Title: When The Devil Wants In (Southern Series #1)
Author: Cate Ashwood and J.H. Knight
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 30th 2018
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance, Murder/Mystery
Page Count: 246 pages
Reviewed by: Maya
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
John Turner has been living a lie most of his life. Growing up in the rural Georgia town of Magnolia Ridge, he’s only ever let one person truly know him: his best friend, Chloe. To the rest of the world, they’re the perfect couple, but just between them, she’s helping John hide in plain sight.
Matt Kinsley, a cop from San Francisco, moves to town looking for a slower pace and to reconnect with his Southern roots. Starting over in Magnolia Ridge means taking a step into the closet, but Matt finds that with John for company, he doesn’t mind so much.
As the two start to explore a possible relationship, a horrific murder rips the town apart but brings John and Matt together in ways neither could’ve imagined. Matt must decide where his loyalties lie while John resists the urge to run again. Together, they have to discover who the real devil is before another life is destroyed
The writing style is for lack of a better word, crowded. Considering the word count, I read the book in more than one sitting and each time it took me some time to adjust to the flow. It’s good, just needs a little time to get used to.
The story progresses slowly, giving a surprisingly realistic view of life in a small town and the way both men fit into into their surroundings, good things and bad. It’s clear that lot of attention is given to setting the scene and I’m impressed with author’s world building. Unfortunately, meticulously detailed background and well developed secondary characters make the romantic relationship between Matt and John feel flat. The sex is hot, but while I can see and believe into lust at first sight (boy, can I) I’m skeptical about love at first sight.
The POV alternates between two men and their reaction to developing relationship is well founded and described, giving an insight into both characters. I get how they feel about being in love, I just couldn’t figure out when they fell in love and Matt’s willingness to throw his carrier away for John didn’t make sense.
The murder case also didn’t hold my interest. Circumstances around it serve to bring two men closer together and their inner turmoil adds to strength to both characters, but that’s about it. Considering the slow pace up until that moment, I was feeling a little lost at what happened.
This is definitely a character driven story. It’s very convincing and meticulously prepared, but for me it lacked the punch.
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