Dead Man’s Deal by Jocelynn Drake (The Asylum Tales #2)

Dead Man's Deal by Jocelynn DrakeAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Harper Voyager

My Copy: Edelweiss

Reviewer: Pam

The dark and dangerous follow-up that continues the adventures of a magical tattoo artist begun in Angel’s Ink In a world where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires swim free in a sea of humanity, sometimes you need an edge. Looking for a little love? Need some luck? Desperate for revenge? Gage can give you what you need. The most talented tattoo artist in town, he knows the right symbol and the right mix of ingredients and ink to achieve your heart’s desire. One tattoo is all it takes. But remember, everything has its price. . . .

Gage learned that lesson long ago, in ways he’d rather not remember. But the cruel and powerful wizards in the dreaded Ivory Towers he escaped aren’t about to let him forget. Though Gage has managed to stay out of sight, he can’t outrun the past forever. The wizards know Gage is using forbidden magic, and they intend to punish him for his transgressions. Too bad if innocent humans and monsters-entire cities-get in the way. They will quell a nascent magical uprising and Gage will be the sacrifice they need. First, though, they have to find him . . .

I have fallen in love with The Asylum Tales, an urban fantasy with humor, action and great characters.

Gage is the owner of Asylum, a tattoo parlor in Low Town, a run-down part of the city where you keep your doors locked and rarely venture out at night. The three artists keep strange hours as the inhabitants of the area wander in for tattoos any time of night. Gage is trying to live a normal life even though he has the most powerful beings watching him. He is a strong warlock, who left before his training was complete, much to the dismay of those in the Ivory Tower. He is the only one who has ever left and is still alive, giving up his magic in return for living with humans.

Trixie and Bronx are two of the artist that work with Gage and he has always considered them close and loyal friends and lately he and Trixie have become even closer. They have worked together for several years and up until now, they have kept their pasts relatively secret from each other, however several things are coming to light that brings both Trixie’s and Gage’s past out in the open as they fight for the lives they wish to live.

Reaves is a dark elf who is the leader of the mafia in Low Town, he is blackmailing Gage, making him do the mafia’s dirty work in order to keep his secrets. Gage is getting back at him and is unwilling to sink to the depths that Reaves wants him to, which has earned him some beatings for his rebelliousness. Even Gage’s long lost brother comes searching for him per Reaves’ command and Gage wants nothing more that to break the bond that Reaves seems to have over his friends and now his family.

As Gage is torn between several crisis that seem to come up all at once, prior enemies seem to be ready to help, Gideon, the guardian warlock that has been a thorn in Gage’s side for years, the Were’s that he humiliated a while ago that want to break free of Reaves and the Pixies that Gage helped save, that have always hated warlocks. They all come together as the Ivory Towers wages war on those they feel are beneath them, in order to keep their secrets.

Ms Drake weaves a wonderful urban fantasy tale about powerful beings in control, yet there are pockets of those that live life on their own terms. The characters are engaging and the action is non-stop to the end. I read this book immediately after Angel’s Ink, the first book and was glad as the stories are so interwoven. Angel’s Ink had a clear ending yet several of the stories arcs continue in Dead Man’s Deal, making this one as enjoyable as the first and setting things up nicely for the next book.

Gage is a true hero, someone that wants to do good yet sometimes bad things happen and he must make choices. He seems to be plugging so many holes in the dam that I am not sure he could solve another problem, yet he does his best. I really enjoy the secondary characters, Bronx is funny and I would love to get more of his story, a troll who has a past and is as loyal to Gage and Trixie as they are to him. Trixie is also interesting and we learn much about her background and who she is hiding from. I also really enjoyed how Gideon is being portrayed as he is turning into one of my favorite characters.

The story is fast paced with so much going on, poor Gage is pulled in several directions before we come barreling toward the conclusion to wrap up many of the different challenges he faces. The only problem I have with this series is that there are so many different crisis’ that he must tackle. I think Gage was helping to solve five or more issues at one time, however Ms Drake worked her magic and it all flowed well. I am looking forward to reading the next in this series as I am more intrigued than ever and I know more trouble will be waiting for Gage and the gang.

I give Dead Man’s Deal by Jocelynn Drake 4.25 stars!

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