THE SWAN AND THE JACKAL (In the Company of Killers, #3)
Author: J.A. Redmerski
Published on: March 3, 2014
Genre: Suspense, romance, thriller
Published by: Self-published
Format: E-book, paperback, Audible
Fredrik Gustavsson never considered the possibility of love, or that anyone could ever understand or accept his dark and bloody lifestyle—until he met Seraphina, a woman as vicious and blood-thirsty as Fredrik himself. They spent two short but unforgettable years together, full of lust and killing and the darkest kind of love that two people can share.
And then Seraphina was gone.
It’s been six years since Fredrik’s lover and sadistic partner in crime turned his world upside-down. Seraphina went into hiding and has eluded him ever since. Now, he’s getting closer to finding her, and an innocent woman named Cassia is the key to drawing Seraphina from the shadows. But Cassia—after sustaining injuries from a fire that Seraphina ignited—suffers from amnesia and can’t give Fredrik the information he desperately seeks. Having no other choice, Fredrik has been keeping Cassia locked in his basement as he not only tries to get her to recall her past—because she and Seraphina share it—but also to protect her from Seraphina, who clearly wants her dead.
But Cassia is a light in the darkness that Fredrik never believed existed. After a year subjected to her kindness and compassion, he finds himself struggling with his love for Seraphina, and his growing feelings for Cassia—because he knows that to love one, the other must die.
Will light win out over darkness, or will something more powerful than either further destroy an already tortured soul?
After two books featuring Sarai Cohen/Izabel Seyfried, Redmerski’s In The Company of Killers series returns with a third installment. This one focuses on Fredrik Gustavsson. He’s easily the darkest and most damaged of the main characters. People call him the Jackal, but you don’t learn why until near the middle of the book. They also call him The Specialist. Fredrik is the go-to torturer in Victor’s new Order (a contract killer organization). He can do stuff to people that are just…horrible, yet he’s not exactly evil. I tell you, Redmerski really came up with such layered characters. None of the Order are evil per se, but they skirt the line. You likely wouldn’t root for Fredrik if he were real, but as a book character it’s a different story.
Before The Swan and the Jackal starts, Victor assumed that Fredrik had killed his ex-wife. She appears right at the start of the book. Her name is Seraphina, and she has a darkness that rivals Fredrik’s. The two loved each other, until something changed things. Now, Fredrik is searching for Seraphina after she gave up a chance to kill him. She has been on the run for years. Fredrik’s search causes him to run into Cassia, a young woman who turns out to be the best tool to finding Seraphina. Cassia is amnesiac, though. She narrowly survived a fire provoked by Seraphina. Fredrik has been keeping Cassia in his basement, waiting for her memories to return. He can’t risk Seraphina killing her. Besides Fredrik, no one knows Seraphina better than Cassia.
The months of living under the same roof causes Fredrik to develop feelings for Cassia. In contrast to Seraphina’s viciousness, Cassia is full of light and kindness. Fredrik never thought he would find a woman like her. She makes him start to yearn for what he believes he can’t have. Fredrik loves Seraphina, but is torn between her and Cassia. And there’s no way he can have both of them. Cassia is also falling for Fredrik, despite being aware of what he can do to people who make him angry. She sees a light in him that no one has noticed (or even believed existed) before. Slowly, Cassia breaks through Fredrik’s walls, making him fall for her.
Even though this is Fredrik’s book, Izabel and Victor also make appearances. Fredrik still works for their Order, but has kept Cassia a secret from them. Izabel in particular helps Fredrik with his situation, once he confides in her about what’s going on. There is also a new character, Dorian Flynn. He’s been assigned as Fredrik’s partner on missions. The two can barely stand each other, though. It appears that their personalities clash. Fredrik doesn’t like Dorian’s carefree, slightly arrogant attitude.
Cassia is the kindest, purest character in this series so far. To pair her with the darkest character makes for an intriguing story. The lightness of Cassia’s soul seduces Fredrik, making him hope for what may be impossible. Can people like him get a happy end? I, personally, rooted for these two. Fredrik may be a sadistic maniac, but he’s not a monster. He doesn’t use his, er, skills on innocent people. That makes him redeemable in my book, whether or not what he does is wrong or justified. With a woman like Cassia, Fredrik could certainly turn his life around.
Will Fredrik manage to track down Seraphina? Or has he been blessed with a happy future alongside Cassia? If you want a book that will tug at your heartstrings, pick this one. Redmerski’s series is getting better and better. Maybe In the Company of Killers should come with an addiction warning. A word of advice: do not let anyone spoil the twist in this book for you! Such an action should be grounds for getting fined a thousand dollars. The smarter of you may just figure it out before it’s revealed, though. It’s still genius. The Swan and the Jackal was an awesome read. I really look forward to the next one.
Absolute must-read. It’s amazing!!!
BUY THE BOOK