Author: Devon Monk
Publisher: Odd House Press
Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Magic isn’t a blessing with drawbacks, it’s a curse with upsides.
Shame Flynn and Terric Conley hadn’t meant to become the living, breathing vessels for Death and Life magic. But they hadn’t meant to die, be reborn, break magic, save the world, and kill a few psychopaths along the way, either.
The one thing they had meant to do was to seal magic away so it could never be used to kill again.
When a string of dead bodies–people killed by magic–appear throughout Portland, Oregon, Shame and Terric must scramble to uncover who broke the locks on magic and how.
Before Terric’s sister becomes the next target.
Before the Russian mob locks them in their sights.
Before the question of who can control magic is decided by bullets and blood.
Review: Back Lash is the first book in the Shame and Terric series, but is actually a continuation of the Allie Beckstrom spin-off books Hell Bent and Stone Cold, and is essentially book 3. As there is a lot of world building and background information, I’d strongly recommend reading at least the other two books featuring Shame and Terric before Back Lash. Even better would be to read the Allie Beckstrom series.
Soul compliments Shame and Terric may have survived the battle for magic, but it isn’t without its drawbacks. A year later, it seems that Terric’s temporary stay in Shame’s spare room has turned into a long term one (along with Terric’s boyfriend, Dashiell Spade). Thanks to a loophole they built when locking magic away from the world, they are the only two people who can access magic, but that also means they still have to battle with Death magic’s and Life magic’s demands on them, constantly balancing the need to feed their magic without letting it suck away their humanity. And now they have the problem of discovering how someone is using the magic that should be locked down tight and inaccessible, to kill people. On top of all that, Terric’s younger sister, Jolie, turns up on their doorstop running from the Russian mafia.
I enjoyed the main plot with Shame, Terric and Dash trying to find the how and who of the “magically dead bodies” that started mysteriously turning up, but I did find the inclusion of Jolie and the Russian mafia a bit puzzling and felt that the plot would have been tighter without it. That aspect was just too vague. All the rest of it was a fast-paced ride. Jolie’s only purpose seemed to be her connection with the mob and as a possible future love interest for Shame, but she was too young and a little too inexperienced because of her age (despite her bravado) to feel like a good match for Shame. I adored Dash and he is absolutely perfect for Terric.
In the Allie Beckstrom series, Shame and Terric were my favourite secondary characters and I was really glad they got their own books. Those two books didn’t disappoint, and neither does Back Lash. All the things I loved most about them are still there. I love the banter between them, it provides some great humour without becoming too flippant. I also loved seeing them continue to repair their damaged friendship, the care they have for each other is obvious. I found the way they navigated not only the impact their respective magic has on them individually, but also the impact of being soul compliments completely fascinating. The author has created a wonderfully complex and believable world.