End of an Empire: The Empire Trilogy # 3 by Terry J. Benton

End of an Empire: The Empire Trilogy # 3 by Terry J. Benton

Way back when this was a little baby blog, and I was just getting started, a new to the scene author contacted me about reviewing his book.  He did explain, at the beginning, that this was a 3 part series, and it would be different from what I had read.  Believe me when I say that this series IS very different from others I have read, yet has that sense of “I know them” from the characters.  Please read on for the 3rd in the trilogy.

Book Review:

I was concerned with starting this installment about the trajectory of the story: Russell was gone, and he was, admittedly, the glue that held the very diverse Stiletto Mafia together. While the other characters were compelling, they held more of an interest for me simply because of Russell and his faith and love for them.  In a way, he was, and continued to function as their guiding light and guardian angel throughout this story, no matter how determined they were to throw away what he had taught and left them.

Thomas and Mercedes are the two who believed themselves the closest and most damaged by the loss of their friend – and these two are like oil and water, both jealous of the attachment and attention that Russell paid to them.  They both work incredibly hard to destroy themselves in the aftermath: with drinking, drugs, isolation and above all guilt. Guilt that they survived and Russell and Louis didn’t.

But – as established early on, Russell is a force to contend with, and he would not go quietly. The first rule of the Stiletto Mafia is that they are family – and family does for family.  And he is determined that they will fulfill his promise to them all: move forward with new lives and opportunities that they didn’t have before.

Of course, the story is not without tragic consequences, and some unexpected help, but this is where Benton uses his storytelling and ability to weave connections to bring a story laden with hope, faith and the overwhelming power of a promise, even when it seems impossible to honor.  The intervening years (12 in total from the first book) have presented Russell as a fully-flushed out human being, one with his faults, but a determination to make things “better” for everyone around him.  And in many ways, he did accomplish this goal – and we see just how difficult it was for him to manage the Mafia, their missions and their interactions.  While we only get  snippets from two of the Mafia, we get more backstory from Louis and her integration into the group, as well as moments about Derrick, Russell’s love.

Benton has developed a solid and strong voice in this not to be missed story that chronicles the life of a country boy from small town Georgia with big city dreams, and his desire to make a family that never forgets the one important thing: he will love them forever.

I purchased a copy of this title for my personal library. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

End of an Empire: The Empire Trilogy # 3 by Terry J. Benton

Title: End of an Empire
Author: Terry J. Benton
Genre: African-American, Literary Fiction, Literary Fiction /Family Saga, Urban
Published by: Self-Published
Source: Self-Purchased
Pages: 246
Rated: five-stars
Heat: One FlameOne Flame

Get Your Copy: Amazon
See this Title on Goodreads

In bereavement, people spend different lengths of time coping with their losses—and some express their feelings more intensely than others.

After Russell’s death, Mercedes and Thomas descend into darkness—the darkest point of their lives that either of them has ever seen or experienced. At the height of their internal struggles, Mercedes and Thomas realize they still need to honor their best friend’s last wish. As the empire Russell built begins to crumble all around them, the Stiletto Mafia comes together for one last job, which will prove to be their most dangerous and challenging yet… and some of them may not survive.

"A person's darkest moment is often the time when they find themselves..."

About Terry J. Benton

Terry J. Benton grew up in the small town of Sylvania, Georgia. Terry’s true passion lies in books. As an escape from the stresses of the workplace, he would often peruse the aisles of the local Barnes & Noble on his lunch breaks (when he wasn’t engrossed in a good novel). His favorite books include The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, The Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan, The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, and His Dark Materials series by Phillip Pullman.

With such an immense love for reading and storytelling, it was only a matter of time before Terry embarked upon a project to write his first novel, Prelude to an Empire in 2011. It was on the day when he began this project that he truly understood what “fulfillment” meant; and since then his only regret was that he didn’t start writing sooner. Terry hopes to one day become a repeat New York Times Bestselling Author and also plans to break into the Children’s Fantasy genre next.

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