The Devil’s Bounty by Sean Black – Book Review [Bane of Kings]

The Devil's Bounty

Milo, aka “Bane of Kings”, reviews the fourth Ryan Lock novel that can work well as a standalone without prior knowledge of the previous three novels – written by Sean Black. The Devil’s Bounty is a thriller novel, published by Transworld Books in the UK.

“A fun, fast paced read that whilst may not be perfect is certainly pretty promising with some entertaining stuff. Accessible to newcomers as well as readers who have read the previous Ryan Lock novels - this helps make The Devil’s Bounty a fairly solid read. ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields


Wealthy playboy CHARLIE MENDEZ is a violent rapist who thinks he’s above the law. When he’s finally convicted for his horrific crimes against women, he flees to Mexico.

But he hasn’t reckoned with former military bodyguard, RYAN LOCK, or his partner, TY JOHNSON.

As they begin to track him down they realise that Mendez has some powerful friends – a murderous drug cartel who enjoy making grisly examples of their enemies.

In a lawless country, Lock must take the law into his own hands . . .

Ah, thriller novels. How I’ve missed you so. With the vast amount of genre fiction and comics I’ve been reading lately it’s often hard to find time to read another genre that I love. Be they the works of Baldacci, Grisham or Patterson the thriller genre is something that I’ll actively enjoy and whilst there may not always be as varied and diverse works as when it comes to Fantasy or Science Fiction you can certainly guarantee two things. The first that it’ll be a fun read – and the second, that you’ll speed through it pretty quickly. They’re the perfect books to go on airport shelves – and The Devil’s Bounty fits both things that I’ve come to expect from thriller novels perfectly. Sean Black delivers a fast paced, action packed thrillride that takes the reader on a non-stop adventure. Literally, you won’t be able to put this down whether this is your first thriller or your hundredth. It’s essential to get the pace factor nailed when you’re writing thrillers – and Black has it spot on here. You won’t be able to put The Devil’s Bounty down.

The Devil's BountyThe main characters in thriller novels are often not known to be heavily changed characters personality wise over the course of successful long running series.  Alex Cross’ James Patterson is one of the biggest examples of this – he still is pretty much the same character in the latest Cross novel that I’ve read,  Merry Christmas Alex Cross, as when he was in the very first novel, Along Came a Spider. Thriller characters rarely change dramatically over a whole series let alone a whole novel – and unfortunately, both Ryan Lock and his partner, Ty Johnson, are both victims of this. They stay the same throughout the entire book. However – I couldn’t help but enjoy reading about their characters regardless – Black gets the interaction between the two just right, and crafts likable and interesting characters despite the lack of any major development in the same way that Patterson does. We just can’t help but feel compelled to root for these two characters.

I’ve been interested in checking out Black’s works ever since I first heard about Lock Down three years ago at Civilian Reader. I’m finally glad that when I eventually got around to reading this novel it didn’t disappoint – and I can certainly see myself going back and reading previous novels at some point. The Devil’s County is engaging and enthralling and if the praise for the previous titles are anything to go by then I’ll certainly enjoy what Black can bring to the table here. It helps that the plot is fairly straightforward – Bounty Hunters who have tried to hunt a man named Charlie Mendez have all turned up dead, and it’s up to Ryan and Ty to bring him down, after they’ve been approached by a surviving victim of Mendez. The book is pretty fast paced all the way through with some action packed,  fast paced stuff.

So if you enjoy thrillers, regardless of whether you have read previous Sean Black novels in the past, The Devil’s Bounty may be just what you need. For me it was a welcome break from genre fiction and it could be right up your street as well. It’s certainly something worth checking out, despite any problems that I may have had with this book.

VERDICT: 3.5/5

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer