Published by Montlake Romance on January 24th 2017
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Growing up in a small town isn’t easy, especially when you’re the daughter of a local cult leader. Ten years ago, Eden Collins left Clear Springs, Montana, and never once looked back. But when the bodies of murdered young women surface, their corpses violated and marked with tattoos worn by her mother’s followers, Eden, now an FBI agent, can’t turn a blind eye. To catch the killer, she’s going to have to return to the fold.
Sheriff Zach Owens isn’t comfortable putting Eden in danger, even if she is an elite agent. And he certainly wasn’t expecting to be so attracted to her. As calm and cool as she appears, he knows this can’t be a happy homecoming. Zach wants to protect her—from her mother, the cult, and the evil that lurks behind its locked gates. But Eden is his only key to the tight-lipped group, and she may just be closer to the killer than either one of them suspects…
Unlike Katee Robert’s other books that I’ve had the pleasure of reading, ‘The Devil’s Daughter’ is mystery-driven, set in the suffocating confines of a small-town that sits in the shade of a cult whose influence is larger than perceived. It’s a book that’s very different from what I’ve come to associate with Robert and not knowing what to expect, I find myself firmly caught between giving a 3- and 4-star review. There’s a guess-the perpetrator, whodunnit question throughout and the cult, built around the myth of Persephone and Demeter (combined weirdly with some Christian undertones), its proceedings and its shady people, act as the smokescreen concealing the truth from being discovered.
Not that the writing isn’t good (it is), or that the suspense isn’t sufficient (it is), but that the romance takes such a back seat to the story that it could have actually been superfluous because it felt like an addition only for the sake of bringing 2 leads together, even when their chemistry didn’t seem there at all. The romance could have not existed and the book would have worked; consequently, Eden’s and Zach’s pairing seemed forced, as both seemed rather snippy to each other—but not something I’d really mistake for sexual tension when it felt more like the case wearing on them—so the mild case of attraction that first bloomed into a kiss early on took me by surprise and disbelief, because both hadn’t moved past the ‘unwilling co-worker’ stage yet. The potential romantic interest, in short, barely came across and the later sex scene felt more like an obligatory prerequisite rather than a natural progression.
The ending almost mirrors the grim subject matter: an abrupt, a happy-for-now kind of resolution, like a scene in a crime movie when it end as with the police cruiser driving away while the good guys are left staring at the villain’s dead body on the ground. I think I had a problem with how rushed and incomplete it all felt—even when the big reveal came which wasn’t too hard to guess—even when it ended. If this is the start to a series, then I’m eager to see how it goes and how the arc set up here is going to end. But if it isn’t, then ‘The Devil’s Daughter’ might just be a tad bit disappointing.