River is restless and driving aimlessly when he stops in a dive bar and sees Theo. He knows something isn’t right and quickly takes Theo for himself. River doesn’t care if he has blood on his hands, as he deals with death every day as a mortician, and River has no problem taking a life for what he and his family see as the greater good.
The only life Theo ever knew was living in a human trafficking ring and, now that River tells Theo that he is safe, he doesn’t know how to adjust. Theo is part relieved and part terrified. He doesn’t remember any other life than being captive and he doesn’t know where he truly stands with River and if he has traded one capture for another. Theo knows he’s not equipped to walk free in the world, but he wants to know he can walk out of River’s home and his life if he chooses.
River won’t stop until he gets vengeance for Theo, and River’s family of sociopaths is waiting to help him with whatever he needs. River has never been in love and he’s not even truly sure what love is, but he’s falling for Theo and will protect what is his at all costs.
Body Count begins the Wayward Sons series and the reference is to River and his family of adoptive brothers. Their family is unconventional, but to them, it’s all they know. The book opens with River knowing instinctively that there is something not right with Theo’s situation and the reader has to just accept that and go with it. River’s family practices vigilante style justice and they do have tie-ins to organized crime.
Theo’s situation is tragic. He was taken captive as a small child, his memory is fragmented, and he has no concept of how he would be able to take care of himself in the world. He doesn’t understand at first what his relationship is with River, just that River wants Theo to be his, but River makes a focused effort to not take anything that Theo is not willingly giving.
There are several parts to this book and, while I liked the darker edge to the story, I struggled in some places. River’s family has a lot of facets and moving parts. His parents have their own relationships and that is only touched upon. All of his brothers have mental health issues. The introduction to all of them is interesting, but it was a lot to fit into one book, along with making the plot line work. River’s family also has mafia ties and there is a foundation laid out for it, but with everything else going on, it was both too much and not enough to make that part of the story work.
When there are dark characters, there is a fine line where I have to like them, despite their actions. There has to be something to grab onto for me and I didn’t feel that here, as I never did warm up to River. I liked Theo, but I mostly felt sorry for him that he was again in a situation where he was beholden to people in a different way and he wasn’t getting any of the help he desperately needed. River’s body certainly isn’t going to fix the years of abuse Theo has suffered and I wanted more, maybe better, for Theo.
River’s brothers do seem to have interesting stories and, with their books coming up, I would check out the next in the series. There are a lot of warnings for this book and, if you are unsure about darker content, take the full list available in the front of the book into consideration before reading.