Originally reviewed for wickedlilpixie dot com
Devil's Business is the fourth book in Caitlin Kittredge's Black London series. Jack Winter is enemy number one in London after the events in the previous book. Everyone is gunning for him since he almost let Nergal's dragon loose on London's Black. Ben Mayhew is a P.I. in Los Angeles and has requested Pete (short for Petunia) Caldecott's help with solving some murders he believes are related to the Black. Pete reluctantly lets Jack accompany her to L.A. to investigate, also allowing the both of them to get out of dodge for a while. Turns out there are some new releases from Hell running around, and they are older and way more frightening than the former residents we have previously met.
Devil's Business is told from Jack's point of view, though not in his point of view. The book never lags, the story keeps up a wonderful pace, and it is one dark turn after another. Ms. Kittredge continues to build upon the Black London series where the heroine, Pete, is strong and compassionate, yet has a mouth like a sailor (love herrr). The unlikely hero, Jack, couldn't be any more flawed if he tried. He is a dirty scoundrel but he can charm you right off the page. Jack is completely unredeeming, and yet you cannot help yourself from loving him and wanting him to triumph despite himself. He is a smartass extraordinaire, with a dash of double smartass for good measure, and I love it. It does seem as though he's finally learned a lesson or two from when we first met him in book one, and he really steps up to the plate when help is needed. Finally it's not Pete chasing after him trying to save him. I admit, that was refreshing.
One thing that irked me was at the end of the previous book Bone Gods, it seemed that Pete harbored minimal anger with Jack once she discovered she was with his child, but right off the bat in this book Jack indicates she hasn't been talking to him hardly even though they've still been sharing his flat. I felt as though I missed something between the two books. I suppose it's due to the change in Pete's perspective in Bone Gods to Jack's in Devil's Business. While I let that slide, I felt the ending was also giving us an "everything is fine between Pete and Jack" vibe that felt contrived. Why was she so mad at him at the beginning? I mean aside from him just being Jack? And why was she so okay with him at the end? Eh, this is the first Black London series book where I didn't understand what was going on between them and not because it was part of the story. Also, I didn't love the setting in Los Angeles. London is where Pete and Jack are meant to be.
Not for the faint of heart, Devil's Business continues the Black London style of entertainingly crude language, but appropriately so to capture the gritty tone of the series. Pete seriously calls everyone a tw@t, especially Jack, it makes me giggle. Ms. Kittredge once again delivers with the dark and depraved world building I've come to expect. There was a lot of Belial in this one, and with all the new characters from Hell introduced, I definitely want to see how the overall arc plays out. If you like your urban fantasy raw and brassy, this might be a good pick for you.
Black London is set to be a 6 book series, and here is the reading order:
1. Street Magic
2. Demon Bound
3. Bone Gods
4. Devil's Business
5. Soul Trade ~2012
6. Title TBA