Title: A Wolf at the Door (Jesse James Dawson #3)
Author: K. A. Stewart
Publisher: Roc (Penguin)
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Acquired Via: Personal Collection
Jesse James Dawson was once an ordinary man until he discovered that demons were real, and fighting them meant putting his own soul on the line. His new case is a beauty: Gretchen Keene, a Hollywood starlet who's become an unwitting catalyst in an all-out demon war. It's not her soul Jesse needs to protect, but the two-hundred-and-seventy-six others she's carting around--all the souls sold to spend just one night with the blonde bombshell. That's a lot of baggage, although it might explain her meteoric rise to fame. And it's all up for grabs by the demon world.
All Jesse has to do is keep her safe until New Years. Sounds easy. But darkness is casting a nasty shadow in the California sun--a new unseen enemy is closing in and leaving Jesse to wonder, how do you fight something you can't see coming?
I really enjoyed reading this book and love the entire series. This book is a bit of a departure for Jesse James Dawson, our intrepid demon-slaying protagonist, as he has to go from his home ground of Missouri for sunny (even in the winter) California. Why is this, you ask?
Because he owed a favor he couldn’t, and wouldn’t, back out from. Jesse’s one of the good guys. Good guys stick to their word, and in Jesse’s case, to his honor code, the Bushido. Because he’s a modern day samurai. A demon-fighting samurai. A champion of those fool enough to sell their souls for earthly gain who find themselves, in the end, not really liking the smell of sulfur all that much. Go figure.
In this book, as a favor to a demon (Axel), Jesse has to be the bodyguard for a Hollywood star. Which is not a good start to any job. Add to the equation that it’s right in the Christmas/New Year season. And the fact that he had a very rough camping trip last book. (It had zombies. Seriously, read these books!). Plus he has to leave his wife and young daughter to go bodyguard a young bombshell of a celebrity. He lives a very interesting life.
This book was just as great as the first two. I like the writing, the story, the characters, the way the plot develops. Everything. I just like Jesse. He’s a cool dude.
The plot thickens in this installment. Jesse’s story gets a hell of a lot more complicated, with what seems to be a civil war in hell, and him kind of caught in the middle. I say “kind of” because it’s not entirely clear what’s going on. The way the book ended didn’t really make things any easier for Jesse, and I’m sure he’d have some very pointed questions for the author should they ever meet in a dark alley. Very pointed. Things may get stabby.
The new characters in this book felt relatable. One of the bodyguards of Gretchen Keene (the famous actress he’s supposed to protect) is called Tai, and he’s awesome. I liked him from the moment he went to pick Jesse from the airport. He’s a really nice guy, and I think we’ll see more of him in the next book. You’ll like him too. The other bodyguard doesn’t play as big a role, but I liked him also.
Gretchen was also a good character. I disliked her at first, being all haughty and in your face diva. But she grows on you as you learn more about her and her situation. It’s not easy making a deal with a demon and sucking the soul out of everyone you sleep with. As things start to get hairy and she realizes Jesse is not a crackpot and starts trusting him, she moves to the okay column in my book.
As for the bad guys. The big enforcer demon thing with whom most of the fight scenes are with, is a good bad guy. Hard to kill, relentless, evil and devious. You know, a complete bastard. I guessed what it was from the get go, but read enough books, and you can guess most of the supernatural creatures that appear in urban fantasy. The ending I did not see coming, which is a good thing (as I enjoy surprises). The human bad guys were total douches. Ugh.
I have liked this series more and more with each book, and I’m looking forward to where the story is going. The way things are set up have me hoping that we get to know more of what’s happening in hell, what Axel’s up to, and how the new events in this book will carry over.
Knowing the author, it’s going to be a tough one for poor Jesse.
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