Jazz is an ex-police officer whose life was well and truly derailed by her partner being arrested – and convicted – for murder. Quitting her job and leaving some hostile officers behind who would love to lock her away as well, she is determined to have him proven innocent and validate herself, her judge of character and the trust she placed in him. And silent that nagging doubt at the back of her own mind.
Then there comes an offer that seems more than too good to be true. Funding and guaranteed cases to set up a PI firm – something she had tried to do but failed to get the financing for. And there’s only one catch – she needs to work with a partner, Lucia Garza, ex-FBI agent who is looking for a challenge and a less structured work place.
They’re both duly wary but they quickly work well together and even if it is too good to be true, who turns down such an offer? Even if there are guys who seem to be willing to fight – and even kill them – since the offer arrived.
But, in between their other cases, they complete their benefactors cases. Cases which seem both trivial and bemusing. It’s only when these seemingly benign cases are connected to a murder; revealing a much larger and more bizarre reason for their recruitment.
For a long time I thought I’d made a mistake with this book. I thought “Devil’s Bargain” was entirely metaphorical and there was no supernatural elements at all. I thought I’d actually picked up a standard mystery without any magic, vampires, angels or even a slightly confused Christmas elf.
And I was fine with that.
Which is saying a lot for me. Unrepentant geek that I am, I have little time or interest in books which don’t contain some element of the fantastic. Aliens, vampires or elves, it has to have something non-mundane to keep me interested. But this book I was quite happy to keep on reading without the supernatural.
The main reason for that was probably the characters. I loved Jazz and I loved how she and Lucia bounce off each other. They did fit together perfectly – and yes, it was a little freaky how quickly and amazingly they gelled (but explained within the book) – but they did gel so well. They’re funny, they’re witty, their skills go together – and even with Lucia having so many qualifications, Jazz still fits in with useful skills and additions, she isn’t the junior partner. We don’t face a classic situation of the cool, competent one and the spunky, inept yet plucky and lucky one. They’re both competent, both capable, both extremely good at their job and both bring unique elements to the partnership. I even love how she bounces off Pansy, and she only has a bit role. In fact, this is what makes the book for me – all the characters, even Manny and Pansy who are in such minor roles, are such great characters in their own right.