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Kate Davies

REVIEW: The Devil Inside by Kate Davies

REVIEW: The Devil Inside by Kate Davies

Dear Ms Davies,

devil-insideI’ve always enjoyed westerns – the genre is the first that I began reading when I came back to romance – and cowboys so a modern version of this old faithful attracts me as well. And given that I’ve started watching PBR events, your book was a timely find.

As Chris LeDoux and Garth Brooks ask, “Whatcha gonna do with a cowboy when he don’t saddle up and ride away?” Well, in the case of Sam Quincannon, she decides to ride him. That is after the doctor has checked Cody out for internal injuries and he’s had a couple of days to let his concussion heal while staying at Sam’s apartment.

These two have a “history,” and Sam has her own issues with rodeo and the people involved in it. Can they work things out or will this reunion be over in eight seconds?

This seems to be a good, realistic view of rodeo life. The danger, the thrills, the “day in day out,” what drives people to put themselves into the sport despite the risks and injuries that almost all of them eventually get. Sam’s father died right near the time that the PBR was formed and when there were quite a few deaths from bull riding injuries so this also makes sense.

I like that you make it clear that the stockmen aren’t all out for money. Most are honest workers who supply healthy stock and make sure the stock is cared for. The rodeo people are also concerned with the events, the people involved and the stock and are ready and willing to makes sure that the show is run cleanly and take complaints seriously.

I realize that “The Devil Inside” is the bull’s name, but it seemed so awkward to keep reading the whole name during the scene when Cody rides him.

Cody’s stay at Sam’s apartment is believable instead of seeming like a ploy to get them into the same vicinity since he doesn’t have a great deal of money or insurance to pay for a longer hospital stay. Can any of these riders get insurance? The rates must be horrendous if they even can.

Cody and Sam don’t immediately start doing the dirty hours after he gets to her place. Thank you, thank you. The man was badly hurt and needs to heal first. His recovery also shows a realistic view of how these men see and deal with their injuries. A rodeo performer can’t afford to let injuries – to us major but to them minor – keep them out of the game for long. They know the injuries must be dealt with but making a living comes neck and neck with healing.

LOL, knitting.

Major points for you when Sam and Cody take the time to discover the people they are now instead of thinking the other has remained static. It’s been thirteen years and both have changed and matured. Their separation years ago also works for me since she was (slightly) underage and he had been warned off by her mother. I like that Cody appreciates the fact that Sam doesn’t hero worship him or have a crush on him any more. And that he likes the woman she is now. Sam has to be persuaded to consider a relationship with a rodeo man. She has good reason and I would have frowned on her if she’d tossed her concerns and dived right into a romance.

I like that both are willing to compromise. Cody loves the job he has and the life he leads. Sam watched her beloved father die in the ring from injuries sustained from a ride. They’ve got some real issues to work out. They take the time to do that and think about their relationship, what it entails and what it will take to make it work. But most of all I appreciate that Sam starts back into horse riding mainly for her. The book ends with them still working out the details of their lives and the things it will take for them to be together – for her getting comfortable around the rodeo world again and for him wearing gear to protect him. Which is close to perfect. B+


This book can be purchased in ebook format.

REVIEW: The Devil Inside by Kate Davies

REVIEW: The Devil Inside by Kate Davies

Dear Ms. Davies:

925I don’t know what prompted me to ask for this book for review but I note that it has languished in my TBR pile since late January. You are a new to me author and I had no expectations so I was pretty much an open slate.

Sam Quincannon is a paramedic or some kind of emergency response person in Four Corners. For years she has managed to avoid the rodeo gig where the EMTs would sit and wait to attend to the medical needs of the men and women of the rodeo but she wants into a special training program and her supervisor insists Sam confront her fears rather than hide from them as a condition precedent to acceptance into the program.

  The first time back to the rodeo in 13 years and it seems that Sam’s past horror replays itself in real time as Cody Shaw, a former flame, gets bucked off an enraged bull.   Sam’s last rodeo was when she, as a teen, saw her dad die from a rodeo accident.

Sam and her partner take Cody to the local emergency room where he is diagnosed with head trauma but once Cody regains consciousness, he has to be discharged. Lacking family and resources, Cody has no place to go so Sam steps up to take him in. Cody is determined to rejoin the circuit and compete for a national title and Sam has no desire to get involved with anyone associated with the rodeo. Her heart can’t take it.

The majority of the story takes place with Cody bed bound. On the one hand it places Sam in close proximity with Cody and on the other hand, because one protagonist was immobile, it made for a very sedate book. If I could quote the somewhat reviled Toby Keith, “A little less talk and a lot more action” would have helped to keep my attention.  

The conflict is an obvious one and follows an expected path. Sam can’t get past her fears of the rodeo circuit and Cody won’t give it up. Sam, of course, is the one who needs the healing. I wasn’t thrilled, though, with Cody’s intractability. Rodeoing was something that defined Cody and the message seemed to be that Sam’s refusal to accept that made her small rather than Cody finding that he could be something without the rodeo.   

There were about three subplot points that all could have been allotted more space and development.   Sam’s fear of the rodeo circuit is intertwined with her sense of abandonment by the rodeo community.   After her father died, the rodeo community failed to be there for her mother and herself.   They were isolated and alone and Sam suffered more than just the loss of her father but also that of her extended family.    I felt like this was an important issue for Sam and one that could have contributed to the character conflict but instead seemed to be superficially an issue brought up at random times.   Cody hints at a past drug addiction but even that isn’t given much play.

Another issue was the small suspense plot  inserted in the story that had nothing to do with Cody and Sam and everything to do with Sam and the rodeo. I wasn’t sure what the point was–whether it was to provide a dramatic point that would bring climax to the story or whether it was to provide action to a more narratively driven tale.   The story is almost exclusively about Sam and her character growth.   Cody  is her love interest but his character arc seemed flat for me. (Or it could be that I focused in on Sam to the exclusion of Cody). This book was competent but it moved a bit too slowly for me and I felt like I had missed some important parts in Sam’s emotional development. C

Best regards, Jane

This book can be purchased in ebook format.