Review: Better When He’s Bad by Jay Crownover

better-when-hes-badReviewed by Shelly

I decided to try this completely based on Carrie; well if I’m being completely honest, she didn’t love it but I figured – why not? The premise is definitely not my usual cuppa tea, a hero who doesn’t start out as a good guy nor does he even seem to have any aspiration to be good.

The first in Jay Crownover’s ‘The Point’ series tells the story of Shane Baxter. Bax, is fresh out after serving 5 years for a felony. He says he did it to save his best friend, Race, but when you get to know him, Bax had done so many unlawful things in his life he was going to get caught eventually. Prison actually slowed his bad a*s down and probably saved his life.

Since his very recent release, Bax is on a mission – finding Race. In his quest to hunt down his BFF, Bax finds out that Race has a sister that he never told Bax about. Twenty year old Dovie Pryce is by all means and measure a good girl. She works as a waitress, while attending school at night and then on the weekends she does volunteer work at a children’s home. I’m not sure here, but I’m going to assume that the author wanted to somehow equal out the bad that Bax does with the good that Dovie does – perfect good girl/bad boy set up.

The thing about Bax is that he’s rough around the edges, in all ways. He’s a thief of anything that’s not nailed down, especially cars and girls, and not necessarily in that order. Somewhere during his teenaged years, he decided to get a tattoo on his face along what I would equate to the female version of the tramp stamp – 2 checkered flags at opposing sides of his man junk so the ladies know when they’ve crossed the finish line (oh Jesus, save me); when I found that out, which was early, he completely lost me because that tells me that Bax’s decision making skills for both long and short term effects are not what I would call… smart.

Side note: I’m not sure where/when he would have become a ladies man, as his reputation preceded him as told by Dovie’s friends, but as I figured out the age of his jail discharge, how long he was in, and what age he was when he went in, he would have been around 18 when he went in. Yeah, an 18ish y/o Lothario – sure…

Bax, out of jail for the first time – there’s nothing redeeming about him. I’m not sure what his prison life was like because that’s not addressed, but I’m going to assume that he developed his prison body while behind bars. Bax is tough, mentally and physically. He has a few fights in Dovie’s presence that are pretty vicious and he seems almost impenetrable to pain which is handy in his profession.

His relationship with his brother was one of the best parts about this story. His brother is a cop and not only did he have a hand in Bax’s prison sentence, there’s a crap ton of anger between them. I understood his brother’s character and rationale much more than I understood Bax. There’s quite a nice history, even before the felony charge, between these two brothers that fostered their mutual animosity.

Yeah, the Bax/Dovie relationship didn’t fly with me. Well, if they’re young and bulletproof I can buy it, but if they’re hoping for something beyond living in the small radius that is The Point, I don’t see it. What’s the point of Dovie going to school if her goal in life is to stay in The Point tied to a career criminal with a damn tattoo on his face? She wants to help kids be placed where hopefully they can be adopted and have families who care about them, but for yourself you choose someone who’s a criminal? How does that work exactly?

There’s a lot about Dovie that I wanted to like, but she seemed to be more tied to Bax’s sexual prowess and wanting to change him than she was about finding her brother Race and about bettering herself. There were moments when she wasn’t with Bax that I liked her, she was strong and knew what she wanted to be… to do… all the things I want in my heroine, but then she’d get with this loser and just ‘melt into his arms’.

If you tell me that Bax is bad one more time, I am going to punch you in the face.

Happy reading folks!

Rating: D

Click to purchase: Amazon

Better When He’s Bad
by Jay Crownover
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

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