I didn't care much for Detective DelVecchio when JR Ward introduced him in Lover Unleashed
. In fact, I wondered what the hell his side-story was even doing in that book, since it had little or no relation to anything else in the storyline. Obviously, the plan was drive Black Dagger Brotherhood fans to the Fallen Angel series... and I think the idea was kind of off-putting. I would have read this book anyway, but I hated the idea that Ward stuffed its set-up into LU... a novel that was already fractured with so many storylines, the main characters were barely the focus at all.
That being said, in his own novel, Veck makes for a pretty interesting lead. He is haunted by the legacy of his serial killer father and a darkness that he has always carried within himself. And as our book begins, he is convinced that he is responsible for that attack on another serial killer named Kroner. Reilly is the Internal Affairs officer sent in to investigate. And she becomes his temporary partner while the police try to figure out what really happened to Kroner. Together, they begin to investigate the disappearance of Sissy Barten... the young virgin Devina killed in Covet
. Veck thinks Kroner had something to do with it, since Sissy disappeared around the same time as his other victims.
In the meantime, Jim is determined he will find Sissy's body and somehow get her soul back from Devina. And his single-minded focus is causing a rift with his back-up angels Ad & Eddie. At times, the Jim and Sissy vibe comes across as a borderline romantic possibility... which bothers me. Sissy is 19. Jim is 40. Yes, they're actually both dead, but it's still squicky. And with Veck working Sissy's disappearance (and obviously with him being the soul in need of saving for the book) Jim has twice the motivation to be a part of his life.
I found that I liked the storyline of Veck's internal struggle, though how Devina got her hooks into him via his father wasn't entirely clear to me. As with all Ward books, the sex was rockin' -- though I was disappointed with Reilly for her lack of faith at a pivotal time. The real meat of the book for me, though, centered on Jim, Ad & Eddie. Some pretty powerful developments take place within their dynamic and we can expect the repercussions to continue into future books. We're also tipped off on the identity of the soul in question for the next book. It's a familiar face, but I don't know how I feel about it.
Overall, it was a solid installment in the series... very consistent in tone to the books that came before it. 4 stars.