Confession first: I’m not crazy about the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either. The first fifty pages of Covet seemed to bear out all the reasons I’d checked out of the BDB. The punctuation idiosyncrasies. The super slow setup. The martyred heroine. And the mean-ass heroes who, like, sometimes so talk like teeny boppers. But you can be damn sure that by the time I closed the book, none of that mattered one bit.
Construction worker Jim Heron has been chosen for a mission – not the first time that’s happened over twenty years of ex-military service, but this time it’s a bit different: He’s the quarterback in the final game between Good and Evil, and for Good to win he has to save seven souls, each representing a deadly sin. First up is Vin DiPietro, a businessman guilty of huge quantities of avarice. Along for the ride and for various reasons are Marie-Terese Boudreau, a single-mother prostitute; Jim’s construction colleagues-on-Harleys, Adrian and Eddie; and a dog named Dog. But Evil also has a player on the field who has prior claims to Vin’s soul, so it’s up to Jim and his new friends to save Vin and vanquish the demon.
It gets a lot more complicated, but rest assured that once things get started the book moves quickly. Vin and Marie-Terese have their share of baggage and I found both sympathetic characters, especially Marie-Terese. She has a complex and frightening past that is well explained, and I liked and respected her, even though she’s a wee bit Mary Magadalene-ish for my taste. Vin also has his demons, but he finds his salvation in Marie-Terese. They’re a good couple, but once they get lovey-dovey they also get a bit boring.
That’s okay though, because the real attraction in Covet is Jim, forty and a little (okay, a lot) rough around the edges. He has suffered in life and done very ugly things. But this fallen angel business is his chance, and he’ll take it with arms wide open. Jim and his team of fallen angels will hold the series together and, luckily for us, they’re fascinating and layered enough to do that. Their future heroines had better be good enough for them and the fact that I am antsy about that after just one book is a huge compliment to the author.)
On the down side, the resolution to one of the subplots is definitely a WTF moment. Things also fall flat after the climax, which is pretty superb. Then there are all the punctuation idiosyncrasies and the quibbles previously mentioned that, while dismissible, are not forgettable. And let’s not forget the obligatory tie-ins to the author’s other series (yeah, plural). To be fair, Ms. Ward doesn’t make a big deal out it, but they were totally unnecessary. Given that this book is set in Caldwell (home to some leather-clad vampires we all know), I rather dread the possibility that she’ll tie it all together in the end with a big red bow.
But until the end comes I can take everything else just to watch three insanely hot angels drink beer together, beat the crap out of each other, and bond over Harleys, because that’s what Covet – and this author – is really about. And I use the word watch deliberately. J. R. Ward makes these men come alive, despite all the other shortcomings, and what is left is a series I cannot wait to continue.