Title: The Devil’s Hand Series
Author: S. Zanne
Genre: Gay Romance, Paranormal
Length: Short Story + Novella
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
Devin endured Hell for a long, long time and has come out literally a changed man. Now a demon, he hunts for the one thing that can make him remember something of what it was to be human—however unfortunate that might be for his prey.
He stumbles upon James Goodman, who tugs at the nearly extinguished memories. The pair enter into a relationship that evolves into something more as Devin grooms James for his pleasure.
Though Devin is a demon and James merely human, who holds the power in their relationship is in question, and, in the end, who holds the winning hand may surprise them both.
ACE IN THE HOLE
Months later, Devin is imprisoned and James remains reluctant to face him. Torn and conflicted, he’s still reeling from the experience of living at the side and in the bed of the man his family has spent several lifetimes hunting.
James tries to find solace in the bosom of his family, but it leaves him dissatisfied and wanting, unable to fulfill the newly born cravings even he’s not sure he understands. Finally forced to serve his stint as Devin’s jailer, James returns to the place of Devin’s imprisonment, only to find his confusion grow with every day he spends with Devin.
And Devin may not be entirely out of cards.
Unbeknownst to the Goodman family, Devin’s influence extends far beyond the ten- by twelve-foot room in which he’s confined.
James comes to the realization that perhaps his great-grandfather’s plan hadn’t been for the family to save Devin after all, but instead to repay a debt owed—a soul for a soul.
I loved the premise, the uniqueness of the plot behind the story, and the anti-hero protagonist. The writing style is also compelling. All these are the reasons why I am giving it 3 stars and not less.
The rest is... confusing to say the least. I found no connection with the characters, especially not with James, and the flow of the story felt forced, gappy at times. Devin is the only character with some substance, though to me he is just a secondary character. James....there is nothing compelling about him. There nothing beneath the trainings he had received from his mentor, nothing personal, to put some flesh on the bare bones of the character. Perhaps it was intentional, to make him more similar with his great-grandfather, but sadly there wasn't much about his great-grandfather either.
As for the ending....to say we're left on a cliffhanger is putting it mildly. I like a good cliffhanger, but this left me completely unsatisfied.
About the author
Call her ZANNE. She lives in beautiful, sunny Southern California, which is ironic since she tends to avoid the sun like it might incinerate her on the spot. While her colleagues often refer to her job as zookeeping, the technical title is actually middle school teacher. Misfit Prophets Beneath a Bankrupt Sky was her first published novel and her short story “Persephone Is Bleeding” was published in the Hungry Hearts anthology with Inkstained Succubus Press.
ZANNE can be found at: