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on December 18, 2011
I wanted to like Devil's Business. So far, Black London has been a fun ride and one of the titles for me to keep an eye out on and after the Bone Gods, I was looking forward to seeing what would happen next to Jack and Pete, especially after the deal Pete made with Belial. Since the page summary and other reviews sum up the plot premise already, I won't bore you with another recap.

First, the good. The pacing, dialogue, and characters are great. Moving the story out of London and to L.A. didn't hurt the plot and was actually a breath of fresh air and Kittredge provides an enough hooks to keep you entertained, such as mothers killed and babies ripped out of them for dark purposes. Aside from the establishing premises to the book such as what Jack did and Belial's deal, the book stands on it's own well enough for a new reader to jump in without much confusion. The villains were the highlight for me with the appropriate levels of creepiness and charm and Belial continues to be a fun "devil you know" sort of character. Jack's still Jack: flawed, smart-ass and with deep wells of self-doubt but he's definitely matured and learning from some of his previous mistakes while still running into more potential future issues, such as his relationship with the Hag. Pete...well, she's mainly her, pregnant or not thank God, but the book doesn't really leave much room for her development.

The story is told from Jack's POV, which isn't a bad thing, but Pete is absent for large portions and her and Jack don't have much interaction, which is a pity since I feel like their interactions are one of the high points of the series and was one of the things that hooked me back in Street Magic. What's more, it felt like Kittredge was creating drama between them for the sake of drama and needing more Jack angst (since his well of self-doubt and angst clearly wasn't big enough >_>). As noted in P "SPAZ"'s review, at the end of Bone Gods it seemed like Pete was relatively okay when she discovered she was pregnant with Jack's kid and had a willingness to try and work through what may come but skip to DB and you find out they're not really talking and they're angry at each other and on the verge of breaking up again with little given explanation for why the shift. Even their arguments feel a bit of a rehash from previous books. In the end, they didn't seem to need much to patch things up which gives a feeling of "WHY DIDN'T THEY DO THIS EARLIER?", especially since it felt like that conversation should have happened between BG and DB or even in the middle of DB but it feels like Kittredge wanted an excuse to keep them apart so she could save their reconciliation for the end. It wouldn't be a bad thing if it didn't feel stilted and contrived as opposed to a natural progression of the characters and their issues.

If Amazon did .5 reviews I'd give DB a 3.5/5 but I didn't feel like DB quite deserved a rounding up to a 4. I wasn't as drawn into DB as I was the previous ones - which might have to do with the lack of Pete-Jack interaction and the change of setting taking getting used to - but I did enjoy reading it. That said, I hope the next one gets the quality back up and I wouldn't mind hearing about some of the new faces, such as Silver, again.
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on November 5, 2011
By the time we get to Devil's Business, the fourth book in the Black London novels, Pete is a few months pregnant, and the members of the supernatural world are not too happy about having Jack around. He's being hunted... and after getting his butt kicked by a grocery store clerk, Jack's starting to think it might just be a perfect time to pack up and leave London... with Pete, of course.

And Pete has plans to do just that. With no work for their investigative business available to them in London, Pete decides to take a case in L.A. The case is concerning a family that was murdered in a home they were renting. The most disturbing part of the crime is that the pregnant woman's unborn baby is missing. Interestingly, there was a similar case ten years earlier and this detective in L.A. is determined to solve both crimes.

And, of course, Pete and Jack aren't in L.A. very long when the demon Belial makes an appearance to collect his debt from Pete. Turns out there's an "evil older than the black" haunting the City of Angels, and this evil is harvesting the bodies of the unborn to create their own little... I have no idea what they are, but when the one kid shows up in the book things got a little creepy. Like.. real creepy. And when they went after Pete and Jack's unborn baby, and Pete could feel the baby changing inside here... I totally panicked. In fact I found myself silently screaming; "DON'T HARM THE BABY!"

