A near-perfect marriage is tested by an indecent proposal in Victoria Christopher Murray’s latest, The Deal, the Dance, and the Devil. Evia and Adam Langston have been in love since they were 12, and their devotion and determination have carried them through a teenage pregnancy and out of stifling poverty to a six-figure income and a 4,000-square-foot home. But while their commitment to each other seems unshakeable, money troubles vex them: Adam lost his job 18 months ago and he and Evia haven’t told the kids. As bill collectors descend, Evia’s seductive boss, Shay-Shaunte, makes a shocking offer: five million dollars for a weekend in Adam’s arms. While Evia balks, Adam is desperate to keep up the façade that he is still employed—and when a promising job offer falls through, the pair wonder how much damage 48 hours could really do to their marriage. The answer, it turns out, is a lot. Murray’s characters are extremely likable and the eponymous deal’s psychological effects on Evia are stirring. Shay-Shaunte gives “evil woman” special meaning—especially in the final chapter, which might try some readers’ patience. But while Murray’s fiction is Christian, it’s not saccharine, and this page-turning take on the Faustian theme should satisfy fans and newcomers alike.
May 19, 2011