Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow
Dante Valentine is a freelance Necromance — clients hire her to communicate with dead people so they can solve murders, settle estate disputes, etc. When the Devil wants to hire Dante to find a rogue demon named Vardimal Santino, and to recover the important object he’s stolen from Hell, he gives her no choice but to obey. Dante doesn’t want to work for the devil, but she does want to keep living. To help with that, the Devil assigns her a bodyguard — the demon Japhrimel. While Dante and Japhrimel are trying to track down Santino, they run into Dante’s ex-boyfriend, Jace, who seems all too willing to help. Eventually they discover that the demons have been doing some genetic experiments with humans and that not only is the future of humanity at stake, but so is the guardianship of Hell. If Vardimal isn’t stopped... um... all Hell will break loose.
I don’t typically read these urba... Read More
Lilith Saintcrow(1976- )
Lilith Saintcrow writes dark paranormal fantasy for adults and she writes YA paranormal under the name Lili St. Crow. Saintcrow was born in New Mexico, bounced around the world as an Air Force brat, and fell in love with writing when she was ten years old. She lives in Vancouver, WA with her children, a houseful of cats, and assorted other strays. Here’s Lilith Saintcrow’s website.
Lilith Saintcrow also writes YA fantasy under the name Lili St.Crow. Find those books here.
Dante Valentine — (2006-2008) Publisher: When the Devil needs a rogue demon killed, who does he call? The Player: Necromance-for-hire Dante Valentine is choosy about her jobs. Hot tempered and with nerves of steel, she can raise the dead like nobody’s business. But one rainy Monday morning, everything goes straight to hell. The Score: The Devil hires Dante to eliminate a rogue demon: Vardimal Santino. In return, he will let her live. It’s an offer she can’t refuse. The Catch: How do you kill something that can’t die?
Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow
Dead Man Rising by Lilith Saintcrow
Dead Man Rising is the second book in Lilith Saintcrow’s DANTE VALENTINE series. Dante, a freelance necromance, has lived through her first assignment for the devil. (She didn’t want to work for him, but the devil can be very persuasive.) Now Dante’s brooding because her demon lover is dead and she’s just had a nasty surprise about her own heritage. When her friend Gabe, the police investigator, calls to tell her that her old school friends are being brutally murdered, Dante, with the help of her ex-boyfriend Jace, sets out to solve the crimes. Thus not only does Dante have to deal with her current grief, but she has to face her horrible past, too.
I didn’t like the first DANTE VALENTINE book, Working for the Devil (reviewed here), but I decided to give Dante another chance since... Read More
Jill Kismet — (2008-2011) Publisher: Not everyone can take on the things that go bump in the night. Not everyone tries. But Jill Kismet is not just anyone. She’s a Hunter, trained by the best — and in over her head. Welcome to the night shift…
Night Shift by Lilith Saintcrow
Lilith Saintcrow is the perfect name for an author of urban fantasy.
Like most of the novels that I’ve read that are classified as urban fantasy, supernatural thriller or paranormal romance, Night Shift has its good and bad qualities. What I like about the book was its darker vibe, the emphasis on action instead of romance or comedy, the intense pacing, Jill Kismet’s noir-esque narrative voice, and Lilith Saintcrow’s piercing prose:
The arkeus took shape, rising like a fume from dry-scorched pavement, trash riffling as the wind of its coalescing touched ragged edges and putrid rotting things.
The hell-thing howled, and my other hand was full of the Glock, the sharp stink of cordite blooming as silver-coated bullets chewed through the thing’s physical shell.
On the flipside, I had three problems with the book:
1... Read More
Hunter’s Prayer by Lilith Saintcrow
“I am not a nice person” — Jill Kismet
Jill Kismet is a Hunter — she keeps her city safe by tracking and destroying the creatures of the Nightside — those things that come out of hell to prey on humans. The cops call on Jill when there’s a crime that seems to involve paranormal beings. Jill takes care of it while the cops cover it up. Jill’s a badass — she can beat up anybody — but she also has some special powers of sorcery and healing which she got by making a bargain with a hellspawn named Perry. Perry keeps Jill alive and in return she gives him two hours of her “time” each month.
