WARNING: Spoilers For First 3 Books
"I'm good now. I promise.
...sometimes at night I go to the butcher shop and I buy the biggest roast they have and I bring it home and I cover the room in plastic and I hack the meat to pieces with a kitchen knife, slashing and ripping and chopping and grunting until there's nothing left but scraps. Then I roll up the plastic, meat and blood and all, and I throw it away and everything is clean and calm now.
Because I'm good now.
Welcome back, John Wayne Cleaver. We missed you.
In The Devil's Only Friend, John is working with a special FBI task force hunting demons... while still dealing with his own metaphorical demons. Keeping to his rules, and struggling against his baser urges, he's focused on getting the job done: murder by proxy. But is that enough? And what happens when he goes from being the hunter to the hunted? Can he allow himself to kill?
It was good to be back in John's head. I enjoyed this installment immensely. Although, this one did have a different feel to it than the original trilogy. Somehow it didn't feel as intense, even though it was still quite dark. That could be because in The Devil's Only Friend John was forced to work with a team, and therefore forced to interact with the outside world. While we do get some of John's internal struggles, he wasn't as inside his own head, and the story was focused more on the mystery and suspense. Of course, all of the demon hunting was intertwined with John's homicidal tendencies, but it still felt like something small was missing. For me, John's internal struggles is what made the original three books shine. Still, this was very minor and didn't in any way diminish my enjoyment. Also, John is a little less intense in his demeanor here-- a little more wise crack-y and sarcastic than he was in the original. Our John is growing up.
As to the story, it did start out a bit slow, but I think that had more to do with the fact that I'd read the novella Next of Kin, John Cleaver #3.5 before this one. I saw a reviewer recommend not picking up that novella until after you've read this latest installment, and I have to agree. Next of Kin gives away the first third of the story, thereby taking away some of the suspense. However, the second half of the story picks up considerably and I couldn't put it down.
Another minor criticism has to do with the FBI team members. They felt a little flat, and I didn't feel much of a connection to them. But I loved Brooke and(show spoiler)
I also loved the theme of what it means to be good vs. what it means to be evil. And can people truly change?
I just love these books so much.
The Devil's Only Friend is a great addition to the John Cleaver series. Highly recommended for fans of the first trilogy.
Final Rating: 4 Stars