Bad Games / Vengeful Games / Hellbent: Bad Games (books 9 – 11)

Bad Games / Jeff Menapace

Synopsis – The Fannelli brothers are gifted and talented psychopaths – they’re “special.” And the Fannelli brothers love games. Bad games. Kidnapping, torture, and rape, to be precise. The Lambert family is the American dream family – happy, healthy, and vacationing in a cabin by the lake. And Ms. and Mr. Lambert love games. Good games. Sexual foreplay and, er… sex, to be precise. (They do it a lot.) So when the Fannellis cross paths with the Lamberts, their games of choice clash. In a bad way. And the Fannelli brothers find out they’re not so “special” after all.

Reaction – I considered not finishing the book had the story followed through with its torture porn set-up, which I do not care for. But as there were explicit torture scenes in the last half of the book, I wouldn’t put this book in the torture porn genre. The story was well-written, extremely suspenseful, and the tension just kept ratcheting up. But I had less than zero sympathy for the bad guys. No redeeming qualities there. I also questioned the believability of the brothers continually eluding the law, given their long-term careers in torture, and I questioned their odd relationship with their mother. But they’re psychopaths, right? The good guys were just annoying enough with all their pinchy, slappy foreplay that they weren’t boring. A bit heavy on the explicit sex descriptions for my taste. The ending was as abrupt as the jerk of a noose, but it worked.

Recommendation –  This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here –


Vengeful Games / Jeff Menapace

Synopsis – The Fannellis and the Lamberts meet up for a revenge-inspired scrimmage in this sequel to “Bad Games.” The Fannelli’s games of choice? Still kidnapping, torture, and rape, but with more psychological torment and “show” murders to rally the teams this time around. But the Lamberts still don’t like those games. Doesn’t matter, because the Fannellis are dead set out to prove they really are “special” after all. Imprisonment and a trial gets in the way of “special” Fannelli family fun, so they opt out of those inconveniences. And that’s as easy as a gifted and talented student skipping a grade.

Reaction – Again, I questioned the Fannelli family relationship, and the seemingly magical way they kept eluding the law. I also questioned revenge as plausible motive for a true psychopath. And again, no sympathy for the Devil, and a bit heavy on the explicit sex descriptions for my taste. The contextual appropriateness of some expressions were off. The ending seemed rushed and light. But overall, the ratcheting stakes and heightening tension paid off big time in this dreadfully great page-turner.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here –


Bad Games: Hellbent / Jeff Menapace

Synopsis – A Fannilli and protégé match will and wits with a Lambert and bodyguard in this sequel to “Vengeful Games.” Fannelli’s games of choice? Kidnapping and torture. Motivation? Revenge. Specifically, slow psychological and physical torture, resulting in death. With the help of the psychopathic reform school girl she helps “liberate,” Fannelli sets her trap. And after a couple in-the-field primer lessons on the fun and fulfillment of torture and murder, teacher and student matriculate to the final exam – shredding the mind and body of the bodyguard who dared put a damper on “special” Fannelli family fun. Only this exam has a few unexpected questions. Real toughies. I guess Fannelli shouldn’t have skipped a grade.

Reaction – Revenge is the main theme of this book, which is once again odd, considering Fannelli is supposed to be a psychopath. I didn’t think revenge even registered as a motive in the mind of a true psychopath, only self-preservation. Fannelli oddly showed some empathy is this book, albeit very limited, but I did not empathize with her in the least. The last part of the book got a little torture-porny for my taste, but it fit the storyline. This book started off with the promise of a fully-stoked steam train, then barreled at me when the wheels caught the tracks.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here –


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  1. Hmm, I think I’ll give these ones a miss. Just reading your synopses makes my skin crawl…

    • Yeah, I considered how the stories would come across in my brief synopses. I wanted to convey the main premise, and not give away any (or too many) spoilers. I also didn’t want to get into the details (unpleasant, pleasant, or neither) of the story, and leave those to be discovered and appreciated (or not) by anyone who is curious enough to look into the books. So while there’s a reasonable amount of interaction in these books that isn’t directly “sadistic bad guys versus good guys,” the plot is very much in that category, as well as the storyline. Not for those who don’t tolerate a lot of criminally violent descriptions in fiction.


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