And Then the Devil Cried is the first episode of a serial and introduces the aborted love story between Rho Bennett and Adam Delaney. The story opens with a scene of open despair: the funeral of Marcus Troy, drug lord and known keeper of Adam Delaney, his personal sex slave. Rho is unsettled; he was Marcus’ second-in-command and had to endure the captivity of his lover, Adam, for two years after Marcus took Adam away from him.
This all came about because Rho found Adam about to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge and rescued him. Rho loved Adam, who was broken by pseudo-friends and, uh, apparently a life without love. It’s murky. And so is the funeral, where Adam pretty much throws himself on the casket in a dramatic demonstration of grief. Rho is upset by this because he didn’t expect Adam to have had any deep love for his abuser. And, maybe not, because Adam makes an appointment to meet Rho later that evening.
Then, we flash back two years to Rho finding Adam on the bridge and their unfolding love story that ends with Marcus’ intervention and Adam’s ultimate captivity.
For me, this was a miss. I didn’t dig the flashback and the plot was really convoluted. Adam and Rho have foster care in common, but for different reasons. Rho was abandoned at birth, but Adam knew his mother and her associates intimately. And I sort of mean it that way, because one of them, Sergei, was a particular friend of Adam’s mother and he paid for them to live in hovels from time-to-time, but he really wanted a piece of Adam’s sexy 14-year-old (at the time) self. Sergei is a higher-up in the Russian mob of NYC and Marcus knows this, and some of Adam’s history, when he meets Adam at Rho’s place. How, I have no idea. Because, really, how does that sort of information get around?
The pace is incredibly slow, to my taste, and the writing is filled with long, verbose passages that read as flowery repetition. I had a lot of issues with the editing, and not only because the prose was positively violet. Adam wants to be loved, Rho wants to be loved. They think they are in love, but Marcus steps in the middle, inexplicably, so he can have a piece of the irresistible Adam. The same Adam that Sergei was also willing to kill to have…it was a bit mind-boggling. The end of the episode is unexpected, with Rho anticipating a reunion and building back their love, and Adam seeming to have become the monster who replaces Marcus. How? Who can tell. It would make no logical sense for the downtrodden sex toy of the mafia kingpin to have any position of power once the kingpin dies, but that’s not the implication from the writing. Instead, Adam states he’s now got some serious power to right the many wrongs done to him. This continued the sense of melodrama that pervaded the entire story for me.
The point-of-view switched often between Rho and Adam, and we get to see their frustration and heartbreak by turns. The trigger warning is 100% accurate; expect abuse, exploitation, and rape. Not sure how many episodes remain in the series, but I don’t think I’ll be reading on. It didn’t engage me enough. It is a short read, though so readers who enjoy dark stories and gang-land style romances might want to give it a whirl.