In Night Shift, the first book in Lilith Saintcrow’s JILL KISMET series (reviewed by Robert), we met all the main characters, but you don’t really need to read Night Shift t... Read More
Bannon and Clare — (2012- ) Publisher: Emma Bannon, forensic sorceress in the service of the Empire, has a mission: to protect Archibald Clare, a failed, unregistered mentath. His skills of deduction are legendary, and her own sorcery is not inconsiderable. It doesn’t help much that they barely tolerate each other, or that Bannon’s Shield, Mikal, might just be a traitor himself. Or that the conspiracy killing registered mentaths and sorcerers alike will just as likely kill them as seduce them into treachery toward their Queen. In an alternate London where illogical magic has turned the Industrial Revolution on its head, Bannon and Clare now face hostility, treason, cannon fire, black sorcery, and the problem of reliably finding hansom cabs. The game is afoot..
The Red Plague Affair by Lilith Saintcrow
It is never easy to start a series with a sequel, and The Red Plague Affair is the sequel to the first book in Lilith Saintcrow’s BANNON AND CLARE series, The Iron Wyrm Affair, which introduced these characters. (The Damnation Affair is a related novel set in the same world with different characters.) I haven’t read The Iron Wyrm Affair, but The Red Plague Affair was still pretty accessible. Saintcrow takes the steampunk London we love and creates a different, almost mythological spin.
The 19th century city where these stories take place is called Londinium, and it is ruled by Queen Victrix, who is a human but also the Vessel for Brittania. Brittania is the deity or spirit of the land, who rules through a human agent. Emma Bannon is a Prime Sorceress, trained in the college of sorcery, and her arts are those of the Endor... Read More
Steelflower by Lilith Saintcrow
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened Steelflower. The cover art looked like your standard urban fantasy cover: a feisty female with an exotic looking sword, shot from the back. The plot description on the back cover sounded like someone’s novelization of a roleplaying game — elvish sellsword meets crude barbarian and they join up to defeat the evil badguy — but what I found inside was a fun sword and sorcery style romp with interesting main characters and non-stop action.
The thief and assassin known as Steelflower is actually Kaia, a G’mai (elf) who leaves her home country after being shunned by her people for ten years because she lacks Power. The G’mai are bred to possess power, and can only operate it in twinned pairs, a female adai and a male starei. The female works magic, and the starei protects her, both from herself as well as others. ... Read More
Death’s Excellent Vacation by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner (eds)
Even paranormal creatures need to get away from it all sometimes. In Death’s Excellent Vacation, editors Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner present a collection of thirteen stories tied together by the theme of “vacation.”
The “headliners,” as evidenced by whose names are in big type above the title, are Harris, Katie MacAlister, and Jeaniene Frost. Each of these three authors contributes a vignette from one of her popular series: Sookie Stackhouse, Aisling Grey: Guardian, and Night Huntress respectively. These stories will be enjoyable to readers who have been following t... Read More
Watcher — (Began in 2004) Publisher: The Lightbringer: Theodora Morgan knows she’s a little strange. Her talent for healing has set her apart, marked her as different all her life — a life spent moving from town to town when too much notice is taken of her abilities. Unfortunately, her talent for healing has brought her to the attention of the Crusade — and the Dark. The Crusade wants her dead because she’s psychic, the Dark wants to feed on her talent — and then there’s Dante. Tall and grim and armed with black-bladed knives, guns and a sword, he says he’s here to protect her. But what if Theo needs protection from him? The Watcher: Dante is a Watcher, sworn by Circle Lightfall to protect the Lightbringers. His next assignment? Watch over Theo. She doesn’t know she’s a Lightbringer, she doesn’t know she’s surrounded by enemies — and she doesn’t know she’s been marked for death by a bunch of fanatics. Perfect. He can’t protect her if she doesn’t trust him, but how can she possibly trust a man scarred by murder and warfare — a man who smells like the same Darkness Theo has been running from all her life?
