I'm a pretty happy garbage can right now because this was just the trash I needed to fill me up. Starting a second book is always hard because at that point, you, as a reader, already have some expectations about how the story and character development are going to go, and the temptation for some authors is to stall for time and use book 2 as a means to pad the story with filler. To its credit, SHOOTING SCARS doesn't do that - it jumps right in to the action.
The Artists Trilogy begins with SINS & NEEDLES, a saga of scummy trash people living their trash people lives. There's Ellie, the scammer, and Camden, the rube with anger management issues. They are attracted to each other, but, being trash people, only end up doing each other dirty. The book ends with Ellie sacrificing herself for Camden, who decides he's going to pick up the pieces of his past life with his son and ex-wife - only surprise! He's scammed again.
If you thought these characters were unlikable in the first book, SHOOTING SCARS is going to swagger up to you and say, "Hold my beer." Ellie gets even more scammy and indecisive, using and abusing everyone while she tries to figure out what the hell she wants out of life. Camden, meanwhile, shows off his psychotic side, abusing pain killers and torturing people with a tattoo gun. And Javier, Javier is like a GQ Scarface, undulating between suave AF and scary AF.
If you want to read something that is trashy and ridiculous, this really is the perfect trilogy. Sex, violence, and drama on steroids, plus more stupidity and hormones than a remedial course in basic middle school thinking skills. For "professionals," these characters make some pretty stupid and questionable decisions, but it's very entertaining. It's basically a soap opera that started running with a bad crowd and got into drugs and crime - plus some light, soft-core porn.
4 out of 5 stars