REVIEW: Made for Sin by Stacia Kane
A lot of bad hands get dealt in Vegas, but E. L. Speare may be holding one of the worst: He’s cursed with the need to commit sins, and if he misses his daily quota, there’s hell to pay—literally. Fortunately, his hometown affords him plenty of chances to behave badly.
But Speare’s newest case really has him going out on a limb. The right-hand man of a notorious crime boss has been found dead in a Dumpster—minus his right hand, not to mention the rest of his arm. What catches Speare’s attention, however, is that the missing appendage was severed clean by a demon-sword, a frighteningly powerful tool of the underworld.
Speare’s out of his element, so he turns to a specialist: Ardeth Coyle, master thief, dealer in occult artifacts, and bona fide temptress. Ardeth’s hotter than a Las Vegas sidewalk on the Fourth of July, but she’s one sin Speare has to resist.
The dismembered corpses are piling up, unimaginable evil lurks in the shadows, and if this odd couple hopes to beat the odds, Speare needs to keep his hands off Ardeth, and his head in the game.
Dear Ms. Kane,
A few years ago I read “Close to You,” a Downside Ghosts novella and thoroughly enjoyed myself. When I had the chance to read this long novella about a Las Vegas PI who has to sin, well, I just couldn’t resist. I think this is present day in an alternate PNR world. The descriptions of tacky but not inexpensive Las Vegas glitz – it takes money to get this look! – are wince inducing. Speare’s first name though – what a hoot.
I had forgotten that your stories might start out easy and low key but then accelerate into whoa-damn that’s dark territory. The world building is good if perhaps a little slow in the beginning. This one opened with a little light heartedness before the bodies started piling up. We also discover why Speare has to commit daily sins – the mortal ones are better for why he has to do them. Sick at what he has to do in order to keep some control over his life, he keeps a tally on his – oh so muscled – chest with one hash mark for each ten mortal sins. He knows he’s doomed to hell when he’s finally allowed to die and at that time he plans to man up and take responsibility for what he’s done.
What exactly is paranormal aspect of book? Little hints are dropped at the start but it takes a chapter or two to get more info – which I like rather than having it all laid on me in one fell swoop. Even after we know what Speare’s issue is, we still don’t know how this came about. Yay, as this means there’s still more for me to learn. This keeps me interested and focused on this as we see the consequences for him in his day to day life.
Speare is actually a decent guy forced to do dirty work. When this case calls for it, he teams up with thief Ardeth who confounds Speare at every turn. Since the whole story is told from his POV, we’re not sure if she’s trustworthy though we – and something else – do know that Speare thinks she’s hot. She also gets him thinking of all the normal things in life that up until now he’s decided he’ll never have. But if they can solve who is behind all the murders and stop the why, could he hope to be freed and live his own life?
The finale of the story shows the full horror of what Speare lives with every day of his life and what he fights to protect Ardeth from. I guessed one key bit of information – well, I figured the responsible party was one of two people. How Speare will process this remains to be seen.
I will admit that the “romance” tag for this story at netgalley had me hoping for a certain ending. Instead, I’m guessing that this is an intro to a series and perhaps Speare and Ardeth will be back together in the future, fighting against evil and maybe moving closer towards a HEA. I’ll hope so. B