Review: Dead Man’s Deal by Jocelynn Drake
Author: Jocelynn Drake
Title: Dead Man’s Deal
Release: May 7, 2013
Series: The Asylum Tales #2
Reviewer: Mona Leigh
Purchase: | Book Depository
The dark and dangerous follow-up that continues the adventures of a magical tattoo artist begun in Angel’s Ink
In a world where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires swim free in a sea of humanity, sometimes you need an edge. Looking for a little love? Need some luck? Desperate for revenge? Gage can give you what you need. The most talented tattoo artist in town, he knows the right symbol and the right mix of ingredients and ink to achieve your heart’s desire. One tattoo is all it takes. But remember, everything has its price. . . .
Gage learned that lesson long ago, in ways he’d rather not remember. But the cruel and powerful wizards in the dreaded Ivory Towers he escaped aren’t about to let him forget. Though Gage has managed to stay out of sight, he can’t outrun the past forever.
The wizards know Gage is using forbidden magic, and they intend to punish him for his transgressions. Too bad if innocent humans and monsters-entire cities-get in the way. They will quell a nascent magical uprising and Gage will be the sacrifice they need. First, though, they have to find him . . .
Someone has discovered the locations of all eight Ivory Towers – the strongholds of the warlocks and witches. Information like that could be used to bring about a revolution that would wipe out the remaining humans and fey. When Gage discovers that the drug lord / dark elf Reave has the coordinates, he tries to dissuade him from using them, but he could have saved his breath.
No longer able to conceive, the fey are dying off. When the Summer Court arrives near Low Town, the Queen has one directive for Gage: If you love Trixie and want to keep her safe, fix our problem. Of course, Gage doesn’t have a clue how to accomplish it, but he knows someone who might. He pays a visit to Chang and soon receives an invitation to visit Gaia, better known as Mother Nature.
While all this is going on, five young runaway witches and warlocks are hiding, trying to evade the warlocks sent to return them to the Ivory Towers. Gage already has his hands full, and doesn’t need to babysit a handful of kids. But after meeting them and remembering how tough it was when he escaped, he changes his mind.
An awful lot goes on in Dead Man’s Deal, and what you see above is just the tip of the iceberg. The action is nonstop, the stakes are high, and even Gage’s family gets brought in on the dirty dealings. Gage must protect his friends and loved ones from enemies on both sides while searching for solutions to the problems that have been dumped in his lap.
I didn’t see the final resolution coming, and I was shocked at the price he’s forced to pay. But through it all, Trixie and Bronx stand united with him, and we finally get to hear Trixie declare her true feelings for Gage.
Now that the world building is more or less complete, we can concentrate on the creatures that populate it. Although I enjoyed Angel’s Ink, I felt this one offered more, and it was hard to put down without finishing just one more page.