Will Jack and Pete's unborn baby be a vessel for all that is evil, or will they destroy the evil and restore order in the Black? Hmmmm... I guess you'll need to read the book and find out.
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on September 13, 2011
Urban fantasy is such a glutted market, that when I find a really, really good writer working on a really, really good series, it's like mining gold. This is a quicker read than other books in the series, but still horribly inventive; has a needed change of scenery; some earnest (and organic) character development; and sets the tone for future entries in the story. Jack Winter is a great and nasty character invention. I highly encourage fans of A-list urban fantasy authors to check this series out!
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on January 28, 2013
Fourth in the Black London dark, dark urban fantasy series revolving around Pete, an ex-copper, and Jack Winter, the crow mage.

My Take
Whew. Kittredge must have some amazing nightmares to come up with this stuff. And she's an amazing writer. She's certainly taken the subgenre of BLACK magic and turned it on its head. Who knew there would be a good guy practicing on the wrong side of magic?

I love what Kittredge has done with this series. It's an atypical pairing between Jack and Pete with a huge twist on the magic and demon pairings one usually sees. You'll understand the storyline and them better as a couple if you've started with the first book, Street Magic (Black London, #1).

This story is all Jack's perspective, and we get a heart-rending look into his innermost thoughts and worries as well as quite a bit of background about past deals made with demons.

I have a hard time believing that Pete could be so obtuse, that mean, or that unaware.

I do enjoy Jack's sense of humor. I just wish he didn't let loose with it at the most inappropriate times...

" 'Hell is ancient," Don said. "Hell is older than Death...'

'And then the man upstairs said let there be light, booze, and porn?' Jack said."

I do feel confused. Kittredge has Jack falling and failing all over the place and yet hints that he's so very important.

Oh man, this story is just one betrayal after another and another and...

"And his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him."

The Story
Jack is persona non grata in London, so when Pete gets a request for help from a fellow PI in Los Angeles, they're both glad to be outta there.

Only, events in LA make London look positively peaceful.

The Characters
Petunia "Pete" Caldecott is a couple months pregnant, a former copper, and not too happy with Jack. Jack Winter is the crow mage with a lousy sense of self-preservation, tied to the Morrigan, and hounded by Belial . Although, he is off the heroin these days.

Benjamin Mayhew used to be a cop in LA and now has his own investigation business. He needs Pete's help with the Herrera and Case murders. Sal is Ben's auto mechanic with a lot full of spare vintage cars used in the movies. Detective Shavers is Ben's former partner. Sliver is another of Ben's friends. He's also a wraith and owns the bar. Ana, a.k.a., La Flaca, is a death avatar running a magic shop in LA.

Belial is a Named demon of Hell, a general. A worried, nervous demon who demands Jack's help in payment of someone else's debt. The Princes of Hell are Beelzebub, Azrael, and Baal.

Harlan Sanford is a producer in LA of many, many B movies. He's also a collector. Parker and Gator are bodyguards and more interested in mayhem. Anna is a sex magician and Travis and Kim are people she's pulled into her web. Basil Locke is a film star from the 1930s with a fascination for the occult and Nazis. Lucinda Lanchester is a B-movie actress from the 1930s with whom Locke was infatuated.

Abaddon/Abbadon, call me "Don", the Destroyer, is an original denizen of Hell who managed to escape decades ago. Another collector. Little Miss Spree Killer, Levi, and Teddy are, well, cohorts seems the best description.

The Morrigan is a goddess of death three times:"the maiden of death, the bride of war, and the hag of the ashes and dust that came after". Ethan Morningstar of the Order of the Malleus is a mage and not one of Jack's friends.

The Cover
The cover is orange and pink, perfect for conveying the bright lights of Hollywood, and the sparkling of its glamor and Jack's magic. Also perfect for hiding the shadows of a town where darkness flourishes. I do like Pete and Jack's pose, together. There's hope there.

