Book Review: Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski

Sarai was only fourteen when her mother uprooted her to live in Mexico with a notorious drug lord. Over time she forgot what it was like to live a normal life, but she never let go of her hope to escape the compound where she has been held for the past nine years.

Victor is a cold-blooded assassin who, like Sarai, has known only death and violence since he was a young boy. When Victor arrives at the compound to collect details and payment for a hit, Sarai sees him as her only opportunity for escape. But things don’t go as planned and instead of finding transport back to Tucson, she finds herself free from one dangerous man and caught in the clutches of another.

While on the run, Victor strays from his primal nature as he succumbs to his conscience and resolves to help Sarai. As they grow closer, he finds himself willing to risk everything to keep her alive; even his relationship with his devoted brother and liaison, Niklas, who now like everyone else wants Sarai dead.

As Victor and Sarai slowly build a trust, the differences between them seem to lessen, and an unlikely attraction intensifies. But Victor’s brutal skills and experience may not be enough in the end to save her, as the power she unknowingly holds over him may ultimately be what gets her killed.

This is their story…


This is not a romance novel. This is not classic book-love. Described as an Adult/Romantic Suspense/Crime Thriller, Killing Sarai is a gritty tale about two people trying to survive and is the first In the Company of Killers book. It's another read that's outside of my usual comfort zone. And I don't know how else to say it...I loved, loved, loved Killing Sarai! It. Was. Gooooood.

The first night I picked up the book, I stayed up until 4 in the morning. Nevermind work or school schedules, I could not stop reading. And when the book was over, I didn't have the normal "awww, butterflies" or "well, that was nice" feeling. No. It was something else. I was hooked from page one, and my heart was pounding all the way to the end. An entire movie manifested in my head, complete with dramatic fight scenes and its own soundtrack. I was into this book.

There was a little bit of everything during this emotional whirlwind...Rage, fear, and wide-eyed panic...You know, the good stuff to keep you on edge. Scene after scene, author J.A. Redmerski wrote every conversation, every move, every detail so vividly. The emotions just flew off the pages and hit me, sometimes a startling jolt and other times a paralyzing agony.
Because my body is still betraying me, my legs weak and unstable, threatening to give way beneath me any second.
I stare into his cold, bottomless, dark eyes, not the barrel of his gun pointed directly at me, but his eyes. I hear a click, just a click, and we look blankly into each other's faces, both of us confused by what just happened. Then a shot rings out...
Victor Faust turned out to be the exact kind of "hero" that I needed to read about next. A murderous hit man, you ask? Well, no...Tough, calculating, and completely in control? Yes, I'll have some of that. Victor is not a conventional hero, but he's an irresistibly complex character nonetheless. In the beginning, his demeanor was cold and business-like, but I couldn't help but be impressed with his efficiency and his ability to always stay a step ahead of everyone else...He's the type of intelligent/dangerous that you just can't tear yourself away from!

To me, there were really two sides to this book. One had Victor quite literally in the driver's seat...methodic and commanding...and that part felt fast, frenzied, and exciting! The second is when he begins to revolve around Sarai and that cold facade of his starts to break down. Although still action-packed, it has a more poignant feel, the more he watches her and understands her...
She has seen too much, experienced too much. She shows all the signs of having lost the ability to react to fear and danger appropriately. She is numb to danger.
If you didn't get the hint from the assassin-hero and the reckless-heroine, though...this was also not a typical love story. *rubs hands together maniacally* While tension undoubtedly builds and an attraction is there, the "romance" doesn't show up immediately. (Let this serve as a warning if you're the type who likes the squees and awwws from the get-go!) I actually preferred the pacing! It would've been worse to feel rushed into believing their connection. Instead, I watched a pretty heartrending struggle unfold. These two ultimately share a dark and unusual connection...Violence. Death.
No, this underground world he's opening me up to slowly isn't having the effect on me he had planned. It's only making me want it more.
There is my proof. Sarai has the blood of a killer; there's no mistaking it anymore. I know I didn't make her that way. Life did that, not me. But I know I'm the one who ultimately pulled the shroud from her eyes to make her see it.
The book is told mostly in Sarai's point of view, but several chapters from Victor's perspective are woven in. Afterall, Sarai was held captive for years and doesn't know much about the "outside" world. Victor's POV is much more composed. It provides a reprieve from the chaos and confusion going on in Sarai's mind, and it provides an element of mystery that Sarai's POV cannot. I was wondering so many things about Victor, his past, and the Order he works for...Mentally pacing back and forth about what his next plan would be...

There were plenty of twists and turns to keep me entertained and a little bit unnerved, but at crucial points in the story, I got what I needed...that satisfied feeling after a revelation, of everything coming together and clicking. In a matter of a few pages, I went from typing notes like "WHAT WHAT WHAAAT" to ones like "WELL THEN, TWIST, YOU WIN." (I may have been a little amped up...) The moments of action and suspense were even enough to give me chills. The standoffs and the confrontations...Chills.
"Why are you telling me this now? he asks, raising his eyes back to me.
"I felt I owed it to you," I say. "You should know the truth before you die."

When Niklas' eyes avert behind me, I know that Sarai is standing there.
"I told you not to come out." I keep my eyes on Niklas.
In the book's closing moments, though, Victor managed to melt and break my heart...not just Sarai's, but mine too! He confides in her and does something so ARE YOU KIDDING ME? amazing...Then, it happens. The "Knife, meet Heart" moment. It was a bittersweet ending, but it left the impression that something else and something big was looming. This book just took hold of me, and I was completely immersed from the first page to the very last. I could not wait to dive into the rest of the series and right back into the chaos of Victor and Sarai! Killing Sarai is a 5-star must read!



Born November 25, 1975, J.A. (Jessica Ann) Redmerski is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children and a Maltese. She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries and is a huge fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead.