By Tqwana B.
5 out of 5 stars ★★★★★
I’ve spent years holed up in the deepest, darkest parts of the city, fighting to keep Death and her Poochas from crossing the dead back to the living. My skill with a blade is bested only by my menace, my despair, my anguish – the strongest weapons I yield.
Then I meet Juma Landry and it all goes to hell.
She is beauty and love and sex and light, everything I am not. And she makes me want things I haven’t desired in years. But the monsters of my life, the evil lurking in the dark corners of my soul, those places craven and vile, bind me to a past I cannot shake free. As the most skilled Keeper for The Gate, nothing and no one can prevent me from excelling at a job I never wanted. I do it because it is my legacy, a fate I cannot outrun, but when Juma becomes my next assignment, each of her nine lives to be ended by my hand, I must decide: the legacy I never wanted or the love I don’t deserve.
***I had the privilege to read and review this book nearly 2 years ago, right before Madhuri found an agent and DUTCH was acquired by a house. With a little more polish, this book is still one of my all-time favorites. Just as fabulous and filthy as ever. So, here’s my original review, because it all still applies. And the cover, with Dutch in profile, is even more gorgeous. ***
You can’t get much more on the mark than the author’s own words when describing her book: “nasty dirty sexy.”
Yes. Yes. And yes.
DUTCH is a Romeo and Juliet of the underworld. Dutch Mathew is a Keeper of the Gate, charged with making sure the dead stay dead. But, Death has other ideas, using her Poochas to ‘reclamate’ the dead into their former lives.
Living a life of sex and whisky, Dutch is fine being cold and distant, until he meets confident, sexy, alluring Juma Landry. Suddenly, he wants those things he’s denied himself for so long — her touch especially. Juma, one of Death’s best Poochas and occasional lover, is dealing with her own demons, and craves the touch Dutch isn’t able to give. But, Dutch isn’t just a Keeper of the Gate, his family is the Gate, and more than anything, they love to torture him. Something that will not bode well for Dutch and Juma’s already dysfunctional relationship.
DUTCH is dark and sexy and bloody, filled with so much tension and anticipation. I don’t think I took a full breath for all 320 pages. The no sex that happens b/t Dutch and Juma for the majority of the book is more arousing than their separate and numerous hook ups. But the payoff is worth the wait. Madhuri Pavamani is unapologetically smutty. And you will love it!
The prose reads like verse, with words and sentences that tumble over each other like the emotions of the characters. If you’re going to write in first person, this is how you do it. Forget commas!