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The Devil of Downtown by Joanna Shupe

The Devil of Downtown

by Joanna Shupe

Series: Uptown Girls (3)

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445465,475 (3.86)None
Title:The Devil of Downtown
Authors:Joanna Shupe
Info:Publisher Unknown
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The Devil of Downtown by Joanna Shupe


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If I had to pick a favorite series I read this year, Uptown Girls would be it. I was sad to say goodbye to the Greene sisters but excited to finally get to Justine's book. Justine appeared as the quiet sister throughout the other two books so getting to know her and her passions was really fun and exciting. Justine definitely had a heart of gold and was not as meek as she seemed. Justine also was not afraid to ask for what she needed, even if she had to go to some not so great places along the way.

Jack, oh Jack. You rogue, you devil. Gotta love a dirty talking, bowling loving man with a tragic past. Seriously, who knew bowling could be sexy?

We also get to catch up with the other two sisters (FLORENCE!!) and I think the trilogy as a whole, had a satisfying ending. I definitely am glad I found this author and cannot wait for more.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy. ( )
  Stacie-C | May 8, 2021 |
2.5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

There had been something in her eyes when she’d first watched him approach on the walk, an appreciation. Feminine interest. Just the hint of a flame waiting for the right match. And God help him, because he was a terrible man, the worst man, he’d love nothing more than to watch her burn.

The third book in the Uptown Girls series stars the youngest Greene sister Justine with New York City's top criminal kingpin Jack Mulligan. I'm new to the series and I think that might have hurt my enjoyment, I felt like I was missing some foundation for the characters, especially Jack. Justine is the quiet and fade into the background do-gooder sister but quiet doesn't mean weak. She spends her days chasing down wife deserters and forcing them pay child support. When one of the deserters works for Jack, she simply goes to him and requests he find the man for her.

“I thought I wasn’t your type?”
He lifted a shoulder and shoved his hands in his trouser pockets. “The more you argue with me, the more ‘my type’ you become.”

Justine and Jack had instant chemistry and since I was new to the characters, I wanted their fire to simmer a bit longer so I could get to know the characters first. Jack runs a huge criminal enterprise but the story doesn't really veer into that involvement, he's more trying to go more legit with a beer business. Jack grew up extremely poor, mother was a sex worker and he never knew his father, so he has a strong desire to remain at the top. The story starts right off the bat with Justine and Jack and even as the story went on, I never felt like I 'knew' Jack, he had his character outline points but I felt like I was missing some of his substance; readers of the series might not have this problem if he is featured in previous books.

Her sisters had no idea of the woman she’d become. Or the things she’d done and the things she hoped to do. Her sisters gambled, drank and kissed their way across the city . . . but they wouldn’t dare let her do the same. And she was tired of it.

I thought the story highlighted Justine better, we see how she doesn't have an exceptionally tight relationship with is sisters and even though she is born to privilege she's out there trying to help people. It was convenient that her parent's were away to Europe (even though I'm not sure why Jack as a partner was such a big deal when one of her sisters lives in a casino with her man unmarried) and while she has a grandmother to oversee things, we get around two scenes with her and then granny disappears from the story. I also thought that even though Justine was out there trying to help women, it wasn't truly pointed out that she enjoyed the protection of her rich father and then her protection from Jack. Not that she could help either but it took away some of the danger from the character.

He couldn’t tell if he hoped a little of her goodness would rub off on him . . . or if he prayed his wickedness rubbed off on her.

These two were pretty hot and heavy for each other from the beginning but my lack of feeling like I knew the characters hampered me feeling some emotional depth between them, which I need to feel and enjoy the heat. Towards the end I also thought Justine gave up Jack way too easily and this made her love feel even more airy to me. There was also an ending climatic scene that just had Jack disappearing from it, to solve the problem I guess, and it left the whole scene and mood deflated. I did love how Jack was loosely inspired by a real Gilded Age New Yorker along with all the other historical people, places, and events the author added to the story; it really set the time and place for me. Like I said, if you've read the other two books in the series, you might have some of the character foundation I found lacking and ultimately hurt my enjoyment here. This had more of a focus on the couple with their intimacy more at play than outside story, readers of the series will probably enjoy the youngest do-gooder Greene sister getting her happily ever after with the bad boy Jack. ( )
  WhiskeyintheJar | Sep 26, 2020 |
Review originally published in Romancing Romances.