The title is much too accurate, for this story is all about the Devil's Business.
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on July 5, 2013
Another great chapter in the Black London series. Could have been better, (Jack and Pete should be working together by now and Jack could have pulled his head from his arse a lot sooner) but still an excellent read.
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on October 16, 2011
After releasing an old dangerous god, even though he captured him again, people have not been asking for Jack to work any cases or even want him around period. None of the magically inclined will forgive Jack and are hunting him. Jack's wondering where Morrigan, the maiden of death who marked him young, is at as he disobeyed her. Pete is a few months pregnant and now completely silent towards Jack. He figures she is shutting down with him slowly and will leave him soon to raise the kid away from this life style. But Jack is determined to protect Pete and the baby as long as she is around. So with all the threats in London Jack needs to take Pete and leave. Pete decides she is taking a case in Los Angeles, America. And Jack can't let her go alone, even though he doesn't like the sounds of it.

Jack seems to be different in this book ever so slightly. Even though his life style is not one for raising a child in and the dangerous magic all around him is deadly to a baby, he sounds as he wants the baby. I liked this growth in Jack. He's becoming a bigger person, and even though he thinks himself a dead-beat dad he wants to be more. Jack even makes a HUGE change in the end of the book. ;) Thanks to something...special... to him after Bone Gods. I really liked this.

I did feel like I missed a story here somewhere when it came to Pete. I couldn't really place her feelings. I know she's pregnant and that should explain a lot, but well... for me I felt she was more disconnected here and not as much in the story as Jack, our leading man. But the baby is a HUGE focus for both Pete and Jack, and they each want the baby to be safe and raised properly, which is another reason for her distancing.

We get to see Jack, and Pete, outside of their usually comfort zone of London. They are now in America for this story. Los Angeles of all places. Los Angeles has a special feel to it as well, which is an attraction for the magical type, the Black, and demons. I have to say we do make a trip to Hell with Jack as well. I enjoyed this different view this time around.

Oh the demons... Jack finds an alley in someone he never thought he would. And makes a few new enemies. Jack, of course, is not the most likable person, but seems to find trouble no matter where he is. Being the Crow-mage seems to attract them all like a beacon in the night.

Again such a dark urban fantasy read. This book is not full of rainbows, but more of hell and fighting. I feel as this book is taking us through a transition period, with Jack and even the new baby to be. There is more to come and that baby is going to have some serious issues, good and bad. I'm looking forward to seeing what is to come here.
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on September 28, 2011
WARNING! SPOILERS FROM BONES GODS ARE PRESENT!

Devil's Business is the latest in Caitlin Kittredge's Black London series, and this time Pete and Jack head for LA! Jack was told to leave London because of his past misdeeds and Pete is told to leave as well. Perfect timing for an acquaintance to call Pete up asking for her help with a case. Jack is reluctant to go but seeing as he has to leave the country and that's where Pete's headed he follows along.

A pregnant woman was mutilated and killed, with her unborn baby missing as well. It's obviously a demon, but which demon remains to be unseen. And with Pete being pregnant herself, there's this unspoken connection she has with the case. She wants to find the demon who's doing this and stop him once and for all.

But of course, this is more Jack's story. As it seems to be running now, if I remember right, the first book was more with Pete as the third person narrator, but lately it's Jack! And Jack is quite the character. Completely flawed, but yet he still tries to do the right thing. He's used and abused drugs, tangled with dark magics and demons, yet he still has a caring heart. And he too feels like he needs to be a better man since he's the father of Pete's child. He wants to be better than his own father, but he feels like he'll be a failure. So there's definitely a lot of self-growth there for him.

There were quite a few scheming demons in this story as well. It was hard sometimes to figure out who was the lesser evil, since they are demons none of them are good. They all have their own schemes and they all want Jack to be their posse and use him for their sinister purposes. And of course there are threats to Pete which causes him to act. It sort of comes down to wanting to rule the world and bring hell on earth while others don't want that necessarily and want to put an end to the other "worse" demons. Confusing to explain, but reads pretty well.

Jack will do whatever it takes to get himself out of the demon's plans, even if it means working with them temporarily. Especially when Pete's life--and their kid's--is at stake.

Overall it was an okay read. At times my mind did kind of wander, I think it has something to do with the world building. I have a hard time trying to keep track of all its rules and how things just "are". And I'm not 100% sure if this was the last book or not. It had an ending that feels like it can go either way.

