a devilish christmas audio coverStory Rating: 3.75 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars

Narrator: Michael Dean
Length: 3 hour, 38 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links:  Amazon | iBooks

A Devilish Christmas is the fourth book in the Marchesi Family series and best enjoyed after having read/listened to book 3, Devil, at the very least, as it is a direct sequel. This review contains spoilers for Devil.

Devil Marchesi has wooed his former detective and former adversary, Joe Daniels, and they are in a committed relationship–though both of them likely should be committed; they’re a little crazy and a lot exhibitionist. Devil has been waiting to pop the Question to Joe, and has left it to the last minute, now only a few weeks before Christmas. When he finally does, their engagement might make the Guinness Record books for brevity. Devil’s going to make up for his haste in marriage by celebrating with extensive honeymoon plans, if only Joe would agree to take some time off.

Joe’s been working as a private eye since leaving the Boston PD, and he’s currently trying to capture an escaped serial killer. As a cop, Joe helped catch the man originally, and he’s keen on revenge. Joe hasn’t told Devil the killer’s been sending him threatening letters for months. It seems Joe and the killer are both circling one another, hoping to catch their quarry unawares. That’s why Joe freaks out a little when Devil’s honeymoon plans take them to a private Christmas wonderland. Joe isn’t sure that the bad guy remained behind.

This book features a lot of characters and action all packed into a short listen. We have all the Marchesis and their partners, but now add in members of the Vigilance team (from a separate book series) who Joe works with in his investigations. It’s super busy, though the focus does remain on Joe and Devil for the duration. Their relationship is incendiary and insatiable. Devil really can’t get enough of Joe, and Joe doesn’t let Devil win his way all the time–just mostly. Devil’s love of Christmas was surprising, but I think it came across well, with narrator Michael Dean adding so much emotion to his voice whenever he spoke about it. The story has a fast pace, almost no pausing, especially once Joe accepts Devil’s proposal.

I always like Dean’s work, and he really did a strong job of creating different voices and attitude patterns for the many characters in this story. He also really delivered on Joe and Devils’ wide range of emotions. There’s astonishment, frustration, playfulness, bossiness, and many other things going on. Joe’s agony was particularly visceral, knowing that a killer’s on his trail–and could take Devil out just as their life together is beginning. I really enjoyed how silly and loving Devil and Joe are toward each other, how Devil absolutely dotes on Joe. He continues to flip the script of a super bad mafia enforcer with his mushy heart and desire to care for Joe’s needs before his own.

Expect a lot of mobilization of comrades, an angry Devil, handcuffs used inappropriately, murder, mayhem, and post-coital cuddling before a decorated tree.