THE DEVIL’S CUT
Bourbon Kings Trilogy #3
Written by: J.R. Ward
Read by: Alexander Cendese
10 Hours and 30 Minutes
PRHA: Imprint: Random House Audio
Genre: Fiction – Romance – Contemporary
Release Date: August 01, 2017
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In J. R. Ward’s thrilling finale to her Bourbon Kings series, the Bradford family dynasty teeters on the edge of collapse after the murder of their patriarch—and a shocking arrest.
At first, the death of William Baldwine, the head of the Bradford family, was ruled a suicide. But then his eldest son and sworn enemy, Edward, came forward and confessed to what was, in fact, a murder. Now in police custody, Edward mourns not the disintegration of his family or his loss of freedom . . . but the woman he left behind. His love, Sutton Smythe, is the only person he has ever truly cared about, but as she is the CEO of the Bradford Bourbon Company’s biggest competitor, any relationship between them is impossible. And then there’s the reality of the jail time that Edward is facing.
Lane Baldwine was supposed to remain in his role of playboy, forever in his big brother Edward’s shadow. Instead he has become the new head of the family and the company. Convinced that Edward is covering for someone else, Lane and his true love, Lizzie King, go on the trail of a killer—only to discover a secret that is as devastating as it is game-changing.
As Lane rushes to discover the truth, and Sutton finds herself irresistibly drawn to Edward in spite of his circumstances, the lives of everyone at Easterly will never be the same again. For some, this is good; for others, it could be a tragedy beyond imagining. Only one thing is for certain: Love survives all things. Even murder. http://www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com/book/318068/devils-cut/
Ward’s stories are always gripping and “unputdownable” but at some point every author has to include enough back story to help someone starting at the end of a series understand. This is the point. Sometimes backstory is just a glimpse of facts but in this case, I felt the whole book was filled with the same story I’d already read. Honestly, I questioned myself about whether I had already read it and had, perhaps, suffered a concussion between last fall and last week. I did check to see if DEVIL’S CUT was in my library in any format but could not track it down, so I think the novel has a lot of backstory to preserve continuity and that the activity in this book overlaps the activity in the one before, ANGELS’ SHARE. Still, the feeling haunts me.
In general is this series feels like it couldn’t possibly be occurring in the 21st century. It feels like it is happening in the 1970s or the 1980s but with computers. I keep wondering when Joan Collins is going to come down the stairs and tell the Carringtons to get out of her mansion. Indeed, Ward mentions Dynasty as her inspiration.
The least realistic thing in the book is asked and answered but still wasn’t believable. It is, however, at the center of the story so I cannot give it away. The mystery is pretty much solved by the middle of the book so the rest is just biscuits and gravy. The character was so heinous, I am surprised there wasn’t a waiting list of people who would have killed him with pleasure and few regards for the consequences.
Sometimes this series has felt as if Ward is trying to translate her Black Dagger Brotherhood Series, in particular The Shadows spin-off, to contemporary, non-paranormal romance/mystery. It’s about a screwed up family, bad parenting, money, business management and substance and spousal abuse.
I did not like the way Alexander Cendese narrates female voices. They generally felt too breathy and vapid, except for the old, African-American character, Miss Aurora. I particularly disliked the voice given Lane’s soon-to-be-ex wife and Edward’s new stable-hand who sounds like the the biggest hillbilly ever.
But, then again, I enjoyed the series — it certainly demonstrates that money and social conformity don’t buy any kind of happiness and that’s always something we can stand to remember.