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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Devil's Keep by Phillip Finch


Billed as being the first book in a series, Devil's Keep is slow to start, but the final third of the book is almost non stop action. Here's the blurb:

Even trained warriors often feel an internal blink of resistance when the killing takes place within the zone of body heat.
Not Ray Favor. He killed with the ease of flipping a light switch.

A decade ago, Ray Favor was a remorseless killer for the Black Ops cell Bravo One Nine. He did what he was hired to do out of patriotism and duty. Now, having amassed a fortune but deeply troubled by his past and suspicious of his own nature, Favor is motivated by something more: a chance to right the wrongs he committed and restore balance. He gets that chance deep in the Philippines, where the disappearance of two teenagers leads Favor and his Bravo team to confront an illegal operation by the Russian mob--and an evil so deplorable that it can only be righted by the means Favor once used to wreak destruction. Now, driven by a hungry sense of purpose, Ray Favor will seek retribution by any means necessary. And exact a violent justice without mercy--or regret.
First in Phillip Finch's stunning new series, Devil's Keep is a suspense-packed international thriller introducing a powerful, complex, and memorable action hero.

While I agree that Ray Favor is powerful, I don't think he's very complex. Not at all.

Sometimes, the main character in a book is the action, the story. Sometimes the main character has nothing to do with the people. I think this is one of those books.

After reading Devil's Keep I don't feel as if I really know any of the characters. I don't feel particularly attached to Ray, or any of the rest of the cast of characters. I have a very good idea where the next books will be headed, and I'm not sure if I'll want to read them or not. Right now, I'm thinking probably not. In a day or so I may change my mind.

It was a thought provoking book. Not during the book so much, but the ending certainly makes you think. I've got a thing for assassin books right now, and while Ray Favor wasn't the same kind of assassin as I've been drawn to in stories (he worked for the government, supposedly killing in order to save lives), some of the same moral dilemmas are still there. If you can save 20 lives by taking these three, wouldn't it be wrong to let these three live? So, perhaps I'll read future books. I see nothing on the author's site that hints at when the second book in the series might be made available, though.

As for the tough question, what do I rate Devil's Keep? I'm honestly stumped. The action sequences were well written, the dialogue wasn't forced. The basic writing, the technical parts, was well done. But the characters were not three dimensional, the pacing during the first two thirds of the book was troublesome, and I felt as if I were being asked to suspend belief a few times. If this book were made into a movie, my husband and my father would love it... guns, knives, explosions, fast boats... right up their alley.  And in a movie you don't generally get to know people as well as you expect to in a book. It really felt more like a book written about an idea for a movie, if that makes sense. I'm wavering back and forth between a 6 of 10 or a 7 of 10, but I think I'm going to have to land on a 6 of 10.

Book Rating: Devil's Keep: 6 of 10

1 comment:

  1. All of his books are like this. His characters never have depth. He doesn't seem to know anything about people.