Title: Devil in the Details
Author: Tracy Rowan
Length: 18,893 words
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Genre: m/m fantasy romance
Rafe is a young man with a problem. His lover, a wealthy and powerful man, has become increasingly demanding and possessive, and is occasionally abusive. Gavin is prepared to do anything to get what he wants.
What Rafe wants is a little peace and security. And he wants it with the owner of the new cafe in the neighborhood.
Driven to despair by his lover, Rafe calls on his half-brother, a demon named Grim, to help settle things.
This was a fun read for Halloween which managed to successfully combine the theme of partner abuse with a lighthearted tone which didn’t undermine the seriousness of the theme. It tells of Rafe who is in a relationship with Gavin. What started out as flattering attention from an older man has turned into a nightmare for Rafe as Gavin has become possessive and abusive. He turns to the only help he can think of: His half brother Grim, who happens to be a demon.
One way the story manages to retain its lighthearted tone is that we are brought into the story at the point where Rafe realises he needs out of his relationship with Gavin. This means we see very little of them together. As such, the comedy of Grim’s revenge on Gavin is the focus of the story, rather than the past abuse. Rafe’s brother Grim provides most of the amusement as he sets about driving Gavin round the bend and making him as miserable as possible. I really enjoyed seeing Grim exact his revenge on Gavin and this part was handles with an eye for comedy, but also with a sense of a satisfactory result for Rafe.
The part with Grim is then balanced out by a rather sweet romance between Rafe and coffee shop owner, Dave. This provided a nice contrast, as the shy Rafe becomes at first friends and then more with the charismatic Dave. The scenes set in the cafe as the men get to know each other were rather lovely and managed not to be too overly sweet. I thought the author had done a good job in showing Rafe as someone who is sweet and nervous, a bit of a pushover, but who also has some good qualities such as being a hard worker and being intelligent enough not to jump straight into a new relationship with Dave.
There were other parts to like too, such as Rafe’s neighbour and her dog, the amusing references to Rafe’s family, especially his demon father and the delicious food which Dave produces – my mouth was watering! – and I found that I enjoyed the story a great deal.
I had a couple of niggles. Dave isn’t really very well fleshed out and even when we have a reveal at the end, I wasn’t wholly convinced about him as a character, especially when Rafe has a serious case of worship going on with Dave and can’t seem to see any faults. The showdown at the end with Gavin was a little OTT, in particular the way that it made Gavin seem completely nutso. However, other than that, this was a very engaging story and would be perfect for those looking for a lighter-themed Halloween story.