Damned If You Do: The Complete Collection
Title : Damned If You Do
Author : J.L. Merrow
Publisher : Riptide Publishing (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Paranormal
Length : 348 pages (e-book)
Published : May 10, 2013
Some sins are worth the price.
Sexy male succubus Rael has an insatiable appetite for men that gets him into all kinds of trouble. And he’s just found his favorite flavor: hunky blond detective Lars Thornsson. When those cool Nordic looks combine with Rael’s smoldering dark charms, all Hell could break loose.
Lars’s job at the Paranormal Enforcement Agency means he’s supposed to be policing demons, not falling in lust—or love—with them. But there’s something about this feisty little sex demon that hits all his buttons.
With no shortage of deadly sinners in his city, from serial-killing succubi to drug-dealing demons, all Lars can do is try to keep his private life from interfering with his work. But Rael has a knack for getting mixed up in cases that threaten both their domestic harmony and their lives.
So, uhm, I’ve had these books on my Kindle for a really long time. I read the first one, got halfway into the second when I had to do something else, then just didn’t pick them up again. It was surprisingly easy for me to not pick them up. I was a little flustered but figured it was me being in a mood. When the deadline for my review was looming I went back into them. The blurbs describe the stories spot on. They’re the story of a demon and a cop who meet on a case and fall in love. Their relationship builds over the course of the stories, each one set to it’s own specific mystery. In the first story Rael is arrested on suspicion of being the succubus draining the life from men at local gay clubs. It was really a very powerful succubus that Lars and his partner, Chelle Rochelle, would have been completely unable to stop without Rael’s help. And as it turns out, that powerful succubus had a grudge against bi men as she had been left by a man for a man. Hell hath no fury and all that. In the second story Lars and Chelle have to solve some suspicious fires. It turns out to be a salamander, which are completely misunderstood! Unfortunately that’s easier than dealing with Rael’s jealous ex who happens to be an envy demon. They manage to solve everything together. In book three a dangerous new drug is out on the street. All the gossip says it’s being sold by a cross dressing demon. Rael suspects he knows just who that is. Amidst trust issues, an arrest, and an impromptu meeting with a parent Lars and Rael manage to solve the crime while working together as opposed to behind each other’s backs. Chelle manages to get herself pregnant.
I didn’t read book four. I just can’t make myself. About halfway through book three I was thinking to myself I wished these books were either better or worse as opposed to just sort of “meh.” I was bored and suddenly my brain popped up with the idea the books are like sitcoms. My brain is a traitorous ass. I was completely unable to get the sitcom thought out of my head. What I thought were dull characters certainly fit the stereotypes common to TV. The stories are full of sight gags and one liners, some of which had me laughing out loud. And then, my traitorous brain pointed out the initials of the characters are R and L, just like Ricky and Lucy Ricardo or Rob and Laura Petrie. Lars would even come through the door and say, “Honey, I’m home.” Maybe the working relationship of Chelle and Lars was just like that of Toody and Muldoon. I didn’t watch enough “Car 54, Where are you” to be able to figure that out.
As far as devices go by which to write a series of stories I’d have to say this is kind of cool, maybe even a little brilliant. If in fact that is what JL Merrow was going for. If it wasn’t then I’m so far off the mark someone will have to take my hand and lead me to it bodily. The big problem for me is I’m not really a fan of sitcoms. I hate Lucy. The word hate cannot encompass all the loathing I feel for the “I Love Lucy” TV show. I even hated it as a kid. Anyway, I crapped out before the big, extra-long, one hour episode. I’m sure it would have had more drama than the previous half-hour episodes. Technically, these stories are superbly written, which is exactly what I’d expect from Merrow. Don’t try and pick up one of the latter stories thinking it’s a standalone you’d miss a lot of the relationship drama. If you’re a huge fan of sitcoms in general or “I Love Lucy” in particular these are totally the stories for you. Just imagine some canned laughter after the jokes and an audience either clapping or saying “Awww” en masse. It works beautifully.
Rated 3 stars by Faye