Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-350-0
Fantasy Romance, 2009
Marie Treanor can always be counted on to deliver something that is different from the rest, and The Devil and Via is another of such story. This is not typical tale of horny people having sex under paranormal settings, it is actually a gripping paranormal romantic suspense story that is unlike many others of its kind out there. Even the hero’s looks are not typical – he’s bald and he looks genuinely scary and menacing.
When the story opens, we are in Italy and our heroine Via is on the run. She has some unfortunate encounters with a bunch of cultists who planned to use her psychic abilities in the same of Satan, and now she’s running for her life. She happens to get into a cab driven by our mysterious hero, Giancarlo Di Rapoli. He has his own secrets, so even as he offers to help her avoid her pursuers, Via will have to decide whether he’s on her side or not.
The Devil and Via is an interesting story because the story doesn’t try to fit into a recognizable mold. That is not to say that it works completely – the subplot about the cultists mysterious disappear for the entire middle portion of the story that the first few chapters seem like a dream, with this subplot only showing up once again late in the story for some rushed dramatic moments.
But the romance is pretty good. The way the two characters initially decide that they are attracted to each other feels really contrived and forced, but there are some very romantic quiet scenes here as these two get to know each other better. I find myself wishing that the author has ditched the paranormal story line and just have these two being ordinary tourists having a relationship in a romantic setting. Both characters are not typical or recognizable paranormal romance tropes, which makes this story even more an intriguing read.
The Devil and Via would have been a great story to read if the author has incorporated the paranormal aspects of the story a little more smoothly in the story. As it is, this one feels like a dreamy romantic tale sandwiched by chapters from a more action-paced urban fantasy story. The disjointed nature of this story prevents it from being a really good read. Still, this one is interesting because the story doesn’t conform to any recognizable formula, and that’s something to be commended for.