The crime thriller Wild Hearted was released by the Writers in Crime in February 2013.
It ranks as #2 on the Goodreads list Best Violent Action Novels.
Cover art: Jay Aheer
Tomor—a gang leader accustomed to a hard life on the outskirts of society—is a shrewd, ruthless bastard with a price on his head. He lives a lonely life, and that suits him just fine… until the day a traitor in his ranks betrays him to the police. After a shootout that nearly kills him, Tomor is saved by a young woman who hides him from the cops. Though he should be more concerned with the traitor who set him up, he can’t get the gorgeous girl out of his head—or shake the feeling she can fill the emptiness that has become a way of life.
Luz has survived her boring, lonely existence thanks to her two best friends: photography and alcohol. But her world shifts on the night a breathless man approaches her, asking for help. From his wild hair to his stony expression, he reeks of trouble. And he sends a shiver up her spine—one that makes her burn with excitement for the first time in her life.
After a lifetime of lonely hell, Tomor and Luz might just be able to save each other… if Tomor’s past doesn’t kill them first.
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In July 2013, Wild Hearted reached #10 on Amazon’s bestsellers list “Crime Fiction”.
I found Wild Hearted to be a great story. Not epic, since its breadth was not vast enough, but with tastes of the epic. It was very realistic and reminded me of parts of Leslie Marmon Silko’s “Ceremony”. I found myself engrossed at times, unable to part from it.
– a friend
Reading a book such as this is generally a once in a life time experience. But what if you then go and read it three times in a course of a few weeks? To me, it was implausible to find such a book that would stay so strongly with me after the first reading and then not lose its intensity with the second one. Yet, rereading this one proved to be an enjoyable pastime.
Our story begins with a male protagonist Tomor, unique specimen of manhood and a seasoned, devil-may-care crime lord of Hellhole, unredeemable inner-city area on the north side of the town, who after an unplanned brush with the law in south inadvertently sets himself on the path of Luz, a young naive woman with lots of pluck.
Grievously maltreated and rejected as a child by the very people who were supposed to give him their understanding love and support, Tomor grows into an emotionally stunted man of twisted morals. Having to fight for all he’s got in his youth and learning to enjoy no other options, he became belligerent and fierce, and feeling himself scorned by his surroundings later takes a purposefully aloof demeanor and makes an conscious effort to be authoritative and condescending to those around him, shunning all emotional contact. After many years, Tomor’s world then starts to open after the encounter with Luz, a young woman in whom he seems to recognize a kindred spirit.
During the course of the book you can see this man with a troubled mind growing as a individual after being secluded all his life in a narrow worldview of malice, bitterness and grit. Tomor at first becomes intrigued with Luz and as crude and obnoxious as he was she returns a favor and sets on finding him out, drawn in by his vigour and passion for life. Their mutual and at that point in time still somewhat inexplicable attraction grow only stronger and fervorous after each subsequent meeting.
To say that at the end of it all I was utterly bewitched by Tomor would be an understatement. His is one of the best characterizations in the book and saying that he’s pairing with Luz is unfair is somewhat justified. More often than not I’ve felt that Luz, as a female protagonist and Tomor’s counterpart does not possess the same depth of character as him and that her sole purpose in the book is to act like a foil to Tomor, facilitating a motive for his character development. It would be far for me to say that she is a flat character, but the one who benefits the most from their union is Tomor, while Luz for great part remains the same individual well into the second half of the story and matures as a character at the very end.
Sadly, this being not your typical love story, Tomor and Luz are never left at peace to fully cultivate their relationship and are time and time again alienated by the very differences of their prospective environments and upbringing. As a contrast to their budding romance and assorted cast of meaningful side characters, this story offers you their broken souls and shattered dreams, disturbing images of bloodshed and carnage, brutal torture and abuse, and sets in motion events bound to tear Tomor and Luz apart for good.
Those of fainter heart may undoubtedly cringe at some parts in this book, but my advice is to not drop it just yet and continue reading till the end. The open ending leaving our protagonists with only bleak, unknown fates may disappoint some, but that in itself leaves space for a sequel and I at least am happy with that possibility. With all this said so far, I only have to add that it was truly a roller-coaster ride!
GUT WRENCHING STORY YOU DON’T WANT TO PUT DOWN
Once in a great while a book comes your way that grabs you by the throat and won’t let go. The story of Tomor, a man of violence, unredeemable and unapologetic, and Luz. Luz is opposite of Tomor. She is compelled to save those lost souls which society looks down on. The interaction between these two is volcanic, and slowly you start to see that yes, even the most brutal of souls can be redeemed.
Gritty, violent and raw, this is a look at the underbelly of our society. The author pulls no punches as she tells a gripping drama, which has you turning pages and forgetting everything around you. This book is as real as it gets and should be put on everyone’s must-read list.
Thank you Ms. Bronsen for your vision and talent.
– Lynnet Shannan
THIS BOOK IS GRIPPING AND REAL
Tomor’s and Luz’s journey triggers a gambit of emotions, a testament to the author’s talent. Overall, this is a beautifully written, emotionally compelling and at times shocking tale of love and life with a gritty edge. Can’t wait to see more from Lea Bronsen!
– Renea Mason
NOT YOUR AVERAGE BOOK
Wow! Lea Bronsen has written a book that… wow is all I can say. I saw the word ‘gripping’ used a few times, yeah it was, but it was so much more. I haven’t read a book that I couldn’t put down in awhile until Wild Hearted. I want to say more, but man you got to read it to understand why I’m so speechless. Wow!
