Review: Dealing in Death (Death and the Devil #2.5) by L.J. Hayward

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.

‘Dealing in Death’ is basically a retelling of ‘Why the Devil Stalks Death’ from Ethan’s POV. Quite frankly, it doesn’t add much in the grand scheme of things.

Yes, we do get a better understanding of Ethan’s motivations, but it really wasn’t necessary, or all that pivotal.

With that caveat, I was still thoroughly entertained by this extended novella. It really was a bit of extra for the fans of the series, and I’m not going to complain about that!

Up until this point, Ethan’s been quite an enigma. While readers see through Jack’s eyes how Ethan struggles with and then finally (to an extent) accepts how he feels for Jack, it’s still a pretty big mystery as to what exactly goes on in that complicated mind.

‘Dealing in Death’ gives a window into Ethan, and his constant struggle.

He’s in a tug-of-war between the emotionless killing machine he was trained to be, and the life and freedom he wants with Jack.

I really felt for Ethan. Granted, I’ve had a slightly unhealthy soft spot for the morally ambiguous assassin since book 1, but in this case I think I’m completely justified!

It isn’t just the push-and-pull between his two lives that readers get to see. We also get a front row seat to exactly what Ethan feels for Jack, and how Ethan struggles to process those still-new and foreign feelings, and the physical desires that come with it.

Yeah, I might have swooned a couple of times. Don’t judge me. They’re just a very sweet yet slightly dysfunctional pair!

Beyond that, we also get a run-down of some of the major action scenes from book 2 from Ethan’s end. Plus, readers get to see how Ethan interacts with his siblings, particularly Two.

It was interesting to see Two’s role in making Ethan who he is, and how things were playing out behind the scenes while Jack was working on the case in book 2.

Again, I don’t think it necessarily added too much to the overall story. But it was still a fun ride.

Overall, I enjoyed this read. I think fans of the series will appreciate it, though I’m not sure whether it’ll be a required read for the final book. In any case, I’m stoked to see how Ethan and Jack’s grand tale ends in book 3!

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

No comments:

Post a Comment