“I’ve never know light. Only darkness. I’ve never experienced tenderness or frailty or compassion, until Cassia.”- Fredrik, The Swan and the Jackal
Title: The Swan and the Jackal
Author: J.A. Redmerski
Series: In the Company of Killers
Publication Date: March 5, 2014
Synopsis via Goodreads: Fredrik Gustavsson never considered the possibility of love, or that anyone could ever understand or accept his dark and bloody lifestyle—until he met Seraphina, a woman as vicious and blood-thirsty as Fredrik himself. They spent two short but unforgettable years together, full of lust and killing and the darkest kind of love that two people can share.
And then Seraphina was gone.
It’s been six years since Fredrik’s lover and sadistic partner in crime turned his world upside-down. Seraphina went into hiding and has eluded him ever since. Now, he’s getting closer to finding her, and an innocent woman named Cassia is the key to drawing Seraphina from the shadows. But Cassia—after sustaining injuries from a fire that Seraphina ignited—suffers from amnesia and can’t give Fredrik the information he desperately seeks. Having no other choice, Fredrik has been keeping Cassia locked in his basement as he not only tries to get her to recall her past—because she and Seraphina share it—but also to protect her from Seraphina, who clearly wants her dead.
But Cassia is a light in the darkness that Fredrik never believed existed. After a year subjected to her kindness and compassion, he finds himself struggling with his love for Seraphina, and his growing feelings for Cassia—because he knows that to love one, the other must die.
Will light win out over darkness, or will something more powerful than either further destroy an already tortured soul?
Just based on the cover alone, I knew that the third installment to the In the Company of Killers series was going to be a dark one. Nothing could ever prepare me for a story like this, so I dove right in, hoping that by the end, my heart would still remain intact. Okay, I’m getting a bit overboard with my dramatics, let’s get to this review!
He has many names. The Specialist. The Jackal. Your worst nightmare. Fredrik Gustavsson is a master interrogator who knows how to get answers. He never thought that he would ever find someone who would accept his lifestlye, that is until he met Seraphina Bragado. Their love was dark, twisted, and bloody as they bonded over their need to kill. But then Seraphina disappeared without a trace, and the only person who may have any idea where she went is Cassia Carrington, a woman from Seraphina’s past. The only issue is that she has amnesia and having already spent a year locked up in Fredrik’s basement, he has no idea when her memory will return. But that one year has changed him, Cassia has changed him and Fredrik will have to decide who he wants more, darkness or light.DO NOT let the synopsis fool you into thinking this is a romance. IT MOST CERTAINLY IS NOT! This is a tale of tortured souls.This is what true pain and suffering is about because in reality, not everyone story ends with ‘happily ever after’.
Fredrik has to be one of the most complex characters throughout this series. From his traumatic childhood to his insatiable need to kill, the Jackal definitely lives up to his name. There were times where I did feel sorry for Fredrik, but at the same time I couldn’t because he is a monster. He takes no prisoners all he wants is answers and once he gets what he wants, you better pray for a painless death.
The writing, JUST WOW! Even when it looked like things are looking up, BAM LIGHTS OUT! It just gets darker and darker and I just have one question:
Seriously, it would have been much faster and I wouldn’t have had to endure this pain!
Cassia and Fredrik’s relationship is an interesting one because I initially thought STOCKHOLM SYNDROME! Boy was I wrong. Fredrik cares for Cassia, but I wanted to know WHY! What changed? It is most definitely not a healthy relationship, but when everything is revealed I was like:
It was brutal and heartbreaking and I think it took the last bit of humanity Fredrik had left. I am still holding onto hope though, barely.
Honestly, this series just keeps getting better and better with each book. The writing is raw and a total MINF—! There is no guessing what could happen next although I have hope that Fredrik’s story ends on a more pleasant note. Make sure you have a fluffy read lined up after this one because you will need it, maybe several of them. I was not just sobbing, no, I WAS RUINED!