A man out of time. A woman out of options. Natchez detective Mike Faricy will do anything to undo his brother-in-law’s murder. A man named Slick offers him a deal he can’t refuse-go back to June 19th, the day before the killing. Mike strikes the Bargain and wakes up on June 19th gazing down the barrel of an antique gun held by Abigail Kingsley, who confirms it is June 19th, but the year is 1865. Now Mike must prevent the murder from over a century in the past, while being taunted by a shape-shifting Slick. The devil may own his soul, but it’s Abigail who stakes a powerful claim on his aching heart. Will her darkest secrets be his ultimate undoing…? “Dirty Harry” meets “Scarlett O’Hara” and there’s Hell to pay…
The Bargain by Deb Stover is a time travel romance. I’m a big time travel fan and that with romance makes it very fun. The time travel doesn’t happen with a time machine or a knock to the head. It happens with the deal made between a demon and a good hearted man.
The character Mike Faricy is an alpha male character, but I felt that for a detective, he wasn’t too bright. I pretty much figured out who he was after well before the middle of the book. He seemed to have a healthy dose of shell shock: one for demon dealing and the other for time traveling. But, when it came to issues beyond that, he seemed to be a few fries short of a happy meal. The only solid explanation of this is his obvious attraction to Abigail Kinsley, but it felt too quick of an attraction.
Abigail Kingsley had a bit more to her than her male counterpart. She was strong, but had a terrible secret that went along with her own vulnerability. However, she never really let this vulnerability take over her. She would do anything for her little boy and being a mom myself, I found this very believable. I do wish she had a bit more gumption, but given her upbringing it made sense.
And now, the best character in the whole book, our demon friend Slick. Slick is a pretty awesome dude for an evil guy. He tricks Mike into a deal, but not really because Mike pretty much decided he would do anything anyways. Slick made Satan an enemy. One must wonder what Slick did to piss the big bad guy off. With various disguises from an old man to a cow to a snake and whatnot, Slick is disturbing in that. I found him the most comical. Though he didn’t inspire fear, he did give me the feels for Mike’s predicament.
Though I did predict some of what happened, I wasn’t expecting the ending as it was. I thought the ending was a bit blah. I don’t know, I was kind of hoping for another time travel moment. I am glad that the two end up together (not really giving anything away with that).
Another thing that got a bit boring was all of the inner issues. There was a ton of inner dialogue with both the herione and hero and not enough action. The balance between the two wasn’t there. It made it difficult to read every word. I didn’t skip any of it, but I can see a person wanting to skim through stuff that they already inferred themselves or the characters said to another character. There needed to be more action, that’s all.
The Bargain wasn’t as good as Maid Marian and the Lawman, but it was a nice quick read and a great break between young adult and apocalyptic books. If you’re looking for a quick romance without too much thought, this is a good book to read.