Book Review, Mystery, Science Fiction

The Devil Whispered by Shawn Starkweather

Ex special-forces commander Jacobi Slate is drawn into a downward spiraling vortex of fear and doubt while investigating a brutal murder that’s been committed by an old friend. As evidence mounts that someone else might be pulling strings from the shadows, Jacobi struggles to understand a developing connection to his own past, which is quickly catching up to him.

Near-future cyberpunk collides with gritty detective noir in this fast-paced thriller that shines a light on both the vast shortcomings and the noble heroics of the human condition. To unravel the mystery, Jacobi will pull on every thread while chasing leads from the squalor of the most dangerous streets to the high-tech towers of the wealthy elite on his quest to understand a truth he might not be ready to face. 

I have to admit; I was getting bored throughout this book. Mind you, I am not familiar with Cyberpunk and Noir genres. The issues I have are most likely to do with the genre. As a reader, I am used to medium and fast-paced novels. The chapters are mixed or short to medium length. This novel was slow, and this is because of the super long chapters. I might have liked it better if the author broke the chapters down a bit more to make it feel like I was accomplishing something. Again, the chapter issue could be because of the type of genre. Once I finished the novel, I ended up loving the story.

Jacobi Slate is the main character. As a retired special-forces commander, Slate picks up work as a bounty hunter. He cannot settle down as some in his unit. He feels broken in ways he does not figure out until later in the novel. Pulled into an investigation regarding an old friend, Slate finds out how deep this actually goes. He pulls together a team from his old unit plus new friends to help him. Slate could be flushed a bit more, but as a reader, I could understand this character.

The rest of the character cast in this book was enjoyable. They felt well rounded for their time in the story. Each had a personality one could love and remember. They helped move the story forward and were pulled into the investigation Slate was working. Most of these characters have a past with Slate. This past helps them come together and understand what is happening and how they are involved. Other characters are from his bounty hunter job, and the few are how this investigation directs Slate. These characters come together and interact well.

Not being familiar with Cyberpunk, I knew little about the technical babble. I enjoyed learning and visualizing this world. The setting of this novel was easy to visualize. The location was earth-bound set-in Los Angeles. Visualizing the futuristic technologies was enjoyable, easy to follow and understand. What the author did was nice for the readers. He explained the futuristic technologies without bogging down the story.

I enjoyed this story. At the beginning, I was getting worried because I was getting bored about how slow it felt, but I stuck with it. I would recommend this story to those who like cyberpunk, noir, detective work, and near future stories.

*I received an ARC from the author, and this is my honest opinion.

I give this book a 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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