Author: Cate Ashwood, J.H. Knight
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 30th 2018
Page Count: 246
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.8 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.
I love Cate Ashwood’s work. She’s almost an auto-read for me. J.H.Knight is more of a mixed bag. Sadly, The Devil wants in was mostly a miss for me.
The writting was pretty solid, the sex scenes amazingly hot, and the depiction of South US very realistic (as far as I could tell as a non-American). The characters themselves were nicely sketched. But in the end, the plot took too many weird turns for me and the whole story went to a totally “what just happened?” direction.
The romance took a complete backseat. I liked how it all began, but I quickly got bored with the MCs just hooking up. Towards the end there is a nice scene where they bond, but that’s it. They didn’t even have the chance to get to know each other all that well; they always had to hide or someone was always with them (especially John’s beard, Chloe, or John’s family).
The mystery that starts with a bang and a major plot twist left me flabbergasted, and it completely took over. The story just started spiraling down from there. The resolution to that mystery was highly unsatisfying. Even now, I can’t tell you exactly how or why it happend.
Like I said, the setting felt very realistic. But the characters irritated me more often than not. Why would Matt choose to step back in the closet and transfer to nowhere-homophobic-ville after being out anf proud in San Fransisco? There were plenty of other choices. I don’t buy it. And I totally get John’s insistence to keep his business a secret, but his reluctance to even consider relocating or the way he obeyed his mom was too much for me.
In the end, I guess my biggest problem was that I didn’t buy the romance, and sex scenes aside, I didn’t feel any connection between the MCs. I would have probably turned a blind eye to a lot of things, had the romance been stronger.
Overall, this was not my favorite by these authors, but it could be just me. I’m still looking forward to their future work.
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