– Tina Pollick
PERFECTLY IMPERFECT CHARACTERS
My very favorite books are ones with flawed characters searching for redemption, and Ms. Bronsen’s Wild Hearted fits the bill nicely. It’s a gritty tale about two people who haven’t often made the “right” decisions in their lives, but fate brings them together and offers them both a second chance. Loved it! I’ll be on the lookout for more works by this author.
– Stephanie Moore
Well-written, emotionally charged and intriguing story with twists and turns that you’ll find it hard to put down. It’d be interesting to see, if she’ll write a sequel.
– Cait Jarrod
Wonderful story about how a bad boy finds love and begins to heal. Tumor and Luz captured my heart and I was sad to say goodbye in the end. Lea Bronsen’s story is moving and a definite winner. It’s a must read.
– Kishan Paul
INTENSE, NOIRISH ROMANTIC FICTION
Wild Hearted is a short, intense train ride of a novel that takes you effortlessly into it’s story of a seemingly unredeemable inner-city crime lord and the woman he falls in love with. The pace is fast, and the characters colorful. More so than other romance fiction, “Wild Hearted” has a very dark, noir quality — of gritty crime, tough inner-city neighborhoods, hurt people and broken dreams…..it does not soft-pedal this atmosphere to let the protagonists (Tomor and Luz) fall in love. In fact, the ending is not the usual “and then everything was all flowers and roses”, but leaves the reader in a dark place, without diminishing the character’s complexity or challenges.
The ending is open and ambiguous enough that it is not hard to imagine a sequel or two, continuing the twists and turns of this story.
It is easy to imagine “Wild Hearted” filmed in black and white, with long deep shadows and darkened streets….it’s a very bracing change from the typical character romance. Author Lea Bronsen is very talented, and has a keen eye for detail. I look forward to reading more of her fiction.
– Charismatic Creature
What a story. I’m just out of words… so strong story, so much violence, and love there between bad and ugly sides of life. I don’t recommend this for everyone because this can be called dark. I love HEA:s but you don’t always get what you want. Luckily, there’s hope anyway. Lea, go on writing your breathtaking way, but please make more happines in your stories… then I could say it’s just perfect. 😉
– Anu Vaarama
I WANT MORE
I love the story! It’s fresh and not boring. Definitely worth to read.
About the characters, I love them all!! I love Luz, she’s feisty even though she was with Tomor (on the first part where she’s with him and his gang). And Tomor! He’s so intimidating. As I was reading the book, it feels like he’s right beside me. The author really brought the characters to life and you can definitely feel them as if they were real. The story, it’s a good story and it will left you thinking how will the story ends.. Speaking of ending, I was kind of wanting to know more about it! Haha!! I know, I’m such a creep when it comes to the ending of the story, I was still craving for more about what will happen to them.
– Myra Espino
LOTS OF ACTION!
This book was packed with lots of action and suspense. Tomor and Luz had a special connection. Larsen ended up being a trusted friend to both of them.
I’m finding this to be a difficult review to write, because for me, the story was both beautiful and disturbing at the same time.
At the core is a beautiful love story between a rough and obnoxious gang leader, Tomor, and Luz, a self-conscious, naive girl from the other side of town. It was hard for me to understand their initial infatuation with each other, but it was there, and it began the torturous love story between the two.
I didn’t really care for the character Luz and found myself wanting to scream, “What the hell are you doing?” at her. But I think the bottom line was that she had a good heart, and she did not hesitate to follow it.
Tomor, although despicable, was a great character. The author did a wonderful job with his characterization and growth throughout the novel. It was very clear what made him tick, how he came to be the way he was, and what he was all about. It was so easy to get inside his head and his world. So much so that I swear I even knew what he smelled like as I read.
I went into this read knowing that it was about a gang leader. I fully expected to be immersed into that world: drugs, hookers, sex, violence and criminal activity. But this book has much more that I didn’t anticipate. And that’s where the disturbing part comes in. There were scenes that depicted everything from self-mutilation to child molestation, and brutal rape to perverse and sick ideas about getting off. I’m not saying these things made this a bad book, just that these things were very hard for me, personally to read.
Now having said that, I at no point even considered putting this book away. I wanted to get through to the end. I wanted to find out what happened with Tomor and Luz. Not only that, but in my opinion the writing was excellent.
In conclusion, I liked it. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re okay with reading brutally blunt and highly adult themes.
– Willa Jemhart
This was a different type of book for me. It was interesting, kept my attention, good story line, but the ending in my opinion was chopped off. Maybe it was done purposely too many strings hangings I guess you can make the ending of your own imagination. There can be many a different endings.
The movie “The Crow” threw me into the world of powerful crime lord Top Dollar, brilliantly played by Michael Wincott.
I thought, “What if he didn’t die…?” and decided to re-create him. In a similar setting, but with a wider array of feelings, heavier baggage, and a different vision of life. The movie “1492 Conquest of Paradise” where Wincott played the arrogant, villainous Moxica confirmed the direction I had chosen, and my character’s heart, mind, and soul started talking to me ❤
I wanted to write a cop novel from a criminal’s perspective. Enough of detectives, officers, patrolmen, and CSIs! Now, I gave a gangster a voice. I made him cold, lethal and unlikeable. Scum, trash, society’s outcast. Then as the story moved along, I humanized him, gave him a heart to deal with and a conscience to account for. But would he make the right choices? Would he survive his change into a loving, protective, and selfless person?
The original cover featured actor Gerald Auger. As it didn’t meet the high-resolution requirements of certain retailers, the book was denied rightful exposure. After two years, I decided to have a new cover made, gave the manuscript a complete revision, and re-published widely.
The crime thriller Carnivora is in the making. More info here.