Review: Devil's Slave (American Monsters #1) by Lola Hale

I thought I knew what hell was. After years as a cop, I was sure I'd seen the worst humanity had to offer. 

I had no f*cking idea. 

Now I know I've seen hell. Hell is the basement of an industrial warehouse where the rich, bored and psychotic buy their pleasure at the cost of innocent men and women. 

I will take these bastards down, but first, I have to let myself be sold… 

My life as a sexual slave should destroy me. Maybe I'm made for hell because as much as I want to end Domingo Morgan and his sick empire, I can't wait for the next moment I feel his hands on my throat. 

Every day I spend as his property, I crave him a little bit more. 

Lover. Cop. Victim. Damned if I know who I am anymore. My life as Hugh Kincaid, police officer, is over. The only thing that means anything, the only thing that matters now, is that I belong to him. 

Lola Hale explores your darkest erotic fantasies in DEVIL'S SLAVE, the first book in her addictive male/male American Monsters trilogy. This book contains explicit content, including dubious consent.

I'm having trouble articulating how I feel about this book. There is good stuff here, if fucked up characters and situations are your thing. They are my thing. But I felt like this throughout the read. 

I kept trying to get a foothold in the story but there is so much going and yet when I think back on it nothing really happened. I struggled and didn't connect with either character. The potential is there but I found the plot a bit slapdash. People keep dying, none of the other character motivations made sense to me, there seemingly no one trustworthy and I kept thinking all those things were red herrings that detracted from the primary objective.

Hale does a good job with Hugh's characterization. He's a washed up ex-cop, some time private eye who's got an addiction problem. Through a series of events he finds himself Dom's pet. The entire story is told through Hugh and he's somewhat sympathetic and a train wreck. Dom's seemingly a sociopath but still largely enigmatic. Mr. Black was an intriguing secondary character though and a couple of the other secondary characters hold promise.

Honestly, I was expecting it to be kinkier. The kink that is there felt like a checklist with a dibble of pet play, a dabble of humiliation, a smidge of bondage, you get what I mean. Hugh's mouthy and he and Dom throw down frequently which I couldn't tell if it was their version of foreplay or they just like beating the fuck out of each other. Like a mini Fight Club of two.

Dom seems to have a penchant for choking and biting both of which Nate seems to respond to, but there was only one really kinky-pain slutty whipping scene. Honorable mention for the exhibitionist scene in the club. Not mad at that. My stumbling block is whether or not Hugh's responding so much to Dom's domination and the danger he poses, or is it just another gateway to a high. Hugh does like to check out. Some of the sex is hot enough and found this story depraved, yes, but kinky...

The people in this super secret underground ring are engaging in human trafficking and they have their own version of gladiator games. Yep. "Pets", and sometimes people that stepped out of line, fight to the death. I thought Hugh's primary objective was to save his niece who's been kidnapped by said super secret society, but... Hugh's either tweaked out or has the attention span of a tse tse fly. Following him was next to impossible. I'm not one to harp on tense and POV but I would've paid money to get out of his head. I like to be challenged and try to figure out what's going on especially in books that have an element of mystery or suspense, but I feel like I was sent into the gladiator ring with an arm and a leg tethered and blindfolded.

I do think Hale has potential and the technical aspects of her writing style are good; what would've helped me is tighter plotting. Perhaps this is all by design and there is some grand plan at work. Only time will tell. I do like that Hugh is older than Dom as well as the concept of this series. Maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind when I read it. *shrugs* I may try again once the series is complete.

I'm waffling between 2 and 2.5 Hearts but we don't have a 2.25 Heart thingamajig so I'll go with 2.5.

If dub-con and FUBAR characters are your jam, give the other reviews a looksee before deciding.

A review copy was provided by NetGalley.

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