My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...
Saving Poughkeepsie is the fabulous conclusion to Debra Anastasia’s Poughkeepsie Brotherhood series. I have been hooked in this series since book 1, Poughkeepsie and much invested in the lives of the characters, so much so, I would have had hysteria if this installment took 2 yrs more, as did book 2, Return to Poughkeepsie.
The series is very much interconnected, so I’d recommend that you read it back to back. For me, I started this series early 2012, so there was a gap in between. The character that I never forgot was Beckett, whom I adoringly call my Gangsta Babe. He’s such a colorful character and a hilarious piece of a$$ that I can’t help but shake my head at his activities. And I make no secret that he is my favorite of the three brothers.
In Poughkeepsie, we meet three ‘brothers’ Beckett, Blake and Cole. I put brothers inside quote because they’re not connected by blood but by circumstances, yet their shared bond for many years have proven to be stronger than any blood relation out there. All three were either abandoned or orphaned as a child, passed on into various foster cares as they grew up. This is also how they met. Lots happened since then. Beckett, the bigger and the stronger one, has always been the one to protect his brothers from harm. Blake is the one who seems more vulnerable because of his psychological problems. He’s not entirely crazy mind you, but some incidents can tick him wrongly, thus making him unstable. But he’s also very talented with a piano. Cole is the cool and calm one, the former priest and the resident voice of reason.
So it happened, as time passed, Beckett became the biggest, baddest gangsta of Poughkeepsie, Cole joined the church as a priest and Blake... well, he didn’t have a specific calling but loved playing the piano. At one point he started living as a homeless on the Poughkeepsie station, which is how he met Livia. She’s kind to Blake from the first moment, a thing Blake never had unless from one of his brothers. Poughkeepsie is their story basically, though we get to be introduced to many other characters. There was also the secondary romance between Cole and Livia’s promiscuous younger sister, Kyle with the super dirty mouth. Their unlikely match surprised everybody; the priest and the proverbial slut. But their match was as strong as anyone else’s because nobody’s perfect. They clicked, loved and married, it was just that simple.
That left our Gangsta babe, Beckett. He calls each one of them ‘family’, and family means everything to Beckett. He might be a criminal, murdered people and has done many other bad things, including shagging whores whenever the mood struck him, Beckett has been rather one-of-a-kind. I loved, LOVED his wicked humor, dirty mouth (oh, yes!), insane dialogues and... just about anything that makes him him. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also very good looking. Then there was Eve, a gorgeous assassin working with him in disguise, who had her own agenda for seeking out Beckett and becoming a part of his rowdy gang. Eve had a sad past, a life with broken dreams, and inadvertently, Beckett was responsible for that. But when Eve lost her husband and unborn child, her life’s path changed. She trained to become a killing machine, revenge on her mind all the while. It wasn’t tough when she found that Beckett is totally into her... and it’s not only lust. You’ll enjoy their hilarious interactions all through the book, where Beckett would throw some dirty insinuations towards her and Eve would thwart it being cool. Their crazy text exchange was super entertaining. Eve also begins falling for him, much to her surprise. She got to see a different side of Beckett protecting his family. Being with him each day, she’d find something to love about him, changing her impression of him gradually. Finally, they even profess their love and become intimate when things were about to go wrong...
In Return to Poughkeepsie, Beckett is forced to leave Poughkeepsie for a long time in hopes of becoming a semi-respectable citizen. His plan was working, though it kept him away from his family and most importantly, from Eve, the love of this life. He had to stay away due to some previous troubles but this meant, he also wanted to start over. As the story progress, we find Blake and Livia with 2 kids, a girl, Emme and a boy, Kellan. Cole and Kyle trying for a kid but not having much of a luck, something that has been eating them up inside. Eve has been living a mundane life, also trying to start over, forgetting Beckett for once and for all since he left her without a word of goodbye and never communicated ever since. Hell, she doesn’t even know he’s alive or not!
