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Book Review, Dark, Mafia, Novella, Romance, Second Chance, Suspense

Stalemate (Murdoch Mafia Novella) by Samantha Barrett


19 years later….

Time has passed and things have changed but one thing that never will is the loyalty they all have to each other. When a new threat arises and takes out the Don himself, the next generation has no choice but to step up and introduce you to the Memento Mori.

They are the bringers of death and will demolish anyone or anything in their path to save the ones they love.


If you are a fan of romantic suspense novels and haven’t read the Murdoch Series, you are missing out on one of the best mafia family sagas out there. The Murdoch family is a complex and fascinating bunch, with alpha men and badass wives who would do anything for their loved ones. But if you are new to the series and planning to start the Memento Mori Series, there is one book you shouldn’t miss: the novella that introduces the Murdoch heirs.

I must confess, I’m not usually a fan of novellas. I prefer meaty, full-length novels that can take me on a journey for days or weeks. However, when I heard that the author, Samantha Barrett, recommended reading Stalemate before diving into the new series, I decided to give it a try. And I’m glad I did.

In this novella, Barrett breaks out each of the Murdoch siblings, their spouses, and their children in a clear and captivating way. There is a lot to learn, so if you are a reviewer like me, it’s best you write it down. I love that the Murdoch men are named after chess pieces, which adds a layer of intrigue and sophistication to their characters. I have fallen for each and every one, though I don’t know their entire stories yet. Something I plan to remedy soon!

The Murdoch heirs are as charismatic and intelligent as their parents. They are loyal, rebellious, competitive, and very smart, which gets them into trouble sometimes. Bad trouble…with the Vargas Cartel. As a result, the Murdoch Don and brothers are in dire straits as the book ends in a cliffhanger. But fear not, because the Memento Mori Series covers the new generation, which doesn’t play by the rules. Case in point, the first book is about Royal Murdoch, son of the Don of the Murdoch family, who is being promoted before he’s ready. I am currently devouring Royal’s book and can’t wait to see how the heir to the throne saves the day. More to come soon!

It’s a great credit to an author when one can write a splendid short story that held me captive from beginning to end. Samantha Barrett has a gift for creating rich and complex characters, weaving intricate plots, and keeping readers on the edge of their seats. I highly recommend reading her novels, starting with the Murdoch Series. She has been added to my favorite authors list, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Murdoch Mafia Series

Played By The Bishop (2022)
Tormented By The King (2022)

Tortured By The Knight (2023)
Tempted By The Queen (2023)
Turned By The Pawn (2023)
Ruined By The Rook (2023)
Stalemate (2023)

Memento Mori Series

1 Reign of Royal (2023)
2 Broken by Sin (2023)



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Samantha Barrett is a dark romance, PNR author who loves to write out-of-the-box stories. She is originally from the land of the long white cloud, New Zealand. She is totally fluking her way through this whole author gig, if she isn’t writing you can find her kicking back with her kids and husband with a bag of chips and glass of wine in her hand.

Stalk her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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