Sympathy for the Devil

Asha King
Sympathy for the Devil
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Release Date
August 2013
BDSM, Erotic Romance, Multi-cultural/Multi-racial Romance, Romantic Suspense/Mystery, Western Romance

Natasha Whitaker is a workaholic, putting in long hours to acclimate herself to the P.I. business in preparation to take over for her aging mentor. But the day after her boss's retirement doesn't bring the usual insurance fraud and cheating spouses: instead, a dead body shows up in a startling similar fashion to a home invasion cold case from years ago.

Complicating matters is the return of Devin Archer--estranged husband of the original victim--to Stirling Falls. He was the prime suspect in the first case, though slipped away when there wasn't enough evidence to prove his guilt. With bodies piling up the same time as his arrival, all eyes in town turn to him once again.

Tash is hired by the brother of the first victim to keep tabs on Devin, a task she eagerly accepts. But she can't help her attraction to this dark, potentially dangerous suspect, or deny the instant heat between them. Is Devin a broken man still suffering from the loss of his wife, or a cold-blooded killer setting his sights on Tash as his next victim?

Book Review by Rebecca (author,reviewer)
Nov 25, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
195 people found the following review helpful
SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL by Asha King is a steamy romance intertwined with a murder mystery.

Feisty heroine, Natasha (Tash) Whitaker is a private investigator in the town of Stirling Falls. When a body is found with similar hallmarks to another unsolved murder in the town from years ago, it seems to be too much of a coincidence that Devin Archer, the husband of the previous victim, happens to be back in town.

Her mentor Gregory Malone is retiring and Tash has taken over the reins of their PI business, working long hours to try and reorganize things and bring in an income. She first meets Devin Archer when he defends her from an irate husband she was caught spying on. She is intrigued by this stranger whom she feels an instant attraction for but who disappears before she can talk to him.

Tash stumbles across the crime scene of the new murder victim while out on a morning jog. We learn that Tash helped to catch a man who was stalking her friend Dani, and she cannot help but become involved in the murder case when, Adam, Dani's husband offers to pay her to follow Devin Archer around. Adam is convinced that Devin committed the latest murder as well as the previous murder of his wife and Adam's sister, Chelsea, and he wants Tash to find proof of this. Tash is surprised to discover that the man that came to her aid is Devin and even more surprised to discover that, the more she gets to know him, the more she feels irresistibly drawn to him.

Ms King builds the psychological and sexual tension by making us privy to all Tash's conflicting emotions as she worries about her own deception and tries to fight her growing attraction to a man who is both a suspected murderer and a member of a secret BDSM sex club. This aspect of the story could have made me very uncomfortable, especially as I am a reader who is not into that kind of thing.

However, Tash herself is also new to it all and I felt that the author introduced her and the reader to it in a very gradual, non-threatening way. I liked the way she made Tash's initial reactions so realistic and self-conscious. When Devin is seducing her in the club, Tash is embarrassed but aroused at the same time, e.g. "her eyes wanted to close, her mouth wanted to lie, but she couldn't. And when the floor didn't open up to swallow her from embarrassment, she admitted, 'Yes.'"

Tash has a friend and relative called Keisha on the police force. I found it a little too convenient, private investigator or no, that she is officially allowed to assist the police with their investigation and that Devin eventually hires her himself to try and prove his innocence instead of his guilt. I think I would have liked her resistance to Devin and their suspicion of each other to last a little longer just to keep the tension going. I liked the initial conflict between them and the verbal wrangling. For example, at one point Tash says, 'I'm not all bad, you know,' and Devin replies, 'Now that's a pity--I am.'

Devin is still troubled by the death of his wife and is a very appealing, brooding hero. I liked how the author enabled us to see things from Devin's point of view, even though this meant that, as a reader, you are never really in any doubt as to his innocence. For example, Ms King makes him a sympathetic character by writing things like, "Devin leaned against the fridge with a heavy sigh. I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing here" and "he felt sickened at the terror his proximity brought to her." Devin is harassed by the police, vandals and a mystery phone caller, and you cannot help but feel sorry for him.

I did find the conclusion of the story a little predictable, especially as I guessed who the murderer was from the start. I'm not sure how convinced I was by the murder mystery side of the story and I felt very little connection with this or with the victims, especially as the investigation never focused on anyone but Devin until the end. I'm also not sure I liked the very brief "Interludes" done from the perspective of the killer. I think these should have been longer or left out altogether as they offered no real insight and interrupted the flow of the story. However, the hero and heroine were both realistic, engaging characters and their developing relationship was very enjoyable and fascinating.

SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL by Asha King is a story with plenty to keep you entertained: a killer on the loose, attractive protagonists, well-written dialogue and inoffensive, passionate sado-eroticism. If you are looking for romance with an edge, then you certainly won't be disappointed.
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