Rating: 4.75 stars
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Length: Novel

Ethan Blade was groomed from the time he was a child to be a killer; it’s all he has ever known. Ethan never expected he would one day want to settle down and life an ordinary life… that is, until he met Jack Reardon. Now Ethan is envisioning the kind of life where he and Jack live together and grow old as a couple. But first, he has to extricate himself from his old life, and that is proving more difficult than he had hoped.

While Ethan has told his handler at the Cabal that he is out, not everyone wants to see him leave. Ethan gets drawn back in to some shady work as a trade for getting help fully disengaging form the Cabal. But that puts him right back in the world both he and Jack had hoped he could leave. But even worse, Ethan’s “brother” Two very much wants to keep Ethan under his control, and he is willing to do just about anything to make that happen, including killing innocents. He has set up an elaborate game that involves both Jack and Ethan. Now Ethan must fight with all he has to stay one step ahead of Two before he destroys the man Ethan loves.

Dealing in Death is the latest installment in L.J. Hayward’s incredible Death and the Devil series. It is officially book 2.5 as it mostly covers the same basic storyline of Why the Devil Stalks Death, but this time from Ethan’s POV. It gives readers a chance to learn what Ethan was up to when he was away from Jack all those months, as well as to see the events of the second book from Ethan’s perspective. Ethan has been such a mysterious character and I really enjoyed getting a full-length story from his perspective. Hayward has always done a great job showing us Ethan’s vulnerability lurking underneath the stone cold killer, but here we really see his inner self in fascinating ways. I really enjoyed the insight into what drives him and how he makes the choices he does. It was nice to see just how tenderly Ethan cares about Jack and how truly meant for one another they are.

What also impressed me is how intense and exciting this story is, even considering how much of it we already saw play out in an earlier book. Sometimes in this type of story, things can feel flat from the repetition. But in this case, I was at the edge of my seat with excitement, even knowing exactly how the story was going to play out. It was really fun watching the pieces come together as we see it all through Ethan’s eyes, and making connections to the things we already saw happen. It is really incredibly well done and Hayward has such a way with building complex stories and making them clear and accessible.

So I was thrilled to get a chance to reconnect with Ethan and Jack. I absolutely adore this couple and totally love this series. Each time I am struck by the suspense and excitement, and how beautifully Hayward builds Ethan and Jack’s relationship. If you haven’t been following this series, I highly encourage you to check it out. It is one of the best romantic suspense out there and highly worth your time.