Devil and the Deep by Julie Ann Walker

Devil and the Deep by Julie Ann WalkerDevil and the Deep by Julie Ann Walker
Series: Deep Six #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on July 5th 2016
Pages: 384
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Cocktail parties, political fundraisers, and charity events are Maddy Powers' way of life. But the daring man who appropriated her father's yacht a couple of months ago is still out there, somewhere, and she wants to pay him back for the scorching kiss they shared.
Behind his suave smile and ladykiller eyes, Bran Palladino carries a dark secret that keeps him from pursuing Maddy… even though he can't get her out of his head. But when Maddy is kidnapped as part of a grand scheme, it's time to put up or shut up… because Bran can't live without Maddy now.

The setup for Bran Palladino and Maddy Powers in the previous book unfurls in this book, where we learn that Maddy’s idea of taking three scholarship students to a remote isle near where the Deep Six Crew is working is more than motivated by altruism. It’s a location near Bran, the larger-than-life rescuer of damsels (just Maddy, in her overblown imagination) whom she’d kissed and is now working on maintaining a stream of email communication between them. That hope she carries about them turns to fear, then flares to life when Bran turns up just at a time when mercenaries storm her isolated location and take her and her young charges hostage. Along with him are Alex and Mason, the other pairing whose inadvertent involvement in the action made them larger than life – and a pairing I want to see succeed – and perhaps even more than Bran/Maddy’s constant back and forth while masked men run around them.

I was delighted with Maddy in some places and exasperated in others – the smartmouth just simply kept going in the most inappropriate of times – but I generally did like her spunk and her courage in calling out bull when it was needed. Yet the same goes for Bran whom I thought had too much of his Daddy issues consuming his thoughts and actions that they became an excuse for the millstone on his neck which he used regularly to keep women and relationships away. That Bran seemingly came to his senses so easily and doing that hundred and eighty in a snap at the end after being given a talking to by LT and Alex made for an abrupt, unbelievable conclusion that I found hard to accept.

Gratingly ridiculous in parts and moving in others, ‘Devil and the Deep’ ended up as a mixed-bag of treasures for me. The suspense/action is written with jocular light-heartedness at times, filled unnecessarily with overblown hyperboles and numerous film references – sometimes during a shootout – that I wondered if it could all really be taken seriously.

But what I really missed was the treasure-hunting itself that the first book had set up the series for, the course of which the book veered off here. Instead, we’re embroiled in the Powers family drama involving only two of the veteran SEALS crew, which was disappointing because I did remember liking their special brand of chemistry together. All we got to show for it in this story is a rusted hilt and a mention of future events in the ending chapters, but it wasn’t enough to stave off my dissatisfaction.