I received an eARC at no cost from the publisher, and I am leaving a voluntary and honest review. Thank you.

I loved this book so much I couldn’t even write the review when I finished as I was so excited I couldn’t keep still enough to actually sit in front of a computer.

When I finished The Devil of Downtown my first thought was… I want to read it again! That’s how much I loved it.

I’ve always loved a bad boy who is good for his love and/or has a heart of gold. Jack Mulligan… doesn’t have a heart of gold, but he does like Justine and he doesn’t want to see her hurt.

Jack Mulligan “rules” downtown New York. His character is based on a real man, Paul Kelly. Jack’s look is based on Vincent Piazza, who plays Lucky Luciano on the tv series Boardwalk Empire, which the author, Joanna Shupe, has mentioned she used as an inspiration for Jack. For fans of the series Pecky Blinders, Jack is also quite similar to Tommy Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy.

And if Jack Mulligan is the devil of downtown, Justine is the do-gooder, the angel. While he deals in favours, blackmail, and balance of power, she deals in the business of helping people just because they need it.

Justine works at an institution where she helps women whose husbands abandoned them and their children either return, or pay retribution. It’s in her work that she meets Jack, as one of the men employed by him abandoned his wife, and kids. Jack doesn’t like having someone talking to his employers, and he makes a deal with Justine that this man will pay to support his wife and children, if she owes him a favour, which he can collect at any point. She hates not knowing what might happen, but she has no other choice.

Jack respects Justine because she stands her ground, she challenges him – and she is able to do this because she knows Jack does not hurt women or children. She believes he will not break his “code”, but still Jack thinks she is incredible just by behaving like that. You go Justine!

All throughout the book there is this motto that Jack will corrupt Justine, that he’s a spider and will get her stuck in his web without her noticing. And, in a way… that does happen. But Justine realizes what happened and she didn’t like the person she was becoming. It was a heartbreaking scene. Have I mentioned I cried in this book? More than once, actually. But I still loved it!
They had such an amazing chemistry, Jack exudes sexiness, and Justine, whom most people considered plain, was like an avenging angel, and had this sexual energy that just appealed so much to Jack.

I know some people will not be happy with the end… but for me it was perfect. Because they both acknowledge that for them to be together, things have to change, at least slightly.
Although I’m an only child, I really connected with Justine, and understood her very well. And Jack just connected with me in all the right ways.

The sisters of the previous books are also in The Devil of Downtown, but I paid almost no attention to them. They were just plot points to make us understand Justine better, in my opinion.

I just loved this book so much, the essence of New York, and blackmail, and the power, and the sexiness.. It was pretty much perfect. ( )
  Joana_v_v | Jul 17, 2020 |
I didn’t think I’d love this series any more, but Justine and Jack’s story is definitely my favorite. She was so strong, and I love how hard he fell for her awesomeness. I hope we see them down the road in another Joanna Shupe, as a few characters from past reads have shown up here and there. ( )
  spinsterrevival | Jul 8, 2020 |
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Devil Of Downtown, by Joanna Shupe, is available at booksellers on 6-30-2020. Devil is book 3 in the Uptown Girls series. It's also the end of the planned trilogy. While an enjoyable read I can't say I became invested in the characters. The do-gooder is too good and the devil seems bad but isn't when we meet him. For all the talk about his past he turns into a wimp pretty fast. There wasn't enough rough and tumble stuff for me to believe he was a mob boss. Justine has been running around the city, mostly alone, since she was 13? She's a kidnapping waiting to happen. I love her good deeds but that's all she does, it gets boring.

#JoannaShupe #TheDevilOf Downtown #UptownGirls #AvonBooks #Netgalley #HarperCollinsPublishing ( )
  FDarlene491 | Jul 1, 2020 |
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