Society — (Began in 2005.) Publisher: The black-ops government agency called Sigma broke Justin Delgado, trained his psionic talent, and turned him into a killer named Agent Breaker. Then he escaped, joining an underground resistance movement of psions determined to use their talents to bring Sigma down. Competent, cold, and cruelly efficient, he’s the best operative the Society has, a legend among the psions who fight a shadow war against an enemy that owns the courts, the press, and the police. Feared even by his own teammates, hunted by the government, and too damaged to feel anything but clinical rage, he is utterly alone — until he meets Rowan. When Rowan Price stumbles across his team in an abandoned house, Delgado is assigned to make contact, bring her in, and keep her alive — because Rowan is one of the most powerful psychics the resistance has ever encountered, possessed of a talent that can heal shattered minds and broken bodies, or incite riots and revolution. If the government gets its hands on her, she could very well mean the downfall of the resistance itself. Because nobody, not even Rowan, is quite sure how far her talents extend, or powerful she could eventually become… and twenty-four hours after she meets Delgado, her life is shattered and she’s on the run. If Sigma can’t take her freedom, they’ll settle for her life. She is simply too powerful to be left alone. The Society will welcome her, if she can stay alive long enough to join them. Unfortunately, there’s a traitor buried in the ranks of the resistance, ready to betray everything the Society has worked so hard to achieve. If the Society goes down, Rowan is at risk. And God alone knows what Delgado will do to keep her safe, because Rowan is fast becoming the only thing in the world he cares about.
Romances of Arquitaine — (Began 2011) Publisher: Vianne di Rocancheil has been largely content to play the gawky provincial. As lady in waiting at the Court of Arquitaine, she studies her books, watches for intrigue, and shepherds her foolhardy Princesse safely through the glittering whirl. Court is a sometimes-unpleasant waltz, especially for the unwary, but Vianne treads its measured steps well. Unfortunately, the dance has changed. Treachery is afoot in gilded and velvet halls. A sorcerous conspiracy is unleashed, with blood, death, and warfare close behind. Her Princesse murdered and her own life in jeopardy, Vianne must flee, carrying the fate of her land with her–the Great Seal of Arquitaine, awake after its long sleep. Invasion threatens, civil war looms, and the conspiracy hunts for Vianne di Rocancheil, to kill or to use her against all she holds dear. A life of dances, intrigues, and fashion has not prepared her for this. Nor has it prepared her for Tristan d’Arcenne, Captain of the King’s Guard and player in the most dangerous games conspiracy can devise. Yet to save her country and avenge her Princesse, Vianne will become what she must, say what she should, and do whatever is required. A Queen can do no less.
The Demon’s Librarian — (2009) Paranormal romance. There may be a sequel coming. Publisher: Demons are preying on schoolchildren in her city, so Francesca Barnes does what any red-blooded librarian would do-she does some research and goes hunting. But the books she finds in a secret cache don’t tell her the whole story. Chess has no idea what she’s just stepped into or just how special she is. Orion is Drakul, part demon, and a loyal servant of the Order. He doesn’t expect a motorcycle-riding librarian to be messing around with demonic forces, and he doesn’t expect her to smell so damn good. But Ryan’s got bigger problems. His partner has disappeared, and the forces of Darkness are rising. Now Chess is Ryan’s only hope of finding his partner, and Ryan is Chess’s only hope of survival because the demons now know Chess exists and that she is the heir to a long-lost power that could push back their dark tide. If Ryan can keep her alive long enough, she just might be the key to destroying the demons completely. But Ryan doesn’t know he’s been betrayed by the very Order he serves. And if Chess does, by some miracle survive, he won’t ever be able to touch her again…