Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Guest Post: Joanne Renaud Reviews Sympathy For The Devil

I've worked with Christine Pope (aka Joy Sillesen) on Dark Valentine magazine for the past year, and as I've gotten to know her, I've discovered that she is a very talented author. She's written a lot of great stories, but quite possibly my favorite of hers is "Sympathy for the Devil," which has just been published by Pink Petal Books.  I originally wrote this review for the Dark Valentine website, but Joey has kindly allowed me to post this review here as well.

Sympathy for the Devil

By Christine Pope

Reviewed by Joanne Renaud

It’s hard to write glowingly positive reviews without sounding like a nit. I tend to be a very picky reader too-- I have a hard time even finishing half the books I read. As a result, I trust the negative reviews on Amazon before the positive ones. I don’t even trust awards all that much.  However, Christine Pope’s new paranormal romance, Sympathy for the Devil, is one of the best romances I have ever read.

This book has pretty much everything going for it.  The plot is deceptively simple—what if the Devil grew tired of his lot, and made a bargain with God? The deal is that Lucifer can leave Hell if he falls in love with a mortal.  Not just any mortal, though, but one of God’s choosing.

The lucky lady is Christa Simms, a copy editor at a magazine in Los Angeles and she’s more than a match for Lucifer, who is using the name Luke Nicolini and his considerable store of devilish charm to win her heart.

Of course complications ensue, along with a dash of philosophy, theology (including Luke’s discussion of the inaccuracies of the Da Vinci Code) and some very hot sex.

Pope has a clean, smooth, witty style that’s descriptive without being overdone. The dialogue is also natural, and all the characters act like believable twenty-first century people (except for those who aren’t people, of course). “Sympathy” possesses a whole host of well-fleshed out characters. Not only do we have Christa’s best friend, the sexy, freewheeling Nina, and Christa’s ex-boyfriend, nerdy but very Catholic Danny—but we also meet two interfering demons, the ambitious Beelzebub and the hedonistic Asmodeus, doing their best to screw up Luke’s deal with God.  (The two demons, by the way, steal every scene they’re in.)

The fast-paced plot pairs nicely with a romance that’s not afraid to be a slow burn.  All of the action is played out, with great effectiveness, against the Los Angeles skyline. Pope is a native Angeleno, and her loving descriptions of the City of Angels (and a few demons) really captures the complicated nature of the Southland.  It’s great seeing such authentic regional color in a romance, as so many of them are set in generic small towns.

This story is refreshing, delightful, and with some really... pardon the pun, but I can't resist... devilishly sexy scenes. Pope’s writing goes down like a glass of smooth pinot.  What I want to know is—when will there be a sequel? I’d love to find out what happens to Asmodeus, and even what happens to Danny.

So, two thumbs, way up! I highly recommend it.  
Pink Petal Books:

Special Note from The One Hundred Romances Project: In keeping with our dedication to honest reviews, I (Joey) purchased a copy of Sympathy for the Devil and read it for myself. Stay tuned for my own review to be posted shortly, and thanks to Joanne for sharing this story with The Project!

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