Rating: 3.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
In Susan Laine’s Devil’s Own, Niall and Gus are back and this time the detective’s case has so many twists and turns it is going to take all Niall’s expertise to figure out just who Florian Talbot is and what all he has been involved in. When Florian’s wife Angelina comes to Niall worried about what she thinks could be Florian’s dabbling in blood rituals connected with his occult leanings, Niall thinks the case is a dead end. Little does he know that the dead bodies are going to start stacking up and that eventually, he, himself may be added to the growing list. With Gus at his side, lending his expertise in what he knows of Satanists and how they differ from his own non-violent Wiccan ways, the two men stumble upon an evil more despicable than expected and more threatening than they ever encountered before. But this time the tables are turned and it may very well Gus who does the rescuing of Niall.
I was so happy to see this team return to the page. Niall and Gus pick up right where they left off in Sparks & Drops, their relationship still fresh and being explored. Their chemistry is undeniable and author Susan Laine only adds to the strength of their love for one another by allowing them to become a bit more intimate as well as much more fond of one another. Love is in the air but it is a slow building love that is sweet and very satisfying.
Once again, the author also schools us on the ways of the Wiccan by introducing us to some of their holy days and rituals. This time, however, she also delves into the area of Satanism and the practice of the occult and draws sharp contrast between it and the milder, more tolerant Wiccan religion. While early on in the novel I felt the explanation of both religions helpful, as the story moved forward I found myself wanting to be schooled less and less. Allow me to explain why.
This particular story boast a great number of side characters who were all involved and or related to the central bad guy, Florian. Because of this large cast, I found myself struggling to keep up with who was who and how they were attached to our bad guy—either by blood relationship or otherwise. In fact, because the plot line for this novel was so intricate and full of deliciously surprising twists and turns, I began to really despair that I could make sense of who was actually being featured in each chapter. Then it dawned on me that it was not my inability to remember who was who, but rather the continual dissertations on what the occult was and what was believed.
Therein was the main flaw with this otherwise delightful tale. All too often, the author pulled us out of the flow of her story by dropping a few pages of facts about the occult or Wiccan religions. While a bit of that was needed for the flow of the narrative, there was way too much going on action wise in this story for us to sit down to lessons on the belief systems of alternate religions. In fact, after a while, I was just so frustrated by the drain on the pace of the mystery elements of Devil’s Own by these passages that I found myself wanting to skim over them in order to get back to the real storyline. I also discovered that along with the sense of lost momentum, it was more difficult to keep straight the different members of the family and how they were involved in what appeared to be Florian’s murder.
Author Susan Laine is so capable of writing an excellent mystery/detective story. She also wonderfully depicts the growing love between her two main characters and prompts the reader once again to fall for Gus and Niall and their witty and endearing relationship. Unfortunately, in her desire to educate her audience on the finer aspects of non-traditional religions such as Wiccan, she produced a novel that tended to go off track and run less than smoothly. The fact remains though that I hope this is not the last we will see of our dynamic sleuthing team—they are simply delightful to read about.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.