Beating the Odds Books 1 & 2

                             Beating the OddsHardhearted: It's Better to Be Feared than Loved: Beating the Odds 2                       Synopsis- Brad Carter is down on his luck. He loses his job, catches his woman in bed with another man, and he’s days away from being booted out of his home. Wanting to get away from his problems, Brad and his boys go to a nightclub, where they meet a wealthy stranger who offers them each $50,000 to go to Rio de Janeiro and traffic cocaine back to the U.SThey jump at the opportunity and have the time of their lives in Rio, but when it’s time to return to the U.S. with the drugs, all hell breaks loose. Brad and his friends are caught, and being in jail is not anything they could have imagined. With the help of a fellow prisoner with powerful connections, they plan an escape. 

Brad is determined to find his way back to the U.S., but not without Diamond, the beautiful woman he met before things went awry in Rio. Can he rescue her from the clutches of Armand, the sick crime boss who’s been holding her captive for years? He soon discovers that the web of criminal connections between Armand, his wife, and his associates are deep and dangerous. With the obstacles he faces, Brad’s journey to freedom may be impossible. 

After they were locked up abroad, Swag, Tyler, and Travis have successfully made it out of Brazil with the help of the Hernandez Cartel. Now they’re on a new adventure in San Jose, Costa Rica, where they are taking orders from a much deadlier and beautiful nightmare, King Kia Costello. At first things in Costa Rica are pleasurable, until blood is shed, friend turns against friend, and jealousy comes into play when Swag catches the interest of someone else. Come join Sherrod Tunstall as he takes you on another wild ride with this story of global love, murder, deceit, and payback 

Book Review -  Brad along with three other friends join his cousin on a sketchy opportunity to gain some quick cash. All of them wanted the money to take them out of their current circumstances.  Unfortunately, his cousin, Swag, trusted the wrong person, and this lead to Brad, Swag, Stan, and twin Travis & Tyler being put in a horrifying predicament. This lead to one finding the woman of his dreams, 3 escaping and landing in the clutches of evil much worse than they knew, and one being emasculated in the worst possible way.

This series did not immediately pull me in. Unfortunately in the case of both audiobooks,  I did not become engaged until I was about 4 to 5 hours or so into the listen and that was only mildly so. The story's concurrent storylines as a whole were not as interesting. The most interesting storyline in book 1 was of Armond and his wife. The outcome of Brad and friends was more of an afterthought for me, even the events that occurred with Stan.  

In regards to book two, the standout character was King. The story picked up where one left off and we got to see the few that escaped Belize and their outcome.  Paco and his friends as well as Swag, Tyler, and Travis are now "in bed" with a crime lord named King, who had a pension for licking people's faces and tasting their blood.  I kept thinking that clearly hepatitis or HIV/Aids were irrelevant. I know. I know that's my logical real-world brain talking. This was by far the most interesting piece of this story. King leads with fear and mistakenly thought was respect.  I kept waiting for King to make some "boss" moves. I was waiting for some mafia/cartel-esque business dealings. Unfortunately, the one thing that did happen was King ruling with fear, manipulation, and rarely conducted any business if any. 

The series moved at a moderate pace. The plot was clear and the characters, while only 2 were interesting, were developed. I think there were a few missed opportunities to strengthen the series. But, I will be honest and say that my feelings about the book may have changed had I read it instead of listening to it. The narrator did not have the rough edge needed to deliver this story in a way that was engaging. Between the lack of power and the mispronunciation of certain words (granted that could have been because the manuscript had it written that way), it distracted me as a listener from the story multiple times.  I'm going to sit with this one for a day or two and I may update my comments. While this series was not for me, I can see the author's creative mind at work and will try another novel or series.  I know that I will still read the next installment. I would like to see how this ends and King's karma. You can get your copy by clicking the image below and supporting the author by leaving a review.