Some Grim Reapers just can't get a break. As well as nursing a broken leg from the last person who tried to kill him, Mal is trying to track down the serial killer who's offing demons on his patch. And it seems like one of his friends knows more than he's letting on. On top of that, Death, Mal's boss, is awake after decades of slumber. Which means yet another challenge to face. Paperwork.
Urban Fantasy, Comedy - novel
TBR reviewer: Kim
This is a story about a Grim Reaper, Mal, who is trying to chase a demon serial killer. He is nursing a broken leg, in love with a succubus who used to be his partner and to top it all, his boss, Death has just woken up after many years asleep. Some Reapers have all the luck!
This was a little difficult to get into at first, and hard to wrap my head around the idea that there was one Death but many Reapers. This was somewhat helped by having 'Grim Reaper Myths Dispelled' at the beginning of some of the chapters. Once I did get into it though, I really enjoyed it. The characters were colorful and different and larger than life! The story went along at a fair clip and there was plenty of action. I liked the fact that it was tackling a long held belief and turning it on its head! This is the second 'Reaper' story and I think it would help to have read the first as there are many references to events in the previous book that at times left me a bit confused. That being said, I still recommend it but with the caveat of reading the first, which I would very much like to now!
Part way across the room, a very large and very drunk demon stepped into their way. His gaze ran the length of Xyla’s body, pausing on all the bits Mal tended to pause on, too.
“H-hey, cutie,” he said, attracting the attention of half the bar with the volume. “Buy you a drink?”
“I’m flattered,” Mal said, batting his eyelashes. “But we have elsewhere to be.”
The bar roared with laughter as the demon frowned, trying to work out what just happened. His eyes widened as it struck him. “I meant her, not you!”
“Really? Well now I’m just embarrassed.”
“You wanna watch your mouth, human.”
“Or what? You’ll start a fight?” Mal gestured about the bar. “In Earl’s?”
“I don’t give a damn where we are, I’ll rip yer head off and use it as a bowling ball!”
Mal scratched his neck. “You wouldn’t get many strikes.”
“Heads aren’t round enough, you see. You wouldn’t be able to accura—”
His attempt at neutralisation via sarcasm ended abruptly as the demon swung a large fist at his face. It came too quick for him to dodge, so he closed his eyes and tried to think painless thoughts. The blow never came. He opened one eye tentatively to see the demon’s fist held fast in Xyla’s hand. She cocked her head as he struggled to pull free.
“Did you just throw a punch at my boyfriend?” The demon screeched as she squeezed, and Mal winced at the sound of grating bones.
“Well?” she asked again, the picture of calm. “Hurry up. We have places to be.”
“N-no, I mean yes! I mean...” He paused. “Can I have my hand back, miss?”
“Not until you apologise.” She squeezed again.
The mountain of a demon babbled a number of apologies, in several languages, and Xyla let go. “There’s a good boy.” She turned back to an amused Mal and held out her hand. “Shall we?”
“We shall.” He took her hand, and they walked over to a bemused Earl. “So I’m your boyfriend, am I?”
“Do I get a choice in the matter?”
He feigned a sigh. “I guess I’ll just have to go along with it, then.”
She grinned. “You know, most men would chastise me for stepping into that fight.”
“Meh. Most men are stupid. Also, most men’s girlfriends aren’t millennia old demons capable of head-butting their way through a bank vault.”
“You put it so lyrically, Mal.”
He dropped into a short bow and hoped that she wasn’t paying too much attention to his thoughts. Boyfriend? Booya! If he was anywhere else, and had two working legs, he’d have danced a jig.
Mr. Slade is giving away an ecopy to one lucky winner. Comment below to enter. Contest ends December 26th.
Urban Fantasy - Novel
TBR reviewer: B.H.
Even Grim Reapers have bad days on the job.
Mal has managed to stay out of the afterlife for 31 years, despite having been dead for
the last three. He's a Grim Reaper, and while he may not be the most enthusiastic, he enjoys his "life" too much to give it up to death. But he's got a problem. A troubled young woman's soul becomes bonded to his, and a vicious demon is hired to retrieve it.
If Mal can't get her soul free in a hurry, he's doomed to share her destination, whether it be heaven or hell.
This is what I’m talking about! The last book I read by Mr. Slade, Strand, needed less telling and it frustrated me because he was so close to greatness. I think this time he’s reached even closer to that mark. There was still telling and a lack of emotion in the characters but, and this is a big but, it’s a lot less.
Now, there’s a great story unfolding.
The world of demons, Grim Reapers and alcoholic poltergeists was well described. Mal is a grim reaper who gets his soul stuck with an undecided. That’s a person that has been equally good and bad. There's a court to decide if Amy, the undecided, is going to hell or heaven.
There’s an excellent pace to the story, information and action blended nicely. I couldn’t stop reading, Mal’s character really grew on me. He meets Amy who falls down the steps and breaks here neck. After that Mr. Slade seemed to revert back to the telling issue.
The story unfolds we get these short passages in first point of view. Having no assigned characters it was a bit confusing at first. There’s a lot of grin worthy moment, twists, and action plus a little romance. This is all hindered of course by the telling. I was wondering what exactly Mal looked like naked, lol. I couldn’t help it, he was a very well written character! Zach is a great addition as well. I hope to read more on both these characters.
I am not giving up on Mr. Slade yet for a five star review one day. I hope his writing only grows because his plots are worth the read.
He was facing the wrong way, watching a group of people on the other side of the road. Ducking behind a hedge, Mal waited, heart in mouth, until he heard footsteps pass the gate and continue down the street. Relieved, he stood, only to find himself a foot from the demon’s grinning face. “Crap.”
“You’re a hard man to find,” the demon said, placing his hands on the garden wall between
“Don’t know why,” Mal replied, trying to remain nonchalant, despite opening the conversation with ‘crap.’ “I was moving slowly, and went to rather predictable places. Frankly, a half-eaten onion sandwich could have found me before you did.”
The demon’s smile disappeared, replaced by a snarl with far too many teeth. "Now why did you have to go and say that?”
Before the demon had chance to grab him, Mal was in flight. He dodged left and leapt over a low fence into next door’s garden then bolted through the open gate. A roar sounded behind him and he turned to see the demon in hot pursuit.
“You think you can out run him?”
“As long as he stays in his human form, I stand a chance.”
“And if he doesn’t?”
“He won’t reveal his true form in broad daylight. Demons have a code.”
Mal hoped he was right and kept running. He rounded the corner and spotted a familiar street sign. Only half a mile from the bar. He put his head down and thudded on, wincing at the jolts of pain coming from his leg, and risking the odd glance back. His pursuer was the faster, but the slight head start and Mal’s knowledge of the area’s twisty alleys kept him in the lead. As he neared the bar, he found himself back on the main road and had to hope that
the lead he had built up in the back streets would hold. Dodging and weaving around pedestrians, and jumping the occasional dog, he neared his target. He could hear the demon’s heavy footsteps as he dove through the door to the ramshackle bar front. He grabbed the beer pump and yelled for Earl, who appeared moments later. Mal grabbed Earl’s outstretched hand and felt something slash at the back of his shirt just before everything went black.
Mr. Slade is also giving away an ecopy to one lucky winner! Comment below to enter. Contest ends November 18th.