View our feature on K.A. Stewarts’s A Devil in the Details.
When it comes to demons, always read the find print.
Jesse James Dawson was an ordinary guy (well, an ordinary guy with a black belt in karate) until one day he learned his brother had made a bargain with a demon, Jesse discovered there was only one way to save his brother: put up his own soul as collateral, and fight the demon to the death.
Jesse lived to free his brother-and became part of a loose organization of Champions who put their own souls on the line to help those who get in over their heads with demons. But now experienced Champions are losing battles at a much higher rate than usual. Someone has changed the game. And if Jesse can’t figure out the new rules, his next battle may be his last…
The character of Jesse Dawson sprang to life out of my desire to see an “everyman” in extraordinary situations. He’s your average Joe. He has a house payment, a wife, a beautiful daughter that he spoils. His job is menial at best, and he’ll never be what anyone calls wealthy. Ultimately, his life probably isn’t a lot different than yours.
Until, of course, you throw in the demons. Oh, did I forget to mention those?
In Jesse’s world, there are creatures who, for the right price, can offer you whatever you dream. Granted, they’re not exactly in the fair deal business, and their prices are…extreme. Your soul, for instance. The demons prey on the vain, the greedy, the desperate, and those who have absolutely nowhere else to turn.
To balance out the bad, there are always the forces of good. There are people who, by as many paths as there are champions, have found their way into this dangerous, demonic world. Men and women who put their own souls on the line, just to get yours back.
Jesse is one of them. As part of his own personal code of honor, he can’t turn his back on those who need help, regardless of what danger it puts him in. Following the bushido, the code of the samurai, he is a man in a shades-of-gray world, trying to live by very black-and-white rules. It puts him into conflict with not only demons and their ilk, but also with his wife and his friends as they try to understand what drives him to risk himself over and over again.
Mira, Jesse’s wife, understands the dangers Jesse faces better than most. She is his link to the world of magic, being a practicing witch herself. She knows about the demons, and believes that Jesse’s challenges are necessary. Still, she is the one left behind every time, never knowing if this is the one that will make her a widow.
Jesse’s brother Cole is the reason Jesse got involved in the first place. His soul was the first one Jesse retrieved. Once close, the incident changed the brothers, and it remains to be seen if they’ll mend things between them before that last fateful battle.
And to top it all off, Jesse has his own personal demon. Axel has spent years following Jesse around, trying to tempt him out of his soul. He’s been around so long that they’re almost friends, at least so much as mortal enemies can be. In the beginning it’s very easy for Jesse to say no, but as Jesse’s precious rules start flying out the window, it’s only a matter of time before Axel finds that one thing, that one shiny key to winning Jesse’s soul.
Nothing is easy or simple for Jesse, and as his author I keep waiting for him to turn around and inform me that he is NOT doing that, thank you very much. But he keeps handling everything I throw at him, with varying degrees of grace. Which means I just need to find more things to throw.