Author: Kit Rocha
Publication date: 28th July 2020
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Romance
Series: The Mercenary Librarians #1
Source: Review copy via NetGalley
Description: The United States went belly up 45 years ago when our power grid was wiped out. Too few live in well-protected isolation while the rest of us scrape by on the margins.
The only thing that matters is survival.
By any means. At any cost.
Nina is an information broker with a mission: to bring hope to the darkest corners of Atlanta. She and her team of mercenary librarians use their knowledge to help those in need. But altruism doesn’t pay the bills—raiding vaults and collecting sensitive data is where the real money is.
Knox is a bitter, battle-weary supersoldier who leads the Silver Devils, an elite strike squad that chose to go AWOL rather than slaughter innocents. Before the Devils leave town for good, they need a biochem hacker to stabilize the experimental implants that grant their superhuman abilities.
The problem? Their hacker’s been kidnapped. And the ransom for her return is Nina. Knox has the perfect bait for a perfect trap: a lost Library of Congress server. The data could set Nina and her team up for years…
If they live that long.
My thoughts: I've been a fan of Kit Rocha for several years now, particuarly the two series they have which are set in the same world as Deal with the Devil, so I was really excited to hear about this new book, and new series, and the fact that they were moving to a major publisher. But the switch (they self published the other series') also made me a bit nervous: would aspects that I loved from a Kit Rocha book be toned down or absent, to try accommodating to that big publisher audience? I needn't have worried.
We meet Nina first, as she fights off multiple attackers before retrieving a mysterious package. Amongst the fighting, the authors put in enough casual details of the surroundings that you build up a clear image of the run-down city, and start to get a feel for Nina's personality. Knox has been following her, and when the story shifts to his point of view, you get more details about the city, the corruption running through it from the big corporations that rule the place, and the information that both Nina and Knox have some kind of biological enhancements to their genetics. Nina is super fast, and Knox himself is very strong, as well as having a communication chip of some kind wired into his head to help him keep in touch with his team. All of Nina's crew and Knox's Silver Devils have more to them than meets the eye; there's a bit of a superheroes, x-men quality to things, except all of these characters went through operations and years of training to change their bodies, rather than being born with the abilities.
Knox introduces himself, and offers Nina the job of finding the old server. Nina & co know that it is absolutely a trap of some kind, but decide to go for it anyway, and the two groups set off on a road trip like something out of The Walking Dead or Station Eleven, where you never quite know what kind of little local community you're going to find in the next desiccated town, or round the next bend of the road in the quiet forest. And through it all, both fully aware of the dangers, Knox and Nina start to fall for each other. The tension of knowing about upcoming betrayals and also the hope for a romance between two tired people working out kept me turning pages late into the night. But even knowing that there were big shocks coming for various characters when secrets got exposed, what actually happened did come as a twist to me.
In both the Silver Devils and Nina's little group, there are the found families and their unbreakable bonds that make a key part of any Kit Rocha novel. Other things I was really pleased to find, that I'd been wondering about: the chemistry sizzles between Nina and Knox from their first meeting, and builds to some exciting sexy scenes later on. There's also enough page time for the secondary characters that I'm already looking forward to seeing them get their own books later on in this series, and Kit Rocha has laid the groundwork for another excellent series of a corrupt system gradually being overturned the good guys, and the power of friendship, love and compassion.
I highly recommend Deal With The Devil, and I can't wait for the sequel! Overall, I'm giving this 10/10.
Thank you Tor for the e-review copy.