Unfortunately, things started going south in Poughkeepsie when a local Mafia boss, Vitullo’s crazy daughter, Mary Ellen starts stirring up some shenanigans around. Vitullo is an old a$$hole who never cared about his own offspring. Mary Ellen has always been a disappointment, just because she’s a ‘girl’. Being continuously ignored by the father she was devoted to, Mary Ellen sprouts up some new mafia nonsense to ‘show’ Vitullo that she’s capable of handling their vast business of all things illegal, because God help them, Primo, her stupid half-brother is incapable of doing anything but whine. Not that she could really convince her father of anything, which only made her desperate to take wrong steps.
Eve becomes a part of Mary Ellen’s hired recruit in disguise of ‘January’ when she’s given the assignment by one of Beckett’s ex-associate (or shall I say douchebag?), Shark. She was doing fine, gaining Mary Elle’s trust since she’s so good in everything she does (I mean Eve, not the crazy b*tch) until Mary Ellen’s one stupid step after another ends up creating a bigger mess. Eve meets a cop, Ryan Morales, who was on the same team on a secret mission. He begins helping her out secretly, trying to contain his Eve-induced hard-on inside. But Eve is a hard nut to crack (no pun intended LOL), and even though Beckett hasn’t been around, she’s still into him. So Ryan doesn’t get much of a chance to get inside her pants (and her heart).
It’s then, Beckett returns when SOS is sent to him from his beloved town (and his old/ex douchebags that he left behind). His and Eve’s meeting was crazy because they were both in the middle of an assignment à la Mary Ellen. But boy she was angry as hell! How dare he show his face after 5 long years of nada? Beckett knew he had his work cut out if he has to convince Eve that she’d always be the one for him. You can be sure that Ryan wasn’t happy to have figured this out.
So there are a lot of actions, as usual, with Mary Ellen going poof, thanks to Eve. We can also thank her own stupidity. But no matter, she dared to touch the family, aka resorted to kidnap Livia to bring down Beckett, still the Biggest Gangsta (if ex) of Poughkeepsie. When Vitullo finds out who did his daughter in, he’s instantly fascinated with the killer. He brings Eve in to make a deal with Beckett, as in working together in Poughkeepsie. But Beckett had no interest in returning to his previous life of a drug dealer and a pimp. Yet he had to play along to save Eve. And even though, Eve is saved in the end, she still continues to fascinate Vitullo... in a rather creepy way.
In Saving Poughkeepsie, it’s been sometimes since the last showdown. Eve and Beckett are now together for good, enjoying time with Blake and Cole’s family. Beckett is still worried about Vitullo, but right now his number one priority is to keep his and his brothers’ families safe. In secret, he’s also planning to do something else. A big plan, but Beckett knows it’s gonna cost him some more. He wants to keep the whole town of Poughkeepsie safe too, not with violence but by earning loyalty from his men. No one better than him knows that violence only brings violence, and though it’s still in his blood to burn down whatever is causing him problem, Beckett now has nieces and nephews to think of. And he genuinely wants this town to be the safest haven out there.
In the meantime, Kyle and Cole get the good news. In the previous installment, we had this pregnant girl that Beckett rescued from her abusive boyfriend, who used to work in his store in his days of ‘trying to become an honorable citizen’. The girl, Chery wanted to give the baby up for adoption. To Beckett, Cole and Kyle seemed the best option as they were trying for adoption at that moment. Finally they get to welcome the baby JB as their own.
As Beckett starts working towards his mission to keep Poughkeepsie safe, Vitullo makes his move and kidnaps Eve. She’s saved by Ryan, but is gravely injured. At that time, Beckett was visiting Cole’s family, so when he returns, Beckett is mad. No one touches his family (and Eve) and gets away with it! This means he needs to seriously consider his plan of peaceful existence, do further investigation to see why the old goat would make this move. But unfortunately, no one knew the dark secret that Eve’s surgeon father was keeping from them all, especially Eve. Something that Vitullo found out, thanks to his creepy but efficient assistant, Nicholas. This is something that’s going to further his own (shitzy) plan. You see, Vitullo is a very old goat with one foot in his grave. But his legacy is crap. Mary Ellen is dead, Primo is an idiot, so he has no one to look after his big empire of illegal means. From his perverted brain came forth this… mind numbing idea; new offspring! Well, he can’t ‘thrill a lady’, or so to speak, anymore but due to the vast scientific improvement he can have one, or more, without plugging himself in. *snort* In Vitullo’s eyes, Eve is the perfect mother for his ‘future’ children......... I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this, but you really haven’t gotten it correct, because Eve doesn’t have the ability to have kids anymore because of that long ago accident. Her father was the one who operated on her, and did something incredible to preserve Eve’s future. As I said, he kept it such a tightly guarded secret that only he and one of his female colleagues knew about.
