1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Better the devil you know,
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This review is from: Known Devil: An Occult Crimes Unit Investigation (An Occult Crimes Investigation Series Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
This is the third book in the OCU series, and it’s well worth starting at the beginning with Hard Spell to fully understand all the plot threads and character interactions. Author Justin Gustainis hasn’t just sprinkled trolls, gnomes, vampires and werewolves all over the shop for headline effect. It's a nifty mix of urban myth and police procedural, Detective Stan Markowski of the Occult Crimes Unit gets embroiled in a mafia family feud, uncovers a political plot, dodges bullets and bombs, and must counter a new street drug that’s driving even elves to armed robbery.
Multiple storylines are neatly interwoven, using a growing cast of intriguing, credible characters. There’s a little bit of love interest, but mainly the focus is on the investigation into a series of increasingly violent events. We bounce from blood-soaked crime scenes to seedy bars to squad rooms and run-down diners. The pace doesn’t pause too often and the dialogue can be extremely droll, littered with dozens of references to current events and pop culture. The author tweaks actual names of films, songs, cars and such to give them all a slight supernatural twist – so characters might drive a posh Hexus, f’rinstance.
Gustainis has a real gift with the well-aimed, single-line description so familiar from old-fashioned hard-boiled detective fiction. There’s a wry smile on almost every page – and a seamless segue into genuinely tense action scenes. We also get time to draw breath and enjoy the developing characters. Karl in particular is feeling his way as a newbie vampire and there’s some interesting stuff in here as he experiments with Influence, the power of the crucifix and even staying awake…
The only part I didn’t enjoy so much about Known Devil was the political plotline. Won’t go into detail and give too much away, but it overlapped with themes from Trueblood to do with persecution of minorities and agitating extremist activities. Just felt a bit ‘been there, done that’, which stands out because the rest of the book succeeds in bringing a new perspective to well-trodden territory.
Overall, Known Devil gave me an entertaining evening and I’m looking forward to the next episode.
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