Gregory Ashe is very successful at making me like, care deeply about and even love Emery and Somers. That is an accomplishment. I've read the previous 5 in this series and retain all the backstory which was revealed so far. I looked forward to the new installment BUT I strongly disliked and speed-skimmed to avoid large swathes of the narrative due to the overdose of sadistic torture, violence, bullying and intense physical suffering. EG the bully entering his injured quarry's hospital room. The victim has a serious road-burn facial injuries plus severe concussion. Bully locks them inside and then violently punches him about the head and face over and over. Each blow causing massive pain, and bleeding of the face, including puncturing the cheek.
That same night he captures the injured man, ties him to a chair and beats him, then knifes and razors his skin, forces him to drink urine, to eat yellow phlegm the bully's coughed up, cut him with a drill. Chapter 36 begins: The tip of the pliers slipped deeper under (victim's) fingernail. Then with a twist the nail popped free. (this happens to all the fingernails) In order to get finish the book, I had to simply skip chapters of unending torture. And this didn't just apply to the man above. Flashbacks of a victim, and bragging by different bullies describe beatings, knife cuttings, gang rapes, sexual trafficking, betrayals of the weak when they are in need, etc.
Too much of the story was physically impossible. EG, the captive mentioned above is suddenly free after extensive torture, beating, being shot, all this 1 day after serious concussion...nevertheless he can climb a ladder, then climb from a 2nd floor window to look for something on the house's roof. Healthy people are not normally that strong and agile, but for someone who's been tortured and beaten to this level, it is impossible-- unless he's Superman.
Police and city governmental corruption is so extensive as to also be unbelievable. Can 1/4 of the cops in town really be murderous, on the take and involved in crime themselves? Would good cops in charge of the station really sit back and let this happen, when they know very well what is going on?
My request of the author for his next novel in the series is to avoid gruesome violence, avoid repeated flashback description of how the protagonist was severely tortured by classmates, make your world more believable and less disgusting to read. These 2 protagonists are beautiful people whose love and lives are worth showing to the world. Please don't fill the story with ugly and to my mind unnecessary horror.