Overall rating 3.5/5 stars
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on September 7, 2013
I like Pete and Jack working together. They don't do much of that in this one. I think the author was a bit hampered by Pete's on-going condition.

This is from Jack's POV, and I don't like Jack as much as Pete likes him. So seeing thing from his POV is a bit rough for me. Then add the fact they don't do much together, and the plotline is repetitious. Jack is constantly being kidnapped by someone, over and over, and Pete comes to pick him up. It got pretty old after a while. Plus, Jack gets help from some outside sources with no real good feeling as to why they want to help. They just do.

Just okay.
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on September 16, 2011
Originally reviewed for wickedlilpixie dot com
3.5 stars
Devil's Business is the fourth book in Caitlin Kittredge's Black London series. Jack Winter is enemy number one in London after the events in the previous book. Everyone is gunning for him since he almost let Nergal's dragon loose on London's Black. Ben Mayhew is a P.I. in Los Angeles and has requested Pete (short for Petunia) Caldecott's help with solving some murders he believes are related to the Black. Pete reluctantly lets Jack accompany her to L.A. to investigate, also allowing the both of them to get out of dodge for a while. Turns out there are some new releases from Hell running around, and they are older and way more frightening than the former residents we have previously met.

Devil's Business is told from Jack's point of view, though not in his point of view. The book never lags, the story keeps up a wonderful pace, and it is one dark turn after another. Ms. Kittredge continues to build upon the Black London series where the heroine, Pete, is strong and compassionate, yet has a mouth like a sailor (love herrr). The unlikely hero, Jack, couldn't be any more flawed if he tried. He is a dirty scoundrel but he can charm you right off the page. Jack is completely unredeeming, and yet you cannot help yourself from loving him and wanting him to triumph despite himself. He is a smartass extraordinaire, with a dash of double smartass for good measure, and I love it. It does seem as though he's finally learned a lesson or two from when we first met him in book one, and he really steps up to the plate when help is needed. Finally it's not Pete chasing after him trying to save him. I admit, that was refreshing.

One thing that irked me was at the end of the previous book Bone Gods, it seemed that Pete harbored minimal anger with Jack once she discovered she was with his child, but right off the bat in this book Jack indicates she hasn't been talking to him hardly even though they've still been sharing his flat. I felt as though I missed something between the two books. I suppose it's due to the change in Pete's perspective in Bone Gods to Jack's in Devil's Business. While I let that slide, I felt the ending was also giving us an "everything is fine between Pete and Jack" vibe that felt contrived. Why was she so mad at him at the beginning? I mean aside from him just being Jack? And why was she so okay with him at the end? Eh, this is the first Black London series book where I didn't understand what was going on between them and not because it was part of the story. Also, I didn't love the setting in Los Angeles. London is where Pete and Jack are meant to be.

Not for the faint of heart, Devil's Business continues the Black London style of entertainingly crude language, but appropriately so to capture the gritty tone of the series. Pete seriously calls everyone a tw@t, especially Jack, it makes me giggle. Ms. Kittredge once again delivers with the dark and depraved world building I've come to expect. There was a lot of Belial in this one, and with all the new characters from Hell introduced, I definitely want to see how the overall arc plays out. If you like your urban fantasy raw and brassy, this might be a good pick for you.

Black London is set to be a 6 book series, and here is the reading order:

1. Street Magic
2. Demon Bound
3. Bone Gods
4. Devil's Business
5. Soul Trade ~2012
6. Title TBA
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on February 12, 2012
I have to say that Caitlin Kittredge is my new favorite dark urban fantasy author. I have yet to be turned away or disappointed with the Black London Series. This installment was briliant, I loved that the Pete and Jack are struggling with the Black, their impending parenthood, and the culture shock that is Los Angeles.

The worldbuilding continues to entrall, with each new species of demon, and the political hierarchy of hell. Loved the little details regarding real life historical figures, and/or crimes, and how each related to the Black. Though he is a shifty demon, I am liking the character of Belial, and love his interactions between Pete and Jack.

Without spoiling the ending, I'm hopeful in regards to the on again/off again relationship between Pete and Jack, and cannot wait for the next installment.
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