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Where Death Meets the Devil

Narrated by: Rowan Scott
Length: 10 hrs and 31 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
4.5 out of 5 stars (68 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Jack Reardon, former SAS soldier and current Australian Meta-State asset, has seen some messy battles. But “messy” takes on a whole new meaning when he finds himself tied to a chair in a torture shack, his cover blown wide open, all thanks to notorious killer-for-hire Ethan Blade. 

Blade is everything Jack doesn’t believe in: remorseless, detached, lawless. Yet, Jack’s only chance to survive is to strike a bargain with the devil and join forces with Blade. As they trek across a hostile desert, Jack learns that Blade is much more than a dead-eyed killer - and harder to resist than he should be. 

A year later, Jack is home and finally getting his life on track. Then Ethan Blade reappears and throws it all into chaos once more. It’s impossible to trust the assassin, especially when his presence casts doubts on Jack’s loyalty to his country, but Jack cannot ignore what Blade’s return means: the mess that brought them together is far from over, and Ethan might just bring back the piece of Jack’s soul he thought he’d lost forever.

©2018 J.L. Hayward (P)2019 Riptide Publishing

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kinda amazing

so.. the twists and turns. the mystery. the tension. ugh. I love it.
and then there's the narrator. perfection.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Where Death Meets the Devil

Good story. Lots of action, car chases etc. liked the characters, good chemistry between two male leads. Overall, I recommend this audio book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Mystery Wrapped Up inside an Enigma... Riveting

A spicy, intense and convoluted spy thriller will always entice me into its pages and this one held me riveted all the way through to the breathtaking conclusion.

Where Death Meets the Devil introduced me to Australian former SAS soldier, Jack Reardon, and top level assassin, Ethan Blade, in a tale told in alternating past and present time lines all from Jack's perspective. Jack tangled with Ethan and his mission got turned on its ear along with everything else he thought he knew. A year after the events in Australia's desert tracking down a crime lord and potential terrorist Jack is still writhing under the minatory eye of his boss and the psychologists. That's when Ethan appears again and shatters even more illusions and sucks Jack back into his twisting, morally gray world. Ethan betrayed and lied to him so can he really trust him now when his life and career and the lives of innocents are on the line?

This is the kind of story that is best enjoyed when the reader/listener goes in with the least amount of fore-knowledge possible- hence, my vague description. It's a spy thriller and has lots of nice convoluted plotting and twists to make anyone who loves ambiguous characters and missions happy. Jack is the narrator so the reader/listener gets to know him well. He is a natural protector and he's extremely capable after his time in the special forces. He's damaged from an op gone wrong and with family not supporting his choice to go in the military. Now, he's done his best, but his boss thinks he might have been turned by the mobster and an assassin. Jack is in a turmoil and his contrary feelings about Ethan Blade the assassin for hire with the cold killer eyes that are paired with occasions of depth and feeling and his own code of ethics. He shouldn't want the man, but he does.

There is a great deal of action, intrigue and excitement, and the slow-build to the spicy hot encounters between Jack and Ethan. It makes it more exciting that these encounters tend to take place at interludes of peace during the most stressful dangerous moments.

The main conflict of the story wraps up and leaves things in a good place, but it is also obvious that this book was the introduction and set up to a series. This I am thrilled to know. I want more Jack and Ethan and more of the spy thriller plots I got a taste for with this one.

Rowan Scott was a great match as narrator for this story. He gave both main characters distinct voices and vocal mannerisms. He managed a few Australian and British accents for the cast of characters. But, he also worked well with the exciting thriller tone and the pacing, the introspective and emotional moments, and the hot and spicy scenes. I hope he continues to narrate the series.

On a side note, the author offers a free short story Coda to this book on Smashwords that gives the reader an additional epilogue that wraps up a few loose threads related to the events during the big end scene.

All in all, I stumbled upon another winning thrilling romantics suspense series that I can anticipate each new release. Those who enjoy spicy hot m/m spy romances should give this one a go.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Phew... that was some ride!

I haven't decided if it was a good ride, a bad one, both or somewhere in-between. I just know that it was an intense one! I also know that I should have absolutely loved this story, I mean it had everything that I love. It was packed with mystery, suspense, small and big threads to tug on and unravel, undercover work, bad cops/good cops and the hunt to figure it all out. I love trying to figure out how it all comes together. Add in some great characters, enemies to lovers trope and it should have been a no brainer for me.

Sadly it wasn't. The writing was (mostly) there, there's no doubt that Hayward is amazingly talented, but I just wished she'd told this story a bit differently, maybe in two parts, the then and now instead of constantly jumping back and forth between the two. Generally I'm not a fan of dual timelines in my books, at least not when the reader experiences them at the same time. More often and not it adds confusion of when and where things happened, the occasional flashback I have no problem with, but in this book it was more or less every other chapter. Both the past and the present events need to be in this book, so I'm not suggesting removing it. However, I would have liked to have listened to the past all (or most of it) in one go, then jump to a year later and then continue with the present. This however is my own personal preference and might not even be a blip on your radar.

