Les Recidivists - Nicole Castle
If Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino got married and made a filthy mouthed word baby, I’m almost certain it would come out looking like Les Recidivists, book two in the Chance Assassin series.

Les Rec scores another huge win for author Nicole Castle, as this installment reads something like a quirky family comedy—if by comedy it means the quirky family exists in a perfectly balanced union between committing mass murder and trying to avoid being executed in the most heinous possible way. Sometimes by each other. Who knew death and dismemberment could be so much fun? Not to mention fashionable.

One of the things I wasn’t expecting when I started reading Les Recidivists was the emergence of the side characters who were introduced briefly in [b:Chance Assassin: A Story of Love, Luck, and Murder|17453304|Chance Assassin A Story of Love, Luck, and Murder|Nicole Castle|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1362156324s/17453304.jpg|24342014]. There are parallel and intersecting storylines in this installment of the series that deliver the crazy in a fast paced, stylized, don’t blink or you’ll miss something—someone getting shot, stabbed, blown up, beaned, eye gouged in a cosmetic incident, things like that—way, and while I at first thought I was going to be disappointed by the author’s decision to let those side characters hog the spotlight, I was wrong. So very, very wrong to think it.

This book is a continuation of the slightly slantways romance of now husbands Frank Sullivan-Moreaux and Vincent Sullivan-Moreaux, to be sure, but with Casey Evans and Bella Moncrief thrown into the…romantic?… mix—in quite possibly the most insane matchmaking scheme ever—Frank and Vincent take on the added role of keepers and handlers in this murderous monkey cage of love. Frank tries to keep order, V just wants to stir up trouble and kill people, and their matrimonial bliss is now under considerable strain brought on by their retirement from the assassination biz, as well as the residual effects of Vincent’s injuries, injuries neither Frank nor Vincent can seem to quit blaming themselves for. Guilt really doesn’t make for a good threesome. It also doesn’t make for the kind of sex Vincent wants, because Frank is too busy treating V like he’s going to shatter into a million little pieces at any moment. Where’s a little autoerotic asphyxiation when a guy needs it?

Then the plot thickens…

So, Casey and Bella… they’re Frank’s surrogate brother and sister, how fun is that? Casey, the pansexual, wide-eyed, high hopes, everything is glitter and Technicolor glee, artist Casey. And Bella, the fudge you, you fudgety fudging fudgewad, I’ll blow your fudging head off but you better not get your brain on my shoes, assassin Bella (Only she didn’t say fudge. See: Scorsese/Tarantino word baby). I loved her. Theirs is a union of sugarplums and smoking guns (yes, there’s M/F sex in this one, for those of you who care), and watching these two fall in love was hysterical. Really, it was more like watching my belovedly flake-headed Casey repeatedly stick his tongue in a light socket, but then, miracle of miracles, the light socket decided not to fry his cranium.

And then these two gave my heart all the feels it could feel. It was not only unexpected but was also a lovely bonus to all the death and dismemberment.

Nicole Castle is a masterful storyteller. Just when you think Les Rec should be fined for disorderly conduct, everything gets wrapped up and strangled to within an inch of its perfect life, blissfully delivering Frank and Vincent—the dynamic duo of mischief, mayhem, and madness—back into the murder business, it would seem, which has left me with the hope that there will be more foul mouthed word babies coming soon to a shallow grave near me.

This author has written two books that have vaulted her onto my auto-buy list. They are laugh-out-loud funny one moment, mildly disturbing the next; then the next thing you know, your heart is in your throat. They both kept me turning page after page just to see which I’d feel next, and I was never disappointed. Other than when they ended.