Series Review // Ruthless People by J.J. McAvoy

December 11, 2023

Ruthless People series by J.J. McAvoy

Today's flashback is the Ruthless People series by J.J. McAvoy. This was my first foray into this author's work and I was blown away with the world she created for these two rival mafias ruling Chicago. This is the story of Melody and Liam, their arranged marriage, and everything that they grew to be. They started out as enemies, each the heir to a kingdom, eventually joining forces to rule together. It's a story full of chaos, death, drama, family and love.

All of these stories are told in either dual or multiple first person perspectives. The heat ranges from descriptive to almost explicit and there is a happy ending.

I read this series many years ago and can still remember how amazing it was. Have you ever read these books? Are you interested?

Please Note: I had intended to read this author's Children of Vice series after this, but I chose not to and will continue not to because readers, whom I trust, have advised me not to. To leave the love I have for these characters right here, to remember them this way. Supposedly the author ruined everything LOL.

Ruthless People by JJ McAvoy

1. Ruthless People

To the outside world, they look like American Royalty, giving to charities, feeding the homeless, rebuilding the city. But behind closed doors is a constant battle for dominance between two Bosses, cultures, and hearts. Ruthless People is a romantic crime fiction set in modern day Chicago, and follows the life and marriage of Melody Giovanni and Liam Callahan-rivals by blood and leaders through fear. Their marriage, arranged by their fathers in hopes to end years of bloodshed between the Irish and the Italians. Liam believes he's getting a simple-minded wife, one he can control, one who bends to his every need . . . the complete opposite of Melody. She knows exactly what type of man he is, and would rather die than give up the power she has spent her life building. The Mafia of the past has evolved, and with rival bosses gunning for them, Melody and Liam will have to learn to work as one to take down those who stand in their way.

Rating - ★★★★★

This book was fan-freaking-tastic!! I LOVED every single minute of it!! I know I'm twisted, but everything Liam did was beautiful to me. His character made me all swoon-y. I'm not sure what screw is loose in my brain, but even in torture and killing mode, he was extremely hot. And the way that he loves Melody, though a tad obsessive, possessive, and manipulative, was incredibly sweet. Speaking of Melody, she was truly a lioness. Beautiful and lethal. Her coldness put me off a bit but in no way took away from my respect for how strong a character she was. I love strong female roles and JJ McAvoy nailed it here. I'm glad that she was able to love Liam right back (in their own twisted but sexy and endearing way).

I can't believe JJ started writing this in her first year in college. That's amazing!! This author is truly talented. I've already got book 2 so that's what's next!

The Untouchables by JJ McAvoy

2. The Untouchables

Everything Melody Callahan has ever been told about her past is a lie. Her father lied. Her husband lied. But like all secrets…they come out. Not only is her mother, Aviela, alive but she won’t stop until she tears down everything Liam and Melody have spent the past year building.

With a new target on their back and the media now focused on their family as the Presidential election approaches, Liam and Melody must fight on two battlefronts. Melody is torn between being in love with Liam and wanting to kill him for lying to her. Being in love and showing love are two different things in her world. Liam wants to do anything to protect his family even if that means hurting the people he loves.

Family is everything… but what happens when they’re out for your blood? Everything they have been through is nothing compared to what is coming...

Rating - ★★★★★

This series just keeps getting better!! This installment had me on tenterhooks. I was giddy, anxious, nervous, happy, sad, mad, and every other emotion in between. That's what these books have done. Drawn out my emotions in such a way that I'm IN the story. I feel everything.

I tried to explain this series to one of my daughters. She wanted to know if the H and h were the good guys. I then had to explain that Liam and Melody were actually bad guys. That's kind of a given considering they were Mafia bosses. However, they are the best of the bad guys and I love them for that. They have a love for family and exist by an honour code. And their rules are absolutely hilarious!! I think that appeased her curiosity.

Honestly, this book was amazing. Melody's mother, Aviela, is gunning for both Liam and Melody. And she stops at nothing!! She's more ruthless than Melody (if that can be believed). There's a new baby in the house (sweet part of the storyline). There's a mole in the house. A family member is not acting like family. Liam and Melody are more in love than ever. And there's lots of killing and torture too. Awesome!!

American Savages by JJ McAvoy

3. American Savages

Melody is nowhere to be found, Liam is in jail, and the Callahan family is cracking, just as Avian Doers, the FBI Director and puppet master behind their downfall, planned.

But just because they’re down doesn't mean they’re out. To fight back, Liam and Melody will have to put everything on the line. The kid gloves are coming off, and no one is getting out alive. Nothing will compare to the reign of terror that is about to envelope the entire country. First they were Ruthless, now they are pure Savages. The end is here, and no one is safe…

Rating - ★★★★★

I swear that reading this series was like watching a really good Mafia, political, FBI, police thriller. It's got everything!! An amazing couple (Liam and Melody) who quantify dysfunction. They love each other so much but they're the Bosses of the largest mob! It's got sociopaths out the yingyang. There's action, suspense, torture, betrayal, justice, and also a lot of love. I am so sad to say goodbye to these characters. I honestly did not want this book to end. I feel a little lost right now trying to think of what book to read next. This series set me up with pretty high expectations. The epilogue was awesome!! Another job well done JJ McAvoy!!

A Bloody Kingdom by JJ McAvoy

4. A Bloody Kingdom

It has been eight years since the Callahans defeated Avian Doers and conquered Chicago. Melody is now the Governor and public face of the family, while Liam rises as the Ceann na Conairte of both the Irish and Italians.

Their reach is limitless; their power endless...but is it possible to have too much power? Can Liam and Melody raise a family, a city, and an empire?

Only a fool would try to stop them now....

Rating - ★★★★

It's been a long time since I was swimming in the debauched lives that Liam and Melody led. They're still the bosses running the criminal underground of Chicago. Liam's the face while Melody acts legit as the Governor. They were a bit soft with age and kids, but the lethal edge that always existed with these characters was still just as sharp. The story was utter chaos. I had no idea what would happen next and can admit that I was very surprised by some events. I loved getting the voices of the family as points of view. Everyone had something valuable to say and it gave this last book the family touch that I didn't even know would be necessary.

I'm not a huge fan of the way this story ended. I wanted more for these characters who ruled my life in so many ways. I'm hoping whatever was missing can be found in the legacy books the author released. I want more of Melody and Liam and hope to catch a glimpse of them there.


  1. I need to read this series. I read this author once a long time ago and it was a standalone. I loved it, but never read anything else. You're inspiring me with these reviews!

  2. I have most definitely heard of this series but just haven't gotten around to it. I think I am nervous for the inner drama in their relationship haha But I adore arranged marriage setups.

    1. I think their drama is an acquired taste LOL. I will say that things between these characters (all of them) are never dull :)


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