Okay, so moving on from the time line to the actual content and narration of the book; I think I mentioned that this story was definitely something I really enjoyed. I won't go into any details, as I don't want to spoil the fun if you haven't already read or listened to it yet. Let's just say there are books that are so utterly predicable that you know every move of the main characters before even finishing chapter one. That's not the case here. A few things (with emphasis on few) were predicable, but a lot of the times I found myself wondering what the hell was going to happen the next minute - let alone the rest of the book. I mean the twists and turns on this book definitely needs a better navigator than me to keep track of. And I enjoyed the heck out of my confusion, tension and battle. A small disclaimer though. Don't go into this book expecting something close to reality or a procedural, because then you'll be disappointed. Go into it expecting to be highly entertained, you'll have a winner for sure.

I think Rowan Scott is a new narrator for me, and after a quick check I noticed that not only is Scott new to me, it also seems like Where Death Meets the Devil is his first audio. Hat off for that, because I did not notice that while listening. I have to start with mentioning his accent, I loved it. As usual I can't speak to its authenticity, but to a non Aussie / English native it was great. Scott aimed for different voices for his characters, with varying success. One (minor) character sounded like he had a perpetual cold, it didn't quite fit the story or the situation, but it made me smile. Mostly, what made his narration a hit for me was that he varied his tone, intensity to the story, feeling the words and the story he's telling. I'm looking forward to listening to more books of his in the future.

A copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review for Love Bytes.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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loved this so much

narration was great, story was great. loved the characters. I was on the edge of my seat listening to this and wish I'd had more horse stalls to clean so I could listen longer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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love the book

this was a great book u didnt know who was the bad guy until the very end I hop there are going to be more books

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • mee
  • 08-07-19

Enjoyable caper

I really enjoyed the book and found the narration good. Not all the accents were the best and they occasionally slipped; Director Tan's made me laugh as it sounded like someone with a headcold! but not bad enough to be distracting. It was easy to get caught up in the story, the 'then' and 'now' were clear and pacing was good. I enjoyed listening.

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  • Book addict
  • 05-26-19

Really enjoyable

I loved this book! It reminded me of the In Darkness series by Alice Winters. There’s a lot of action m/m books out there that other people really love, but I haven’t enjoyed, but I was delighted to find that this was one of the actually fantastic books and deserves high praise. By the end of the book there’s still more relationship development potential, but I’m presuming this will be a story arc across the series. It worked just right with the balance of relationship, action and plot in this story and I’m really looking forward to more from this author. The narrator was good, and although he didn’t have the range of voices of some narrators, he told the story well.

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  • Mandy ryder
  • 05-02-19

Fast paced must listen

Loved everything about this book. The switch between now and then, the fast paced action. The snark and humour. Not listened to this narrator before, but he is brilliant.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-26-19

Masterfully crafted story

I read the book, and got the audible as soon as I saw it. It's one of my all time favourites. The narration dissapointed some. Its ok, but the voices of Ethan and Jack tended to blend into one, the supposed posh english wasn't really so posh, the voice of Director Tan was atrocious.

But I already loved thr book, so I braved it out.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • BevS
  • 04-14-19

Great narration from Rowan Scott....

***Audio Review***

Great narration from Rowan Scott, a newbie to me [other than the fact that he didn't voice the female characters as female AND Director Tan sounded particularly adenoidal or just had a heavy cold]. His voices for Jack and especially Ethan were just as I'd imagined they could be, and I can only hope that Why the Devil Stalks Death and all the other little novellas will make their way onto audio in due course...preferably sooner rather than later please, dear Author. 4.5 stars.

***Book Review***

Really well written, great chemistry and sexy times between the two MC's...the only problem I had with it was that the traitor was fairly well telegraphed and easy to spot if you paid really close attention to the story. The temperamental camel was a first for me 😁 although I know from personal experience that they are very good at spitting 😨, and there were a few good laughs too. Some typos crept in unfortunately [tut, tut Riptide], but didn't put me off too much. 4.5 stars from me.

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  • Pixiebell
  • 04-08-19

Intelligent, suspenseful and sexy!

This action packed thriller is told from former SAS officer and current spy, Jack Reardon’s point of view and flips back and forth between two timelines, present day and one year ago when he first met assassin Ethan Blade.
The plot is complex and intellectually written, the characters likeable and intriguing and the plot has twists and turns that kept me on my toes throughout.
The romance is a complicated slow burn due to the relationship and the situation the MC’s are in but that makes it all the more worth the wait.
I hope that the next in the series is made available on audiobook.