fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsK.A. Stewart Jesse James Dawson 1. A Devil in the DetailsA Devil in the Details by K.A. Stewart

A Devil in the Details introduces us to the wry and wiry Jesse James Dawson, a 21st century Midwestern samurai who saves souls in the best tradition of The Seven Samurai. If you sold your soul to the devil, or one of his demonic henchmen, who you gonna call? JJD, of course, or one of his fellow demon-fighting champions. His wife, Mira, a practicing Wiccan white witch, owns a shop in Westport, a trendy Kansas City district of specialty shops and bars. Together they attempt to corral their young daughter, Annabelle, appropriately nicknamed Hurricane Anna. Ivan, a retired Ukrainian demon killer, mentors Jesse and several other champions scattered around the globe. When two champions fail to report in, Ivan warns Jesse and travels to Mexico to investigate Miguel’s disappearance.

Meanwhile, Jesse is juggling life and a new client with wisecracking adroitness. An aging major league baseball pitcher struck a deal with a demon to revitalize his professional career. He feels the consequences of selling his soul when his infant grandchild screams at his touch, for the very young can sense the demon taint of the damned. So can dogs. Jesse gives Kidd an hour to give him good reason to put his own soul on the line to rescue Kidd from his own foolish greedy devilish deal. Kidd barely manages to persuade Jesse, after which the real negotiations begin with Kidd’s hellhound of a demon.

K.A. Stewart uses a first person narrative, telling the story from Jesse James’ point of view for the entire novel. Thanks to Jesse’s overdeveloped sense of honor, the story does not suffer from any unreliable-narrator twists. Stewart keeps the prose concise, witty, and demonically delicious. Jesse doesn’t do zombies (or vampires or werewolves), but he does beat the crap out of Hell’s minions with his katana and mixed martial arts, regardless of his tall, skinny physique.

A Devil in the Details is fun. It offers a welcome alternative to cloying paranormal romances and is a great addition to the urban fantasy scene.

Jon MossFanLit thanks Jon Moss for contributing this guest review. Jon lives in the Heart of America (Kansas) with her husband and two Rottweilers who occasionally pull her around the neighborhood on her evening walks. Her kids migrated south for more than the winter, to attend (and graduate from) colleges in the northern part of Texas. Jon’s current passionate distraction is amateur astronomy. Find her at her blog Misty Midwest Mossiness.

Jesse James Dawson — (2010-2012) Publisher: Every lost soul needs a champion. Jesse James Dawson was an ordinary guy (well, an ordinary guy with a black belt in karate), until the day he learned his brother had made a bargain with a demon. Jesse discovered there was only one way to save his brother: put up his own soul as collateral, and fight the demon to the death. Jesse lived to free his brother — and became part of a loose organization of Champions who put their own souls on the line to help those who get in over their heads with demons. But now experienced Champions are losing battles at a much higher rate than usual. Someone has changed the game. And if Jesse can’t figure out the new rules, his next battle may be his last…

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