Kim here. Back with another Series Spotlight post! I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed putting them together. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a serious series book binger. I find the first book in a series, enjoy it, and then need to read all of them ASAP. It makes trying to describe each book as a single entity more difficult, as the series blends together as I progress through it. Karina Halle’s The Artists Trilogy was one such series. One story, told through three books and a novella, The Artists Trilogy is the perfect reading choice for anyone who loves anti-heroes.
This dark, gritty, crime-filled series had me hooked from the get-go. Halle’s characters are an anti-hero lover’s dream. Ellie, Camden, Javier, and even Gus are people you’d never expect to find yourself rooting for. Ellie is a con artist, dealt some shitty blows in life. Her parents were also con artists, and after one of their cons goes wrong she finds herself with a bad acid burn on her leg. The revenge she’s sworn on the man responsible for her leg is what drives and motivates her. Camden, on the other hand, was thrust into a life of crime when he married the wrong girl. His ex-wife’s brothers were into some bad shit and forced him to become a money launderer after the divorce. While deep down he’s a great guy with a great heart, he is capable of some serious “dirty work.” Javier isn’t a true anti-hero, at least not in my opinion (I believe him to be one of the villains of the piece.) He runs a cartel and is Ellie’s former lover. She left him after she found out he was cheating on her and has been on the run ever since. Finally, we come to Gus. Gus is a former cop who is now into forging ID’s, license plates, etc. He was a friend of Ellie’s parents and helped them (and later Ellie) with several cons over the years.
Now that you’ve met the cast, we should move to the story. Ellie has spent years on the run from Javier and heads back to her hometown to catch her breath and regroup. While there she rekindles her friendship with Camden, a former friend from high school. She realizes something isn’t quite right with his situation and comes to learn of his money laundering. She decides she wants to help him when Javier comes back into her life in full force. After a few games of cat and mouse, Ellie is forced back into Javier’s company. It’s there she learns that the revenge she has yearned for her entire life is in her grasp, as long as she works with Javier.
So why am I telling you about this series? First because there aren’t enough anti-heroes out there. They need more love and I think this series helps to right that wrong. Second, I just really love the dark, gritty nature of this series. I found this series at a time I needed a break from the “perfect” nature of romance novels. I needed flawed characters, the triumph of evil characters, and frankly, chaos. Halle gave me all that and more in a well-written series, and as a reader it’s my job to share that with you! If you’ve been looking for a series that is totally out of the box, filled with crime, gun fights, hot sex, and car chases The Artists Trilogy is a sure bet.
In (story) chronological order (with my ratings) the series is: