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Review ❤️ The Devil of Downtown by Joanna Shupe

June 30, 2020


Manhattan kingpin.
Brilliant mastermind.
Gentleman gangster.

He’s built a wall around his heart…

Orphaned and abandoned on the Bowery’s mean streets, Jack Mulligan survived on strength, cunning, and ambition. Now he rules his territory better than any politician or copper ever could. He didn’t get here by being soft. But in uptown do-gooder Justine Greene―the very definition of an iron fist in a velvet glove―Jack may have met his match. 

She wears hers on her sleeve…

Justine is devoted to tracking down deadbeat husbands and fighting for fair working conditions. When her mission brings her face-to-face with Jack, she’s shocked to find the man behind the criminal empire is considerably more charming and honorable than many “gentlemen” she knows. 

Forming an unlikely alliance, they discover an unexpected desire. And when Justine’s past catches up with them, Jack may be her only hope of survival. Is she ready to make a deal with the devil…?

Release Date: Jun 30, 2020
Series: Uptown Girls
Book: 3
Heat Level: Hot
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Avon Books
Price: $6.99


Perfect paced, great characters, and snappy dialogue – Shupe reels me in every time!

I’m quickly becoming a fan of Joanna Shupe. I got into her first gilded age series The Knickerbockers Club, and then for some reason stopped reading. Her most recent series Uptown Girls has captured me once more, and Shupe has upped her game.

This is the third book in the series, featuring the youngest of three sisters, Justine Greene. Justine is *sigh* pretty amazing. I loved her from the opening pages when a teenage boy tries to accost her.

Then it happened. The point of a knife dug into her corseted ribs as hot breath hit her ear, and the blood froze in her veins.

She didn’t think about what to do next. Instead, instinct took over. She leaned away from the knife and threw out an arm, knocking the large hand away. Spinning, she made a fist and punched the attacker’s throat. Hard. The knife clattered to the walk.

It was over in the blink of an eye.

This immediately showed me two things. Justine is completely capable of taking care of herself and she isn’t afraid to roam the streets of New York, even the supposed ‘bad parts’ of town. She’s a do-gooder, as our hero calls her. One who believes the best in everyone, even the criminals, which is how she finds herself entering the club of the most notorious man in New York City, Jack Mulligan.

Mulligan is a feisty, alpha, arrogant jerk and I fell for him immediately. Of course, he has some internalized misogyny, but what man in the late 1800s didn’t. He runs the gangs of Five Points and has an affinity for beer brewing. I can get behind both those things, even though Mulligan tends to conduct his business with a hefty dose of bribery and intimidation. This is how he sucks our heroine in, locks her into a favor for a favor. From there the descent into the arms of the devil is not hard, especially as Mulligan goes about placing himself in Justine’s path every day.

Shupe does an amazing job of hooking the reader with the end of her chapters. Things always leave on a note of action or satisfaction, which makes me eager to slide my finger over my iPad screen to get to the next page. This is a book I devoured in ONE night. Yes, I started late too and didn’t hit the bed until after two in the morning. The story was that good, the enemies to lovers turns into friends to lovers, forbidden love, and class warfare. All this tropey goodness couldn’t keep me away. There’s a good balance of snarky dialogue and oof, the first kiss… the build up is fantastic.

He didn’t move and she didn’t pull away. The overhead gasolier hissed, and faint noises drifted up from the club below them. Her shoulders rose and fell with the force of rapid breaths … He was half-hard and hadn’t even kissed her yet.

“You said I wasn’t your type.” Her voice was barely above a whisper.

“I lied. Shall I prove it to you?”

Overall, I found little wrong with this, outside all the male misogyny and the deadbeat husbands who Justine chases down (yes, that’s an interesting twist, isn’t it?), those elements made me angry but they fit the times. The HEA is still one hundred percent satisfying and I couldn’t get enough. Ready for the next, and I hope it somehow involves Patrick Murphy, Mulligan’s brewing partner, who really needs his own book.

~ Landra


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