A Wolf at the Door
K.A. Stewart
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Buy *A Wolf at the Door: A Jesse James Dawson Novel* by K.A. Stewart

A Wolf at the Door: A Jesse James Dawson Novel
K.A. Stewart
320 pages
August 2012
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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This is the third novel starring modern-day samurai Jesse James Dawson. If someone has sold their soul to a demon, they can contact Jesse and he will fight to get that person's soul back. But, if he loses, his own soul will be lost, too.

It is the day after Christmas, and Jesse has promised his wife and daughter that he will stay home and play with his child instead of fighting demons. Unfortunately, a few months ago (in the previous book A Shot in the Dark), Jesse made a deal with a familiar demon, whom Jesse calls Axel. In exchange for helping Jesse's brother and friends, Jesse promised a favor to Axel. Now the demon has come to collect. Axel wants Jesse to travel to Los Angeles and protect a famous movie star who who has made her own deal with a demon. Axel doesn't want Jesse to fight the demon, only to protect the woman against others. Gretchen Keene has been collecting other people's souls, and whoever is with her when she dies can collect the souls--so Axel wants her alive. Over the protestations of his family, Jesse flies to Los Angeles.

Jesse has more than a few preconceived notions about what a movie star and her people are going to be like, and he is somewhat correct. There is, however, more to Gretchen than meets the eye. She already has two body guards, neither of whom believe in magic or demons, but they are cordial enough to Jesse.

Stewart's smooth, easy-reading style employs a lot of humor. Jesse is a chatty narrator who tells jokes and self-deprecating lines. There is also a humorous secondary character who runs into Jesse at the worst of times.

Jesse remains the main draw of the series. An engaging, down-to-earth kind of guy, he possesses no magic of his own; but, because his wife, Mira, is a witch, he knows something about it. Mira usually casts protective spells over Jesse and his gear, but now there's a chance that Mira is pregnant so Jesse has to go the other magic user in his town. Cameron, a former priest, has an uneasy relationship with Jesse, but they are both on the side of good so Jesse is willing to trust him this time. Some of the other recurring characters make brief appearances, but most of the cast is new.

While the book is easy to read, it does not hum with much tension or urgency. Other than occasional fight scenes, Jesse just hangs out with Gretchen and her bodyguards.

A Wolf at the Door does not end in a cliffhanger, but Jesse has far more problems than at the outset. We also get to know more about the wider world, about how magic works here, and about the coming great conflict where, most likely, Jesse will play a significant part.

Like the other books in the series, A Wolf at the Door has engaging characters, humor, and action uninterrupted by romance or sex scenes.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Mervi Hamalainen, 2013

Also by K.A. Stewart:

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