cover image Devil’s Cut: Bourbon Kings, Book 3

Devil’s Cut: Bourbon Kings, Book 3

J.R. Ward. Ballantine, $28 (416p) ISBN 978-0-451-47530-5

Ward’s third and final Bourbon Kings novel (after The Angel’s Share) successfully ties every thread of romance-tinged Kentucky drama into several sparkly bows. Edward Bradford Baldwine, eldest of the Bradford family, awaits arraignment in Washington County Jail for the murder of his father, William. He’s losing any hope of pairing up with Sutton Smythe, the love of his life. Chantal Baldwine is plotting to leverage her pregnancy—by William—into a heftier settlement in her divorce from William’s son Jonathan Tulane. And the entire Bradford clan is grieving, less over William’s death than the loss of the millions that he embezzled. If the Bradfords’ delicious dearth of rectitude and familial fealty isn’t enough to tickle a reader’s fancy, the luxurious backdrop of the family compound and the surrounding horse country surely will. Ward does the wealthy dysfunctional family subgenre proud, skillfully portraying the stark contrast between the vapid, soulless characters and the sinful opulence of all the superficiality that money can buy. Agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Aug.)