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De Marco Empire by J.Lou McCartney

De Marco Empire (edition 2008)

by J.Lou McCartney

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Title:De Marco Empire
Authors:J.Lou McCartney
Info:Vanguard Press (2008), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 346 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites

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De Marco Empire by J.Lou McCartney



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I first came across mention of De Marco Empire by J Lou McCartney at Yvonne’s blog, Socrates' Book Reviews. Romance is not my preferred genre, at least not by itself, but I was fascinated by the storyline: young woman falls in love with successful businessman with a sordid past. The mafia has always held a certain appeal for me—at least the mafia in the fictional world.

The novel opens with the beginning of a murder trial. Katie stands accused of killing her husband on their wedding night. She insists she did not do it. Her defense attorney and long time friend, Matt Carmichael believes her and is determined to prove her innocence. Taking us back in time to the night Katie and her husband met, the story unfolds.

For all intents and purposes, Antonio de Marco really does want to put his criminal past behind him. He has moved on to make a name for himself running numerous legitimate businesses. He and his brother left Italy shortly after the murder of their parents and young sister when attempts to seek vengeance against those they believed responsible failed. Gianni and Antonio have always lived on the edge. Gianni is less inclined to follow his brother’s lead in terms of sticking to the legal side of life, and while Antonio is trying, he still hasn’t completely given up his old habits.

When Katie Saunders walks into his life, he knows he must have her. She is a smart and beautiful young woman, innocent but definitely no push over. The only catch? She has a boyfriend and Antonio has a fiancée, the ever insufferable Sasha Breschnevsky. The two are destined to be together, however, and once the obstacles are dealt with, Antonio is determined to win Katie over. Katie hasn’t a clue what world she is about to enter. It is a world of nightclubs, drugs, sex and murder, where extortion and rival wars are the order of the day.

McCartney’s novel has a seductive quality to it that drew me in and held me captive. I could not wait to see what happened next. The story was compelling, but the writing nearly lost me. One of the many tasks I do in my day job is editing reports, and, while I may not be any good at editing my own writing, I have an eye for catching others’ mistakes. And this novel was full of them. Enough to pull me out of the story at times. Then there was the little issue of the narrative voice. While I enjoy reading books written in third person omniscient, I was not used to the sudden and constant shifting in character viewpoints with no break in the text or warning in the change of perspective. Fortunately, this only was a problem in the first few chapters and the shifts were better defined for the majority of the book. To put it into perspective though, I wasn't too keen on the writing of the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, and yet I still gobbled up each of her books. There was just something about them that had me craving more even in spite of my reservations about the writing. It was similar with De Marco Empire. Normally such issues would completely ruin a book for me; however, in this case, the story was enough to carry the book for me, and I read late into the night.

I liked Katie Saunders, but I did have trouble relating to her completely. Katie is a bit too perfect. She’s got it all: perfect body, naturally beautiful, thoughtful, intelligent, succeeds at everything she tries, and just about everyone loves and adores her. I think her only flaw is her choice in men, really.

It isn’t too surprising that Katie fell quickly under Antonio’s spell. Many women are drawn to the mysterious bad boy who has plenty of money and good looks, especially when he throws on the charm. Antonio was definitely charming, even if a little domineering and moody. I give him credit for not being so rigid in his more traditional beliefs. It was obvious he loved Katie and would do anything for her, even letting her be her own person.

The best characters in the novel, the ones I most enjoyed reading about, were the not so good ones and the downright evil ones. They had a lot of personality, not to mention were the most interesting. I loved hating them and couldn’t get enough of them.

J Lou McCartney’s novel was certainly suspenseful and kept me entertained even in spite of my reservations. De Marco Empire is the author's first novel, and if it’s anything to go by, the author shows a lot of potential. ( )
  LiteraryFeline | Oct 9, 2009 |
De Marco Empire - Reviewed by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

'It was mid July 1985, Katie and her best friend Lucy were getting ready for a night out to celebrate Lucy's twentieth birthday. They had been saving up for weeks and were going to the opening night of a prestigious new club in the city called "La Pregheira".'

Katie and Lucy had been friends for years. Lucy's brother Matt had been Katie's boyfriend since high school. Everyone, including Katie herself, expected them to marry one day and start a family. But Matt was still finishing his education to become a lawyer and due to his needing to study, wasn't able to attend the opening of La Pregheira with the girls.

Upon reaching the club, Katie and Lucy discovered they should have bought tickets in advance. The line was tremendous and they would never make it in for the opening. Lucy came up with an idea to pose as temp employees just long enough to get inside. It didn't take the manager long to see through this little scam but she was so impressed with the two girls that she hired them, giving them the night off to enjoy the club.

