**Warning: As this is the third book in a series this review may contain spoilers for those who have not read the first two books.**
A lot of Urban Fantasy novels involve werewolves, vampires, demons and magic. I was intrigued when I picked up The Devil's Due to see an exorcist as the main character. It's something different in a genre I love, but even so I have mixed feelings about The Devil's Due.
The cover design doesn't do much for me. It's rather subdued and not visually exciting. I do, however, like the flash of a tattoo just visible above the line of the model's dress. It suggests that there may be another side to this woman in black. The title itself is what actually caught my eye and made me pick up this book. I like the reference to a common saying involving the demonic in the title of a book about an exorcist.
The Devil's Due is the third book in the Morgan Kingsley Exorcist series. I haven't read either of the previous books, so this review will reflect my experience as a new reader in this world. Although Jenna Black references events that have happened in earlier books I didn't feel lost and my understanding of the events in the book was not affected. This isn't easy for an author to accomplish, but Black has pulled it off. The Urban Fantasy world that Black has created for this series is well-developed and she drops the reader straight into it. She has obviously put a lot of thought and time into her world and as a result it is both rich and absorbing. The story and characters benefit from having this setting to support them.
In Jenna Black's world demons can legally possess willing human hosts and many live easily among the general population. But if any of them break the laws governing their behaviour they are exorcised from this realm. This is Morgan Kingsley's job and she's one of the best. There's just the little problem of the demon, Lugh, currently sharing her body. Because Lugh isn't just any demon - he's the exiled demon king and there are many enemies in both realms who would love to find and kill him.
Morgan isn't a nice person. She's controlling, acerbic, stubborn and just plain rude. I think that if that's all there was to her that I would have given up on the book, even with its interesting world. But Black gives the reader glimpses into Morgan's softer side - often through her interactions with Lugh, the demon sharing her body. A lot of Morgan's hardness comes from her experiences in life and her need to protect herself. Knowing this makes her easier to understand and made me more patient with her. I hope that Black lets more of Morgan's softer side show through as the series develops because otherwise she runs the risk of Morgan alienating some readers.
The investigation and main plot of The Devil's Due were interesting, but did falter at times when Morgan had to stop and deal with her issues. I would have liked these moments of self-reflection and character growth to have been woven into the story as opposed to seeming separate from it. Also Morgan's squeamishness about bondage and submission sex play got a bit tiring after a while. Black is never graphic or tawdry in her descriptions and it adds to the relationship between two of the secondary characters - so Morgan's continued references and prudish behaviour irritated me.
The Devil's Due was something different for me in the Urban Fantasy genre. I enjoyed the world that Black has created, but Morgan could irritate some readers. I think that the Morgan Kingsley Exorcist series is worth having a look at and I'm keen to see where the story leads.