Devil’s Due – J.P. Jackson (Queer Space/Rebel Satori Press)

Y’know, I don’t read enough demon stories. It’s not that they’re not out there or that I dislike them in any way. In fact, I love them. Demons are far more interesting than your average vampire, they can assign the shapeshifting to their minions, they only do the dirty work they want to do, and they just seem an altogether superior class of supernatural beings. If vampires are the administrative assistants of the Otherworld, demons are the CEOs. And Dominic Ronove, the contract demon starring in J.P. Jackson’s latest novella, Devil’s Due, is a perfect example.

Dominic Ronove has souls to collect, contracts to sign, and penalties to extract. He doesn’t have time to be lured to his death by witches bent on destroying him, but he investigates anyway. And he certainly doesn’t have time to fall in love with Malik Parsa, but he does. The problem is that Malik isn’t quite as human as Dominic believes him to be. Aided by his servants Elisha and Rodolfo and his hellhound, Cerberus, Dom wades right into the witches’ domain and gets the plot rolling.

Jackson does a terrific job of pacing the budding romance alongside the witches’ plan to assassinate Dominic. He also has a strong facility with characters, as both Dom and Mal have interesting and distinctive voices. The battle scenes are inventive and move smoothly, and the dialogue is snappy. In fact, there’s not much to dislike except its brevity.

Being a novella, there’s less of this than I would have liked, especially since what’s here is quite well done. Still, I understand the value of leaving the reader with a cliffhanger for the next installment. J.P. Jackson’s Devil’s Due, then, is good, fast-paced fun with some interesting characters and a worthwhile plot that leaves you wanting more. Hopefully, he’ll deliver soon.


© 2022 Jerry L. Wheeler

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