The club owners Antonio and Gianni De Marco were in attendance for the opening and when Antonio spotted Katie, he felt drawn to her. He was there with Sasha but that didn't stop him from pursuing Katie. When he broke off his engagement with Sasha to be with Katie, her temper flared. And when Antonio proposed to Katie, Sasha swore she would have her revenge.

Matt is heartbroken after loosing Katie. He doesn't trust Antonio and his brother Gianni. People have a tendency of either dying or disappearing after crossing the brothers. But Katie is blinded by her love for Antonio and refuses to heed his warnings.

Antonio insists that Katie will no longer work at the club but does agree to allow her to go into the import furniture with Nina after her husband is arrested for drug smuggling. Between the two of them, their business flourishes with Katie becoming a very self proven business woman. So after four long years, Antonio finally pins Katie down to setting a wedding date.

The wedding day starts as a beautiful, wondrous occasion until someone kills Antonio. Katie, upon finding Antonio, picks up the gun that killed him making her the the prime suspect.

The De Marco Empire is a book of page turning, non-stop action. I really didn't want it to end and I'm hoping McCartney will write a sequel. ( )
  marthacheves | Aug 24, 2009 |
Mystery? Romance? Thriller? J Lou McCartney’s first novel, De Marco Empire, manages to pull off all three with great style. Two brothers dealing with a generational family feud are on the surface hard-working business men. But in reality, the corrupt club owners seem to believe that they have clean hands because they had even more corrupt people doing their deeds.

Each character is carefully crafted, and their lives were interwoven with the others. I liked the fact that you know at the beginning of the book what is going to happen – you just don’t know how. Although blinded by love, the main female characters were strong independent women. Katie rarely did what Antonio told her to do and became an independent business woman without asking for his help. For me, the friendship between Katie and Lucy was the heart of the book.

The book flowed well, and even with the short chapter divisions, the story was never choppy. De Marco Empire is a rich and well-written novel. ( )
  Tmtrvlr | Aug 9, 2009 |
De Marco Empire is the debut novel by J. Lou McCartney. This novel takes the reader deep into the world of the Italian mafia with all its murder, mystery and passion. Showcasing the lives of several key characters you're instantly sucked into a riveting tale; layer upon layer this tale builds to an exciting crescendo.

Whoa! What a ride! This is what ran through my head as I read the final page. From the first page to the last De Marco Empire is sure to captivate your attention. The characters were entertaining and in some cases jaw dropping but never dull. Every page brought new drama to a turbo-charged plot. But what impressed me the most about this book was the layers within the plot. Each character is connected in surprising ways, some connections dating back decades. And McCartney weaves these connections and individual storylines together beautifully.

Again, this is a debut novel so it doesn't have that ultra polished, veteran author perfection. And as a warning to younger or sensitive readers it does have language and explicit sexual language. But I can honestly say its one of the best debut novels I've ever read. If you're looking for an adventure you won't be disappointed with De Marco Empire. ( )
  UnadornedBook | Jun 9, 2009 |
It was July 1985 in London, England.

Lucy Carmichael and her friend, Katie Saunders has just scored jobs as waitresses for the ultra, new, exclusive Club La Pregheira. The club is owned and run by brothers, Antonio and Gianni de Marco. Antonio and Gianni wanted to escape form their old life in Italy. Now they are the richest and most powerful men in London.

From the first moment Antonio laid eyes on Katie, he was done. Antonio is engaged to Sasha Breschnevsky but that does not matter. He plans to make Katie his wife. Before you know it Antonio has dropped Sasha like a bad apple. Katie does not know it but her current boyfriend and Lucy’s brother, Matt has been instructed to forget about Katie. To everyone around Antonio and Katie it seems that they are the perfect couple. Katie realizes too late, just what type of world Antonio comes from. Now she is caught in the middle of a war between the De Marco’s and their arch rivals.

Right away from the first moment I picked up this book and started reading it, I was intrigued. I just wanted to keep reading. I couldn’t stop. The characters in this story did use curse words, which I did not take offensive to as I thought this made the story more authentic and believable. The De Marco brothers have the touch but not the good kind. Everyone they come in contact with ends up dead. De Marco Empire is one of the best new books to end up in my lap. I only have one thing to say and that is…write faster Mrs. McCartney. I can’t wait to check out the next book by this author. ( )
  Cherylk | Jan 25, 2009 |
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