Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Death and the Demon by Hortense Powdermaker

TITLE: Death and the Demon
AUTHOR: Hortense Powdermaker
PUBLISHER: Liquid Silver Books
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 29k)
GENRE: Paranormal erotic romance
COST: $4.75

For Phineas Suckher, being a demon isn’t nearly as fun as it used to be. For years, he’s been unable to take pleasure in corrupting humans, but when he spies a sexy American in Paris, he thinks his luck is about to change. This one feels different. This one might be an emotional connection. But this one…thinks he’s a jerk. It takes some interesting shenanigans with his gay brother, Philippe, one of his identical triplet brothers, to finally get Savannah’s attention, but by then, it might be too late, for all of them…

The author’s pseudonym should be a dead giveaway on how seriously you should take this story. Thankfully, the excerpt lived up to the humorous possibility, and so I settled in, ready for a paranormal comedy of the sexy kind. As the usual problem with comedy, however, it’s very subjective, and often incredibly difficult to convey in the written word. In the case of this particular story, it didn’t completely work for me, though there were some genuine moments where I laughed out loud.

I had problems almost from the beginning with the play on names. At the heart of the story are three identical triplet brothers – Phineas, the heterosexual player; Philippe, the gay brother; and Phoenix, who doesn’t make an appearance until the end of the book. From the beginning, I just could not keep Phineas and Philippe straight in my head. I kept having to go back and re-read to remember who was straight and who was gay, and by the third time I had to go back, I was annoyed. It doesn’t help when a little bit later in the story, they decide to switch places, because Savannah thinks Phineas is a jerk and the only way he can get close to her without her being snide is pretending to be his gay brother Philippe. And I’m not even going to get started on yet another identity switch later on that had my head whirling. Confused yet? Join the club.

It made reading much slower than I think comedy should be read at. I was having to re-read sections just to keep the antics straight, and like hearing a joke more than once, it loses its effect when repeated. When some of the jokes weren’t that funny the first time around, you can understand how tedious it could get. It was easier to find a flow and get into the story when scenes ran long, but that wasn’t often enough.

This isn’t a strictly het erotic romance, either. There are actually two romances going on at the same time – Phineas and Savannah, and Philippe and Hugo, Savannah’s friend. The smut is explicit with both couples, and while I don’t have issues with both gay and het in the same story, I know some readers do. So there’s your warning, since there isn’t one on publisher’s page.

The romances are fairly mediocre, though I definitely enjoyed the gay storyline better than the straight one. Actually, Hugo was my favorite character in the whole thing, with his surfer dude persona, but considering he’s a secondary character, that’s not necessarily good. But when the story was all over, the aspect that stuck out strongest was still the difficulty I had keeping the two brothers straight for the first half. Ultimately, just a little too bland and forgettable for me.


7/10 – I kept tripping up on 2 of the triplets’ names, confusing them, which kept slowing me down.


6/10 – Not nearly as charming as they thought they were, and my inability to keep them straight for the first half of the story didn’t help


5/10 – Bland and kind of forgettable

Entertainment value

5/10 – Some amusing moments, but the thing I remember most after finishing was how much trouble I had with the guys

World building

6/10 – I wanted way more explanation about what exactly was going on with demons and angels, it felt cobbled together there at the end



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