REVIEW: The Untouchables by J.J. McAvoy

//DNF at page 71 – 16% (Did Not Finish, for those of you unfamiliar with lit review acronyms).

The idea of this series is so great that I chose to continue with it, even though the first book Ruthless People was so bad. It had a great plot – Irish mafia boss marries Italian mafia boss? yes please – but from its first pages you could tell that it was an amateur piece of literature with little to zero editing. But the community absolutely loves this series, so I thought I must have been missing something. Against my better judgment I picked up the second book.

The Untouchables doesn’t have the awful typos on every other page that Ruthless People had, thankfully. But the style, context, character development, and dialogue is still so bad. I don’t have another word for it. It is just awful. There is not a unique bone in this book’s body that tells it apart from any other book with people in it. The writing has no style, and either does the dialogue. It’s just a monotone thing; every page of it is. Everyone in this book starts to melt together and because it is told in first person with different perspectives, I found myself having to go back to the beginning of the chapter to find out who is talking. What kept me with this story when I read the first book was its amazing plot – I was invested in the story because I wanted to know what happened, but I was bored by page 50 of The Untouchables. The only reason I got as far as I did was because I was in the hospital for a few hours and didn’t have anything else to read.

I really had planned on sticking with it. I love the idea and the meaning behind this kind of story, or what it is supposed to be, but when I told my boyfriend how awful it was, he asked me why I was still reading it, and I didn’t have a valid answer to that question. I used to force myself to read things so I could finish them, but I really don’t have the patience for that anymore. I am quite sure that the author of this novel is a great writer because she has a fantastic story to tell, but it needs work and lots of it.

I really don’t understand this culture of romance novels that we’re in currently where it is acceptable to publish a book with “flaws” so long as the plot is interesting – I know this is a culture because I’ve read book after book after book like this one – but I really don’t want anything to do with it. It sends me back to traditionally published YA every time: Maggie Stiefvater, John Green, Cassandra Clare – which never disappoints – because I just can’t get on board with a piece of literature that is written solely for the purpose of pushing books out quickly. I get that some readers don’t feel that it is acceptable to publish a sequel any longer than a few months after the first one came out, which puts a lot of pressure on an author, but that’s not how literature works. It is an art form and needs time to be perfected, specifically by a writer working – usually for months, sometimes longer – with a professional editor.

The Untouchables and its predecessor are unfortunately byproducts of this culture, and I’m gravely disappointed with them both.


A Bestselling Author, NPO VP, and Psychology Today Blogger from Burbank, California, Allie Burke writes books she can’t find in the bookstore. Having been recognized as writing a “kickass book that defies the genre it’s in”, Allie writes with a prose that has been labeled poetic and ethereal.

Her life is a beautiful disaster, flowered with the harrowing existence of inherited eccentricity, a murderous family history, a faithful literature addiction, and the intricate darkness of true love. These are the enchanting experiences that inspire Allie’s fairytales.

From some coffee shop in Los Angeles, she is working on her next novel.


One thought on “REVIEW: The Untouchables by J.J. McAvoy”

  1. Although I am not a dedicated reader of book reviews, rarely have I seen a book so thoroughly panned. Given the quality of your writing that I’ve read, Allie, I can well understand your low tolerance for the sort of writing and publishing you describe.


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