Reviewed by Karin
It's rare for me to find books that I enjoyed so much -- and also are different and unexpected. Not really a romance, but a romance. Not really suspense, but definitely mafiosi. Not really romantic suspense, but a bit of terror, which is one-sided, and some well-earned violence, some of which might be over the top, but as you would expect for mafia.
The Exceptions is different, because in many ways it duplicates the first book, but adds additional information.
Melody has been in protective custody under witness protection, from the time she was a little girl. Her parents have been murdered while under protection.
In this book, we become privy to more of the inner thoughts of the protagonist Jonathan (Little Johnny) Bovaro. We see how what happened in his childhood has affected him his whole life. We see how he has loved Melody (under all her different aliases) from that point in time and has seen himself as her protector, which he is in many ways. In some ways, he is like a stalker, for he has watched her from afar, always telling his family, who has ordered him to kill her, that he cannot find her. She, of course, does not know this, so for her, their meeting is only a couple of days. Should she trust him or not? He is clearly able to deliver crushing violence.
And he definitely loves her, which he ultimately proves, and she loves him, just that quickly.
I don't want to give any of it away, but there are some twists and turns. Some clever surprises. And a good ending. There is even a little door open for perhaps a third book, because Jonathan is told he owes the government agent. Will he come to collect? And what possible story could there be in that? I would definitely read it.
It is definitely a character study, very well done, and he changes under her influence, even though their meeting is in the past in the first book. How it is all resolved is part of the fun. Jonathan proves he is adept at navigating the morass of government agencies, as well as ferreting out the moles, for there are two. Then how to keep her safe -- and how to keep him safe, that's the story.