As Eve recovers, Beckett plans something incredible to make her feel even better. Actually more than that. He takes her on a vacation to let loose and enjoy a few days without any added crap hanging over their head. Meanwhile, his safe Poughkeepsie project is going well, almost as planned. He couldn’t stand Eve being down or depressed because of this new injury. But he also had another big reason for this escapade. The whole incident just reminded Beckett once again just how much he needs Eve in his life. And so he proposes to Eve catching her completely by surprise. Well, it’s not that she doesn’t want to marry Beckett, she loves him very much, but Eve never thought they’d be one of those regular married couples. It’s true that there’s nothing ‘normal’ in their relationship. But I was so happy when she didn’t hesitate to say yes to our Gangsta Babe on his knees, making him the happiest man in the world (imagine me going ‘awww’ over here). They also marry on that trip, sadly not knowing Vitullo has just made his next move by kidnapping Eve’s father to gain more information on that ‘secret’ he’s been keeping.
When Eve’s father and the other ex female colleague go missing, neither Beckett nor Eve knew it was Vitullo’s doing until much later. He went into hiding after Beckett’s rage filled attack after Eve’s injury. It’s after the kidnapping that Beckett learned that he’s still alive and creepy Nicky is making all the moves on his behalf. Beckett plans his own revenge but Eve wouldn’t stay behind, so they team up together, again, to crack down Vitullo once and for all. Only they didn’t know the big surprise(s) that were waiting for them when they get down to the business, something that is going to change both Eve and Beckett’s lives forever.
In the end, when a defeated Vitullo makes his last, yet by far the boldest, move, Beckett’s stance remains strong and as efficient as ever, burning with the same conviction; keeping his beloved Poughkeepsie safe no matter what it takes. And for that, Vitullo and his cronies must be eradicated!
I have to say that I enjoyed every moment of this book. It was like returning to an old friend, being comfy and witness how things unfold. Even though I was ill while I was reading it, I was duly distracted from my miserable state by all the love, laughter, drama, action and not to mention, Beckett’s dirty mouth. *heehee*
The theme, for me, that reverberated throughout the series over and over again, was that ‘family comes first’. You can see it in every move and every sacrifice the brothers made, especially Beckett. I was also very happy that, though the storyline roughly centered on Beckett and Eve, all the brothers and their families had almost equal participation. You’ll see the families together, or with themselves, adorable interactions with the kids and yes, loads of love scenes from all the couples. It was fun to read them. I absolutely cherished this feeling. I was happy that Ryan was finally free of that crazy ex-gf and found someone to replace his Eve crush. :p The story aptly concludes with the fruition of a very special project to keep the brothers’ legacies alive and going, something dear to Cole’s heart.
If I had any complain in the last installment about Beckett and Eve not being together enough, I had none here. Though we won’t see it, I still wish that someday he gets to have a baby of his own with Eve. You’ll know exactly why I’m saying this when you read this book.
Finally, I’ll close this review with a heart that’s both equally happy and sad. Happy, because I enjoyed this book (c’mon, I’ll read anything with Beckett in it) and sad, because I am heartbroken to see this series come to an end. Yes, I’m gonna miss my Gansta Babe. He’s the man!!! *sniffs*
No, actually, I’ll miss this whole series and all its characters (including the a$$holes and the douchebags and Beckett’s insanely bad text msgs :( ). 4.25 stars.
I received an ARC in exchange of an honest review, courtesy of the publisher Omnific, via Enn Bocci, as a part of the release week review tour, November 29, 2014.