Comment: This is the third installment of the Devils in Horseback series by Beth Williamson. I thought it was a great title for Z in the Alphabet Soup Challenge, although in terms of content I was very apprehensive because the previous two books were incredible failures in my opinion. I think part of me only kept going because I didn't want to lose the handy title... :D
This is Zeke's story. He's a character that has suffered a tough blow in the previous book when the woman he was falling in love with was killed in front of him. This book starts with him battling being a drunk and accepting the position of sheriff. People are starting to trust him so Zeke has to prove being worthy. He didn't count on Naomi Tucker, a woman new in town that reminds him of the woman he was falling for.
Naomi arrived at the city with nothing and only wants a job and a meal. She starts working at the saloon but makes it clear she won't work at her back. Zeke seems fascinating but there's also a side of him Naomi doesn't know if can be trusted...
Ok, to be honest I have to say that yes, this book is slightly better than the others. It seems more consistent, more interesting and much better planned and executed. Does this make it good? Not really, but if you compare with it something bad, obviously it has to be better.
Although it's easier to follow in terms of plot and it's more approachable in terms of development, I still think the major problems the other books had keep on going in this one.
I think it's incredibly annoying how quick the main characters have sex. This isn't a story sexy enough to be erotica, honestly. So, considering it's an historical and there are society rules that simply didn't occur as easily as they could today, I think it's annoying to see two characters meet and from not wanting to be close to the other because they are attractive and dangerous, romantically speaking, to have sex without any care after a single kiss is a bit too much.
I mean, what kind of message, what relationship can happen from here? Sure the author did it, but for me it didn't sound believable or romantic.
The development of the story is pretty basic. I don't mean to say the author isn't good, of course we can see the efforts done and I did read her before and some other books by her are so amazing... it's a mystery to me how books written by the same person can feel so different, but the truth is, the series in which this story belongs, just isn't good, period.
The plot revolves much around easy happenings concerning the town an a man who owns the hotel that might be shadier than he looks. I'm ok with simple plots. Comparing to the previous book where everything felt exaggerated, this actually read easier. But there's something missing. I don't think the connection between plot and characters runs smoothly, so everything feels kind of boring.
The main characters don't seem intriguing to me. Zeke, in particular showed signs of being weak when it came to drinking. I don't think the book is written as well as it could when it was about that. Drinking is a serious issue and people do lapse, but the whole tone and content of the book made it sound trivial and Zeke not doing things like a hero "should" also made it look worse. I just think it wasn't very emotionally appealing or well presented.
Naomi seemed more interesting yes, but she could have been better developed, her personality could be more polished. I do think it would suit the story better.
All in all, the same bad, uncaring behavior towards sex ruined the story. Such a big deal at those times treated here with redundancy and recklessness...I just don't feel it's the right way to write about it. The plot was minimal, but since most characters didn't show any amazing feature...it's all very bland. This books reads better but still weak. it almost didn't make to a positive note...
I don't think I'll continue.. there are two books left.. maybe one day but not so soon...