Monday, July 25, 2011

Early Review of Patricia Eimer’s Luck of the Devil

This book was irreverent and more than a bit blasphemous, and it totally cracked me up! Luck of the Devil is a light-hearted paranormal romance based in Pittsburgh, and thanks to Ms. Eimer’s sense of humor I had to clean Coke Zero off my Kindle screen far too many times after laughing at the Pittsburgh references. For those of you not in the know, my DH and his family are from Pittsburgh, and I’ve had to add phrases such as “Yinz” and “Innat” to this Southern Belle’s “Y’all” and “Fixin’ To”. What made this book all the funnier was that the heroine is the daughter of the Devil. Yes, Satan’s hell spawn lives in Pittsburgh, and if you think after suffering through 5 Midwestern winters I’m not convinced that the Devil himself lives in the Midwest, you’re crazy. Patricia Eimer’s Luck of the Devil is a hoot, and I highly recommend it!
The novel opens with Faith Bettincourt, pediatric nurse, staring down at the corpse of Dr. Harold Wilkins, her boss. Once again Faith’s roommate Lisa, a recently converted succubus, has lost control of her powers and killed someone by mistake. Faith and Lisa have to figure out how to dispose of poor Harold’s body without anyone being the wiser and without Lisa suffering the hellish consequences of her mistake. Fortunately, Faith’s the youngest daughter of the Devil and is able to take care of matters quickly and quietly, but Harold’s died before his time, and his soul’s appearance in Hell has caused problems that attract the attention of Faith’s half-brother, Tolliver.
Up till now Faith has been trying to live a low-key life with little demonic activity, which doesn’t please her father, but instead of enjoying her well-earned week of vacation from the hospital, she’s hosting her entire demonic family. Her older sister Hope and her incubus husband Boris have descended upon Pittsburgh after losing control of an Armageddon fearing Satanic cult, and Faith’s mother Roisin has also arrived to spread her special brand of craziness through her hippy-dippy, Mother-Earth loving ways. To top it all off, the Devil has arrived for a cozy family reunion, unaware that Roisin hasn’t informed Faith that she’d be hosting the affair. All this togetherness would be more than enough to force out a minor’s demoness’s tail and horns, but Faith’s also dealing with a creepy stalker who’s been snapping photos of her disposal of Harold’s body. When Faith is called into a police interview, she has to call in legal reinforcements, namely her nerdy yet studly neighbor Matt. Faith and Matt find themselves searching for her stalker and starting a relationship, all while dealing with Dear Old Dad.
As I mentioned earlier, this book is more than a bit blasphemous, but I adored Ms. Eimer’s clever take on the Devil and his brother God, referred to as the Alpha. In this world Jesus is Faith’s cousin, and he has a great sense of humor, while the demons seem less frightening than you would think. But some of their demonic activity strikes a little too close to home, as I’m sure no one will be shocked to learn that the Devil invented computers and at least one insurance company has outsourced its customer service to a demon. Makes perfect sense to me. And contrary to popular belief, Faith and her demonic siblings interact with their holy uncle and his family on a fairly regular basis.
It’s the relationships between the various demons in this extended family that really sold me on the book, because they were imminently believable. Faith’s blended family, while demonic, suffers from the same relationship problems many families suffer, and the scene where she walks in on her parents during an “intimate” moment is as funny as it is cringe-worthy. The Devil is a likeable fellow, but you can imagine the awkwardness of introducing your date to your father when he’s in charge of Hell and all its realms. Fun times! And Faith’s relationships with her sister Hope will be immediately familiar to any woman with a sister, especially if that sister is prissy and insists on always being perfectly dressed. When her mother sets Faith up as hostess for this impromptu family reunion, lots of craziness ensues, and believe me it’s both painfully familiar and funny all at once.
I also loved the Pittsburgh setting. It seems that the Devil loves to eat at Primanti Brothers and drink Yuengling beer served by waitress calling them all “yinz”. You just don’t get more Pittsburgh than that, and I suspect most Pittsburghers wouldn’t be surprised to learn that in Ms. Eimer’s world the Alpha is a Penguins fan. Actually, I’m betting that the Washington Capitals and Alex Ovechkin wouldn’t be shocked to learn that either.
However, if you’re looking for a kick-butt heroine, you won’t find her in Faith. There’s a lot to like in her character, mainly her relationship with her family and her attraction to and romance with hottie lawyer Matt, but she’s a bit of a wimp. In fact, her sister calls her a wimp, and Faith’s a bit of a disappointment to the Devil, since she’s an outstanding pediatric nurse and rarely engages in demonic activity. All this makes her a character you can relate to, but I would have liked to see her go demonic on someone or witnessed her having to fight her demonic nature. She just doesn’t develop much as a character. However, I do think that there’s room for a sequel, and I’d love to see Faith deal with issues of her hellish background while keeping the snappy dialogue between characters.
I only have two small complaints about the novel. Overall I felt that Ms. Eimer did an outstanding job of gradually introducing new elements of the demonic world to the reader, but I was a bit confused about the Angale, the group with a supposed divine purpose to overthrow the Devil and force God to allow them dominion over Earth. I was a little unclear about the parentage of the Nephilim, the foot soldiers of the Angale, and had to go back and check on a few points in the text to make sure I had understood the situation clearly. Also, early in the book Faith calls Matt for help when she’s interviewed by the police about morphine stolen from the hospital, and after the two leave the hospital, the missing medicine isn’t mentioned again. The implication is that this was an attempt by the stalker to get Faith into trouble with the police, but because the topic never comes up again, it feels a bit like a plot device that allows the stalker to slip Faith some photos while jumpstarting her relationship with Matt.
Despite this, I very much enjoyed Luck of the Devil. It was the perfect lighthearted paranormal romance for the overwhelming heat wave we’re fighting at the moment, and I can’t wait to see Ms. Eimer’s next book. Luck of the Devil releases on August 2.
This book was received for review from Entangled Publishing through NetGalley.

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