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Review: The Damsel and the Daggerman by Delilah S. Dawson

damsel and the daggermanPublisher: Pocket Star
Where did you get the book: eGalley provided by the publisher through Edelweiss and NetGalley (oops)
Release Date: Out Now

Bad boy knife-thrower Marco Taresque is the hottest and most dangerous performer in the caravan. He keeps to himself until a pesky female journalist arrives, anxious to interview him about his checkered past—his last assistant disappeared under mysterious and bloody circumstances, earning him the nickname “The Deadly Daggerman.”

Unsinkable journalist and adventurer Jacinda Harville doesn’t take no for an answer, and she’s determined to wear down Marco no matter how threatening—or incredibly desirable—he might appear. He agrees to an interview—but only if she’ll let him strap her to a spinning table and throw knives at her body. How can she say no? And how can she resist him when he leans close for a kiss that strikes her more sharply than any blade? It’s the first time she’s let a man get the better of her, and she’s determined it will be the last…

Just when she thinks she can’t take any more of his games, Jacinda receives a note from Marco saying he’s finally ready to tell her the truth about what happened to his missing assistant. She sets out for an address miles away, but what she finds there turns the tables on everything she thought she knew about the tender lover who wears a smile as sharp as his knives.

As secrets are unraveled and passions take hold, Jacinda realizes her hard heart has melted. But will it be too late to save Marco—and herself—from the daggerman’s dangerous past?

*Blurb taken from Goodreads*

Damsel and the Daggerman

Welcome back to Criminy Stain’s traveling carnival! The bludbunny stew is absolutely delicious.

And so is this lovely little story. The Damsel and the Daggerman is a decadent little tidbit to whet the appetite for Wicked After Midnight (due at the end of January) while still telling complete tale of its own.

The thing about Delilah S. Dawson’s world of Sang is that the best and most interesting stories in it are spiced with an edge of danger. That’s what made the initial book Wicked as They Come, so damn appealing; both the reader and the heroine knew that Criminy was the dangerous choice, but he was irresistible. He never hid that he was a predator, he reveled in it.

In Sang, even the rabbits are predators. (I really want to see a bludbunny plushie, just once. I imagine they must be like Bunnicula on steroids)

The Damsel and the Daggerman brings gives readers a dangerous hero very much like Criminy in daggerman Marco Taresque. The dagger-throwing act carries its own kind of menace, but the rumors that swirl in Marco’s wake name him a murderer.

There are bad boys and then there are irredeemably evil men. Marco is an enigma. He can’t be truly evil, because if he were, Criminy’s wife, the future-glancer Tish, would never have let him into the caravan. Tish is never wrong.

Journalist Jacinda Harville has been led to the caravan. She thinks she’s pursuing a story on the legendary Criminy Stain. She’s positive that she will be able to write the lives of the carnivalleros in such fascinating terms that the practically caged city-dwellers will dream of life on the open road.

But she’s been steered to the caravan by a fortune teller, sent to fulfill a prophecy. It’s time for Marco to fulfill the destiny seen for him long ago, and for the journalist to discover his truth.

For Jacinda, it’s time for her to stop running from her grief at the death of her husband. The irony is that she stops running away by joining a traveling carnival.

wicked as they come by delilah s dawsonThe attraction between Jacinda and Marco is instantaneous, and it’s hotter than the fire-eater’s carnival act. But they both fight their combustible chemistry for reasons of their own. They both want to be in control of their affair, and neither wants to let the other one be in control. So the flames get hotter.

And neither of them thinks they are ready for any kind of commitment. Of course, they are both wrong. Tish, and the fortune-teller who set them both on this course, have already foreseen it all.

Dawson’s world of Sang has a sharp and bittersweet taste to it, something like 72% cacao dark chocolate of the paranormal. It’s luscious and dark, and you savor it for a while when you’re done.

For long-time readers of the series, this feels like the first time we’ve seen the consequences of Tish’s decision, all the way back in Wicked As They Come, and it bleeds, just a little. Criminy looms over his caravan like the benevolent predator he is, and the whole story proceeds under his shadow.

This story brings the sense of impending danger back to Sang. It adds a taste of piquancy that was not quite there in some of the previous novellas. They were still terrific, but not quite as “Wicked”. This is just right.

I give The Damsel and the Daggerman a very sharply pointed A-

By Marlene

Marlene is a librarian, ebook advocate, science fiction fan, and RPG fan who lives in Atlanta. She and her husband are owned by three cats, just ask them. She's a geek and a nerd and proud of it. She's also an avid reader of everything, including the back of the cereal box, and has been blogging since April 2011 at Reading Reality and is a reviewer at Library Journal as well as active on Goodreads.

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