Title: Reasonable Force
Author: Meredith Shayne
Length: 7,811 words
Publisher: JMS Books
Genre: m/m paranormal, urban fantasy
Blurb: Daniel is a demon hunter, a member of an ancient order with God-given powers sworn to protect humans from these creatures. Grieving the sudden death of his fellow hunter — and secret lover — David, Daniel is bent on self-destruction, craving casual, back-alley sex with strangers and plunging into danger without thought for himself or the Order brethren who come to his rescue.
His antics attract the attention of more than just his Order members; the demon Korim, a warrior and an Earl of Hell, commander of demon legions and more than a match for Daniel, has his eye on the hunter, and his is an interest not easily discouraged.
When circumstances throw demon and hunter together, sparks fly. Soon beating each other to a pulp becomes their favorite sport, and Daniel hasn’t felt so alive since David died. When their aggression turns to lust, Korim begins to open Daniel’s eyes, causing him to question the long-held beliefs that have fuelled his reckless behavior.
But when a mission goes horribly wrong, Daniel finds his change in attitude may have come too late to save him.
Note: Originally published in the Torquere Press anthology The Care and Feeding of Demons.
Review: A story that surprised me with it’s minimal style. With pretty much no exposition, this story gives lots of clues but little fact, which I enjoyed. I read this story without remembering the blurb, which I actually enjoyed. The blurb gives away much more information than the story does. Though the story isn’t a puzzler, I liked that I had to keep my brain a bit active to understand the characters.
Daniel is a priest and demon hunter. He’s mourning the loss of David, who the order he belongs to thought of as his best friend. The secret that they were much more close, fighting partners and lovers, still haunts him in his grief. That grief has grown into a empty gulf that Daniel tries to fill with reckless fighting and dangerous encounters in seedy neighborhoods. He’s a very strong hunter, one of the best, and his overconfidence combined with grief is a bad combination. It’s strange, then, that a demon is the one who might bring him back to a life he wants to live.
Like I said before, what I most enjoyed about this story is the fact that I’m not given the answers. It’s not great, vast plotline. It’s a pretty simple short story actually. But that style of storytelling lets the reader’s imagination become more active in the story. I like a story that is different to me than anyone else, and I have a feeling that that might be true with this story. That is also the reason I bumped my rating from a B+ to an A-. I like that the story is open to a bit of interpretation.
Daniel is also quite an interesting character. Though no secret from the blurb, it isn’t actually clear that his recklessness comes from grief until a bit of the story has passed. He was once a man of passion and righteous belief in his ability and order. Yet, through his grief he is open to seeing a different side of the world in which he had pledged to fight, though it comes with quite a fight itself. Korim, though we do get his point of view occasionally, is much less known to the reader. A higher demon, he’s almost a hunter of his own kind, or a kind of wrangler. Seeing the two come together, flirt with fighting, and slowly get to know one another forms an interesting and dichotomous bond that is almost a reversal of their proper roles — Korim becomes the savior.
The two have a very strong connection to one another, and that came through very much in my reading of the story. Their sex scenes together were quite steamy I liked them as a couple very much, although I will acknowledge that the story ends in, well, I’d say an HFN. That’s open to interpretation too. After all, Daniel is pretty screwed up and Korim is a demon. Still, it fit with the story, so I liked it.
I’d recommend this one and I hope everyone who reads it enjoys it as I did!