This is a noir private investigator novel except instead of a trained P.I. we have a lawyer fallen into strange company after he made an ill-thought-out deal with a demon. Jack Gilmour has a good heart and a strong hatred for demon trickery, two elements he turns into reviewing demonic contracts before a human does something stupid…like he did.
Both the tone and the traditional elements spring from the noir detective genre, and as the story unfolds, this pen-pushing lawyer is thrust into events better suited for a P.I. He has good friends to call upon, though, and with some harrowing moments, manages to navigate the line as a mediator between demons and humanity quite well. The tone lost me a little when it appeared to become quite misogynous, but I say appeared because there was more going on than Jack knew, and as the true answers unfold, that appearance is negated quite nicely.
One of Jack’s friends is Sebastian, a wizard who supports himself by manipulating casino games. The conversation between Sebastian and Eddie (Jack’s client) is a thing of beauty. How the demon Lucia’s demonic nature comes clear through offhand cruelty rather than heavy description is also well done. The description does get a bit too dense for me at times, but there were many turns of phrase that I appreciated.
The strong narrative voice helped in drawing me into the story, and there were a few twists and turns I didn’t anticipate. Others, I saw long before Jack, and the best reason I can give is he wasn’t thinking like a P.I. so overlooked the early clues. There are a couple of points like that, but the strengths helped overcome these weaknesses.
Ultimately, the book lives up to its description. It offers a fun noir adventure with the traditional emotionally distant main character who nevertheless has a heart of gold and risks everything to protect his people. Toss in some demonic magic, and you have the makings of a series with potential.
P.S. I received this ARC through NetGalley in return for an honest review.