Saturday, September 14, 2019

ARC Review: Dealing in Death by L.J. Hayward

Dealing in Death (Death and the Devil #2.5)From the Blurb:
Ethan Blade—assassin extraordinaire, cold-blooded killer, heartless monster, and . . . retiree?

I’ve spent my whole life dealing in death, efficiently eliminating targets while fighting to preserve a sense of self and morality, to avoid becoming as detached and ruthless as my siblings. I thought I had succeeded. Then I met Jack Reardon—contrary, handsome, forgiving, and far too good for the likes of me—and my life was tipped upside down. When he asked me to move in with him, he didn’t specify that I had to quit my job, but I wanted to—for myself, not for him. I should have known it wouldn’t be that easy.

My old instincts—“Ethan Blade”—are soon tempted out of retirement by a job offer I can’t afford to refuse and by an old hook-up of Jack’s he’d be a fool to refuse. While falling prey to my own temptation, Jack struggles with his. Which is precisely when the true danger exposes itself—one of my siblings with no such sense of self or morality. Only pain. And he is prepared to rain it down on me and Jack, unless I can square the Ethan Blade I want to be with the one I need to be, in time to save us both.

Ky's rating:

With each new addition to this series I get more and more hooked on the story!

"Dealing in Death" is a book that's halfway between #2 and #3 and which was supposed to be a novella but probably Ethan sucked L.J. Hayward in and didn't want to let her go. So, thanks Ethan! Getting an additional full-length book was a great surprise!

This is the first time that we get to read the events from Ethan POV - except for some short scenes in previous books. The plot takes us in a journey down memory lane at the beginning as it goes back a few months and we finally get to find out what Ethan was up to all those months that Jack was waiting for him to make a re-appearance into his life.

There are a few time jumps that bring us around the same time that "Why the Devil Stalks Death" (book #2) started, only this time we see everything through Ethan's eyes, and let me tell you: it was quite an experience! Usually I don't read books retelling a story from a different POV but this was Ethan so there was no way I was passing on reading it. And it turned out my decision was the right one, because even though I knew was was going to happen I was still glued to my screen. It was like reading a whole other story, plus we got to see what it was like being in Ethan's head!

What amazed me the most is how different Ethan was seeing things from Jack and vice versa. While Jack thought that he had Ethan's reactions and feelings down and that he understood the way he operated and the reasons behind his actions, after reading Ethan's side of the story is clear that even though Jack does indeed know him very much he was still slightly off at times.

I hope there will be more books from Ethan's POV in the future and I look forward to the third book in the series were we'll finally see how the opportunity that opened up for Ethan is going to work out both for him on a personal level and for him and Jack as a couple (see how good I'm being at not spoiling anything just in case someone doesn't know already?)

Another thing that couldn't be missing from Ethan's book - as I've come to think about it - is some additional information about his past. I feel like now we know him pretty well and we finally have a full picture of how horrific his childhood was. It's really a miracle that he came out of it being so balanced and still being capable of expressing emotions - even if it takes him time and it's only with Jack.

This is definitely NOT a standalone, so you'll most likely be lost if you just jump in the story here. The best thing is to start at the beginning and gradually make your way to this point. For those already familiar with the story, in this series the novellas are not just additional or deleted scenes, they play a really important role to the whole plot so you'll be missing out on a lot if you decide to just stick with the main books.

I can't wait to see what new adventures await Jack and Ethan. I'm ready for the next part!

*An ARC of this book was kindly provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.*

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