"The hand in my hair was cruel, yanking on the sweat soaked strands while shoving my face toward a collision with the cold wall in front of me. I gasped, resisting the forward momentum working against me, but the force was too strong. I sucked in a breath and prepared myself for the coming impact. This was going to hurt."
'Judas Kiss (Murphy's Law #2)' by K.A. Fox starts off with a bang. Course, from the quote above you can see that bang just might be the main character's head striking the wall, but volatile as it is.. the opening scene is just for training. It made me wonder just how severe the actual battles might be as I continued ahead.
This story is about Laney, the daughter of the Devil and a very human woman. Apparently, some of his followers are not happy about the changes wrought in him by his feelings for the weaker species, and all Hells are about to break loose.. literally.
Working with a small group of friends, Callum--her teacher with the fiery sword, Torren--the male learning to fight beside her, and Moose--the cutest shapeshifting Hound of Hell I've ever seen.. Laney is thrust into the middle of what seems to be an attack on her father's "kinder, gentler" way of doing things.
"He was steady and strong. Like before, I knew he wouldn't leave me, even if I tried to send him away. He'd claimed me long before I realized I'd made him mine."
If I have anything to complain about, it's trying to get accustomed to the Devil being referred to as Angus. Admittedly, I always enjoy alternate Lucifer stories.. so that's just me sulking. There's absolutely a motive for the writer's direction, personally it was distracting and made it difficult for me to take him too seriously at first. However, that serves the author's serves the author's needs and makes contrasting scenes all the more dramatic in the moment.
Throughout the beginning, it's clear that Laney's power seems to be growing, as well as her mastery of it. But eventually a tragedy severs her connection with the source and with the abilities she's grown to count on.. gone.. she has to find other ways to manage. Meanwhile, an encroaching darkness threatens to push her to do things she wouldn't normally do.
"Devil save me from those who want to protect me."
There are some interesting supporting characters, in addition to her group.. though they're either completely decorative or they exist to explain certain things to the reader and provide fixes to a couple of weaker plot points. All in all, they're small weaknesses that are handled well enough by Fox.
Action sequences are plentiful, but not overdone. Sometimes they run and sometimes they fight, so there's a reasonable balance of realistic decision making. Depending on your level of awareness while reading, there may be a surprise or two there for you along the way as well.. and the author doesn't focus too heavily on a love connection. There are certainly indications of something more here and there, but the book is far more story driven.
"Midnight in the garden, I handed you my heart
No hint of the cost, how it would tear us apart
The gift of forever, a promise I could keep
Not knowing the path, the souls it would reap"
It's a fun book and if you're looking for a quick page-turner that doesn't view itself as overly self-important, this is a good choice.