Ex-cop Jazz Callender is trying to drown her sorrows in a biker bar when James Borden walks into her life with a strange offer. Dressed in brand new, squeaky leathers, she can’t take him serious but he’s offering $100,000 for her to set up her own private investigation company. She can’t help but be intrigued and the resources would help her find a way to prove her ex-partner’s innocence. The catch is, she’s got to partner with a woman she’s never met and Borden refuses to tell her who he’s working for.
Full of suspicion and intrigue with kick-ass heroines, Devil’s Bargain is a thriller with only a hint of supernatural, but one that should appeal to fans of Rachel Caine’s writing. You really feel that Jazz is in a no win situation, with corrupt police threatening to stitch her up for something, just like Ben, her ex-partner who is now serving a life sentence and a suspicious sounding, secret organisation offering her the world. Jazz sways between denying ben’s innocence and blaming herself for trusting him. She’s altogether a bit of a mess but one thing the offer does, is bring her into contact with other people, people who may just help her put her life back together.
I liked how the supernatural side was just on the edge of being believable. No immortal creatures or fantastical powers here. I’m looking forward to see how that is explored in the next book, Devil’s Due. The explanation came across as a little rushed but that may come down to Jazz’s lack of belief and the fact they were in a life or death situation half the time.
A word of advice, don’t read the cover blurb; it contains a big fat spoiler. The cover itself has been designed to mirror the Morganville Vampires series, which may draw existing fans in but it isn’t young adult and relies heavily on the crime aspect, which I personally loved. I just think the whole package is a bit misleading, even down to the title.
Devil’s Bargain is the first book in the Red Letter Days series and is being published for the first time in the UK by Harlequin MIRA. It will be available in paperback and ebook formats from 5th October 2012. Sadly, I can only see that there are two books in the series, but maybe Rachel will pick it back up again sometime in the future. The sequel is available in ebook format now with a paperback release due next year. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.
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