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Review: Devil’s Bargain by Rachel Caine (Red Letter Days #1)

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Devil's Bargain by Rachel Caine // VBC ReviewDevil’s Bargain (Red Letter Days #1)
Rachel Caine
Published: Oct. 5, 2012 (Mira) (Originally published in 2005)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Jo

Rating (out of 5): 3 stars

What would you do if you were given an opportunity that seems too good to be true? That is the choice that faces ex-police detective Jazz Callender. When her partner is convicted of murder, Jazz is pushed out. Her faith in the system lost and seeking solace in the bottom of a bottle, Jazz is approached by a stranger wielding a red envelope. Inside is a check for $100,000 and an offer to run her own P.I. firm. The catch? She has to take whatever jobs the law firm bankrolling the operation says, no questions asked. And she has to work with a partner she’s never met: Special Agent Lucia Garza.

Jazz isn’t in the habit of taking money from strangers, but it would give her the chance to clear her partner’s name. As she and Lucia start to investigate two things become clear: The people they would be working for have seemingly impossible ways if knowing things and somebody out there will go to extreme measures to make sure Jazz doesn’t take up the offer.

Reading like a giant game of chess, Devil’s Bargain weaves together secret society and physic power plays. The supernatural element is subtly done with hints and clues doted amongst the action. I have to admit from the title and tagline I was expecting these supernatural elements to play a bigger role. It isn’t until roughly three quarters of the way through that things began to be explained, leading to a big reveal that fell a little flat for me. That being said I actually really liked the premise (I can’t say too much without straying into spoiler territory), I just wish there had more of a chance to fully explore it.

To begin with Jazz is quite hostile and closed off, understandable when the prejudice over her partner Ben’s conviction becomes apparent. Over the course of the book she begins to let people back in, learning to trust again. She and Lucia were both smart, resourceful women and I enjoyed watching the genuine friendship that developed between the two. Neither were slouches in the ass-kicking department either, Lucia icy calm a nice contrast to Jazz’s hot headed nature when it came to the action.

James, a lawyer acting as a liaison for the law firm, provided insight into the secret society. He was much harder to figure out and, much like Jazz, I wasn’t quick to trust him. There was a romantic interest between the two, and while I didn’t have a burning desire to see them together, some of James’ one liners in their back and forth were highly entertaining.

If you enjoy espionage or detective novels with a supernatural mystery, then I think you’ll get on well with Devil’s Bargain. Personally I would have liked the paranormal aspect play a larger part, but still found it an enjoyable read. The door is left wide open for where this could go in the next book Devil’s Due and I’m looking forward to getting to know Lucia better as the main character.

Sexual content: Sex

4 Responses to “Review: Devil’s Bargain by Rachel Caine (Red Letter Days #1)”

  1. Joanna says:

    Crap, I had no idea she had another series coming out. Yes, I will be getting it, thank you!

  2. Kristin says:

    I actually quite love this series:) They used to be hard to find, glad to see they’ve reissued them!

  3. The Red Letter Days series ties in with her new Revivalist series. Two of the side characters Manny and Pansy appear in that series.
    It’s a different kind of read but I enjoyed this book and the next one in the series.

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