I was given this as a review copy, but this has not affected my opinion in any way.
As a huge fan of Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampire series I was interested by the idea of 'Devil's Bargain' and liked the sound of Jazz Callender as tenacious new heroine on the supernatural scene.
Jazz is an ex-cop, intent on proving the innocence of her ex-partner who is in prison for murder. She is drowning her sorrows in a dreary bar when she is handed her first red envelope by the mysterious James Bordern. The letter inside offers her an once in a lifetime opportunity to take a partnership in a new company, with a woman she is yet to meet, but on the condition that they accept 'red letter' cases, no questions asked. Jazz meets her new partner, Lucia, and they are plunged into a confusing world where their actions and locations are predetermined; they are gunned down; straight questions are avoided and red letters appear with strange cases inside. Neither of them are aware how tangled the web actually is, but they are unknowingly gambling their lives on an unseen paranormal force.
I really enjoyed the beginning of this book, but feel that the explanations Lucia and Jazz are given are often convoluted and confusing, making me wonder if I was reading a text book, rather than a novel.
The characters are all well thought out, and Rachel Caine works hard on their interactions with each other. There is a small hint of romance, but this is not the books main focus, and the author does well to maintain the suspense of the story whilst keeping us anticipating James and Jazz's relationship.
'Devil's Bargain' was not what I expected it to be, and I think that some fans of Rachel Caine may be surprised by the grittiness of this book. Jazz is no Claire Danvers either, and although they are both fighters Jazz has none of Claire's innocence, naivety or diplomacy!
I hope to read 'Devil's Due' soon and look forward to the story unravelling as Rachel Caine delivers more red letters!