lives left off. Through a tracking device, Cat realized that Solomon Tutuola - her father's murderer and the man that slashed her throat and left her to die, wasn't dead as they believe. Instead, the man is escaping the law by going deep into Mexico. Determined to get revenge, Cat decides to go after Tutuola... knowing full well that bounty-hunters aren't allowed in Mexico.
As it is, Cat's relationship with Wilson is on the rocks. Basically, they don't know what they are to each other... Is it lust or love between them? Wilson is also very annoyed because he knows something is going on with Cat, but she doesn't share with him... Instead, she keeps him at arm's length. Knowing the relationship is going no where and he's only going to get hurt, Wilson decides to break things off with Cat... just before she leaves for Mexico.
What ensues is Cat's journey for revenge and the consequences of her actions...
My Opinion: First, I'll say that I enjoyed this book much more than Nine Lives. I think part of it is that we saw a different Cat. Yes, she was still the tough chick, but we got to see her vulnerable side. I think that Cat was haunted by the past, that without getting justice and revenge, she couldn't move on. Once Tutuola was dead, her burden disappeared and she started to live... and accept Wilson and his feelings for her. I really enjoyed reading the changes in Cat. I think that at the brink of death, she realized that Wilson was very important to her and so she no longer pushed him away (which is part of why I thought she was sooo annoying in Nine Lives).
As for Wilson, good of him to have stuck by his feelings. He's really the kind of man I can't resist in my books :) He's strong, considerate, not afraid to admit his feelings, kind, protective and ruthless when he needs to be. He perfectly balances out Cat and I think that after saving Cat, he has a better understanding of the woman he loves. I think that both characters were perfectly suited and I really enjoyed them in this book.
I have to admit that Cut Throat was quite particular. The book could be splitted into 2 parts... the first one where Cat is chasing Tutuola and the second part where she's recovering. What's particular about this book is it's actually not action-based as you've expected. Ms Sala is able to write books without the actions being the focus. A few things happen to Cat before she's able to find Tutuola that actually have nothing to do with her revenge. I think that if it was any other authors, it would be distracting... but for Ms Sala, it's just part of her writing style. For me, I found it interesting because it really allowed us to see more of Cat's layers; however, I'm not sure that everyone would enjoy it. I think this is why people either love Ms Sala or not. Instead of writing straightforwardly, she takes detours that sometimes have nothing to do with the main story arc. I find that those tidbits add to the story :)
My favorite part of the book is when Cat is on the verge of dying and she calls Wilson. Then, the whole recovery was very sweet in my opinion :) The ending was kind of abrupt, but given there was another book and this time, Mira advertised it at the end of the book, I was okay with it :)
My Grade: B+. A very good book and different than what's out there at the moment :)
Bad Penny by Sharon Sala
published by Mira in November 2008
Cat Dupree would love nothing more than to settle down and build a life with fellow bounty hunter Wilson McKay. But Soloman Tutuola — the man who murdered her father and slashed her throat when she was thirteen — haunts her even from the grave.
An investigator from Mexico is tracking down the person who is responsible for Tutuola's death—and the trail leads directly to Cat. To add to her bad luck, a junkie with a vendetta is stalking Wilson and is willing to kill anyone who gets in the way of his revenge.
Desperate to start their future together, Cat and Wilson turn the manhunt around — vowing to do whatever it takes to find freedom from the past and the scars that have damaged them both.
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Cat Dupree, book #3
The Story: I think that the back blurb does a good job summarizing the book, so I won't try... also, it's hard to do it, without spoilers :P
My Opinion: Bad Penny was interesting and definitively completed the series. It's the kind of books that looks like a big, nice bow on a wrapped gift. The final touch :)
Basically, everything I said about Cut Throat applies to Bad Penny. Ms Sala continues exploring Cat and Wilson's relationship. In this book, the love between the two main characters is evident. I like seeing how far Cat has gone from Nine Lives to Bad Penny. I think both have realized what's really important in life and it's each other as well as family. I really liked seeing Cat interact with other people such as Wilson's parents. In Nine Lives, I thought Cat was socially inept... but that's not true. Of course, Cat and Wilson's relationship is not perfect... Cat still has some difficulty opening herself up, but she's getting there :D
In addition to following Cat and Wilson in the book, we're introduced to Luis Montoya, a Mexican cop who had the bad luck to investigate the death of Tutuola. I liked the way Ms Sala handled the investigation and the denouement. It shows that not only one thing happen at one time, but life has a way to get things messy.
The pace of the book was quite relaxed... I felt like lots of events in this book were fillers, such as the tornado... but without them, there wouldn't be a complete story. They added feelings and thoughts to the book... If you're looking for a romantic suspense, this is not it. Basically, Ms Sala is wrapping up loose ends in this book and she did it well :)
Last thing I want to say... I know Catherine Dupree is called Cat and she escaped death twice at a young age and a few more times in her adulthood... but perhaps Ms Sala emphasized on her nine lives a bit too much? Personally, I didn't mind... but some of the things that happen to Cat seems exaggerated and improbable.
My Grade: B. I really enjoyed reading more about Cat and Wilson, but emotionally, to me, it couldn't compare to Cut Throat.