BOOK REVIEW ~ MADE BY J.M. DARHOWER

The world knows the notorious Kevlar Killer, but few have ever seen what lies beneath his armor. The abused child. The neglected teenager. The broken man. He always did whatever he had to do in order to survive.

It’s kill or be killed.

Throughout his life, he has been there in the shadows, a witness to everything from beginning to end. Bound by loyalty and honor, there’s only one thing he would sacrifice it all for: family.

Never get close. Never get attached. It’s a lesson that has been brutally pounded into him since childhood, but they’re words the DeMarcos make it difficult for him to follow. Through them he finds love and grieves loss, realizing the world isn’t quite as black and white as it’s made out to be.

Made.

5 stars!!
I could spend days telling you how much I’ve been looking forward to this book so I’ll just go with a simple ‘I’ve been waiting for Corrado Moretti’s story since 2012.’ Not only was he one of my earliest book boyfriends, but he also was the very first guy I’d read about who was in the mafia so needless to say, he has a very special place in my heart. I was surprised that this book was longer than the Sempre books but that made me happy; the more Corrado, the better! This book is like a chronicle of Corrado’s life and each part is categorized by a major turning point in his life. J.M. Darhower left no stone unturned; from his childhood to teenage years to the Corrado we know him now as is all written down and I lapped it all up. But first, the beginning…
Before Corrado was known as the fearless Kevlar Killer, before he was ever exposed to the harsh mafia world, he was a boy. A lonely, misguided and mistreated boy who suffered from his mother’s physical and emotional abuse and had a father who was always absent. Growing up under these family circumstances, Corrado further isolated himself from what you’d expect normal kids to grow into. And eventually he realizes that he doesn’t fit in. He’s different. The life he currently lives holds no meaning and he has no purpose. Traits like detachment, decisiveness, and cunning all points him in the direction of his father’s ‘career’ path, the mafia. And even though he starts off on shaky ground, Corrado finds his true talents and purpose with mafia work. The adrenaline, the rush of power, the hits all come natural to him.
We’re treated to multiple scenes where Corrado more than proves his worth along with intriguing mafia dynamics and most importantly, his beautiful relationship with Celia, his one and only weakness. In the Sempre books it’s heavily hinted that Corrado and Celia’s marriage was a love match but the one question that plagued me was how? How does one as cold as Corrado and one as bright as Celia fall in love? This book is the answer. Their relationship is anything but predictable and the way their paths cross had me sighing and swooning. I think what makes Corrado more endearing to me than most heroes is that despite the dark, suffocating world he lives in, he hasn’t completely lost his ability to love even though he’s unemotional most of the time. So when a man like him falls, he falls deep and he falls hard. And there isn’t a better girl he could’ve fallen in love with than the vivacious Celia who brings light into his dim world. Normal concerns couples have like cheating, jealousy, etc…are so trivial and petty to him because there will only ever be one woman for him. That one woman who is worth fighting for. Worth killing for. Worth dying for. That kind of love and feeling coming from a ruthless killer just seems to magnify it to epic proportions, at least I think so.
Reading this book hit me hard with the feels. Since this was literally a record of Corrado’s life story, I felt as if I lived through 40 years myself. To go through his childhood, his turbulent teenage years and his rise in the mafia underground and his enduring relationship with Celia, it was like reading a saga. Once I finished the book, I felt an immediate sense of loss and heavily contemplated the legacy of a man who gave nothing and everything, who had to be cruel in order to be kind, and a dozen other contradictions to live the life that chose him.
Made is set in the time before and during the events of Sempre and Sempre-Redemption and can technically be read on its own. However, it also contains major plot spoilers for both Sempre books so I would recommend reading those books first before starting this one.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.