The Devil’s Backbone… how I got here

It’s after 10 pm here and probably not the best time to be drinking a cup of coffee, but surely somewhere in the world it’s still perfectly appropriate to have a cup, so for right now I will just be somewhere else where the sun is still shining (or not).


Earlier I posted the cover and blurb of the soon to be released “The Devil’s Backbone”, book 5 in the Niki Slobodian series by the author J.L. Murray. There is a good reason to be excited about this series and the new book to be released. This is one of my favourite authors and she writes one of my favourite series, these are also amongst my detox books, essential to my survival.

Niki Slobodian is a unique fictional character, her life is just one shitty thing after another. This woman does nothing the easy way, but the author created an intelligent character, she’s clever and resourceful and damn she can take a lot of crap, but she can be kind and funny enough, she’s sort of balanced. If life dished me a third of what this woman gets in the books I would welcome death with a smile on my lips and a margarita in my hand thanking him for coming and looking forward to the journey.

I will tell you about my love affair with this series, it all started out with a book called Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, the story about Niki Slobodian is that she sees ghosts. She lives in this crazy world world created by the author, so very different and yet so similar to ours, anyway she is labelled an Abnormal by the New Government, her name is put on the Registry, which means that she can’t work or she’ll end up in prison. Obviously with no money she becomes desperate and that’s when the fun begins and you meet some more spectacular characters.

Then pops in a mysterious client offers to get her off the Registry in exchange for taking a job for him, the woman has no money so she does the obvious. How difficult can it be, I mean all she has to do is catch some psychotic demon that escaped from Hell and is leaving murdered bodies all over the place. I wish I could say that that’s that in a nutshell, but the truth is that it is so much more, but I can’t share anymore and risk giving away spoilers for people who haven’t yet read the books.

So ends book one and I now I have another problem, I’m addicted to this series. I do what all desperate bookaholics do, went straight to Amazon looking for book 2… not yet published! Panic sets in, but I stalk the author and discover that book 2 will be available soon.

The Devil is a Gentleman is released and J.L. Murray gives noir a new meaning. (From the blurb) Everyone Niki knows hates Congressman Frank Bradley. He is the father of New Government, after all. He started the Registry, and the world adopted it. Bradley is the man who separated Abnormals and Normals, and made it a crime for Abbies to exist.
So when Bradley shows up at Niki’s door bearing a terrible secret, then promptly disappears, she feels compelled to dig deeper. But the more Niki uncovers, the more danger she is in. A mysterious organization is out for her blood – literally – and her father’s criminal past may not be as self-serving as she thought. There is also the matter of Niki’s inscrutable employer Sam and the secret of his identity. With help from her partner Bobby Gage, Niki finds out just how little she knew about her family, and the truth of who she really is.

Now let me say that Sam’s character is as weird as they come, and I am so enjoying him, then I find myself thinking, “Aahh!!! this author is turning me into a freak!!” (but a very happy freak). And the blurb? don’t trust that blurb, it makes you believe that it’s going to be an easy read, you know just a chapter or two before you go to bed, IT’S ALL LIES!! You stay up the whole night to finish it, a cup of coffee in the morning?? that’s a joke right? You have to dunk your head in the coffee pot, drink it and sniff the beans, and it’s not only because of lack of sleep, it’s because you are still recovering from the damn roller-coaster ride that the author has just put you through.

After months of suffering J.L. Murray finally gives us Before the Devil Know’s You’re Dead. From previous experience I no longer believe her blurbs, so I wait to read the book on a Friday night knowing that I can sleep in the next morning (or go to bed the next morning to be more accurate).

From the blurb: The worlds are out of balance. The Creator is missing. And the war between Heaven and Hell has begun.
Niki Slobodian came back, but there were side effect. She is filled with a strange power no one seems to be able to explain. Not even Sam. She is also plagued with strange visions whenever she touches anyone. This does nothing but complicate the fact that she may be the reason for the war raging in the streets of her own city. A war that could mean the end of humanity.
Niki has always done whatever she had to for the people she loves, but this time is different. With carnage escalating and the people she cares for in danger, Niki and Sam must work together to save what is left of humanity. And with a psychotic archangel trying to assume to post of the Creator, and one slim chance to right the balance, the odds are against them.
Nothing is ever easy for a Slobodian. Not even stopping a war that could unmake the world.

I finish this book and I’m staring blankly at my kindle… I inhale, exhale and keep from screaming not to wake the members of the household. This author is not human, she is a spawn from hell, she didn’t make up these characters!! She knows them! She has met every single one of them on her way to the surface!!!

The Devil Was an Angel is released, and I stare at my kindle reluctant to start reading the book. What the hell is she going to do this time (the author not Niki). I head for the kitchen to grab my coffee, strong and black, I glimpse at the bottle of tequila from the corner of my eye and think about it for a second longer than I should, I head for the coffee, not a good idea to read this book even mildly intoxicated.

Form the blurb: Niki Slobodian knows loss. She knows tragedy. But she has never known this kind of pain. After the war the Archangel Michael waged on her city, Niki is dealing with the loss of her loved ones. And the haunting suspicion that everything was her fault. As well as her new duty to help all the lost souls cross over.
But when Niki’s only living friend, Bobby Gage, comes up missing, she has to take action. She enlists the help of Lucifer and together they learn that Bobby has been tracking Kane, the man who murdered his family, and is now killing again, leaving a trail of mutilated corpses all across the globe. And with the power to disappear unnoticed, it seems an impossible feat to find him and stop him.
But Niki is familiar with the impossible. And she would do anything to help her only living friend. Anything.

Maybe I should have gone for the tequila after all… but she has redeemed herself (again the author not Niki) and I rant and rave my praise for her exceptional writing. And am once again waiting anxiously for the next Niki installment, which is to come soon.

And that people, is the story of my love affair with the Niki Slobodian series. I can only encourage you to grab her books and read them if you haven’t done so yet, but keep the coffee… or the tequila close at hand for emergencies. On the other hand if you have already read them, you probably understand perfectly well what I’m talking about.

J.L. Murray, you are the best.

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