Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sins & Shadows - Lyn Benedict


Sins & Shadows
A Shadows Inquiries Novel
Lyn Benedict
Ace

Urban Fantasy

This is the first in a new urban fantasy series. I mention that up front because the novel begins with Sylvie Lightner deciding to close down her PI office due to the death of a friend on her last case. The way it’s written, it sounds like something that happened in a previous volume. That’s not the case. Once that confusion lifted, I realized that this is exactly what it would be like to be dropped into someone’s life on any given day. Plenty has gone before, and much will likely happen after; life is rarely neatly compartmentalized.

During her previous case, Sylvie lost her friend and assistant to a band of Satanists who used him in a blood ritual. Sylvie, who has no magical abilities, was unable to save her friend, but she stopped the cultists from achieving their goal, and they’ve vowed revenge. Alex, another assistant in the firm, is just as affected by prior events, but she handles things differently and tries to get Sylvie to change her mind. The decision is effectively taken out of Sylvie’s hands when a potential client arrives. He wants Sylvie to find his lover. The twist here is fairly substantial: the client is the newly minted God of Justice.

So, how does a person, even a magic user, even another god, go about hiding someone else from a god? It seems like an impossible puzzle. Sylvie would prefer not to have to deal with gods, but this one, who tells her his name is Kevin, is starting to lose control. When a god moves through the mortal realm, that realm is changed by the contact. Kevin is grief-stricken, frustrated, vengeful, and angry. The bits of power he’s leaving behind could fall into the wrong hands and lead to disaster for everyone.

Sylvie is a bit different from most paranormal PI types. Usually, they’re tough on the outside, but mushy when you get to know them. Sylvie is tough on the outside and even tougher on the inside. There are no easy outs for anyone in the story. Everything happens the hard way. That’s partly due to the entities involved and partly due to the way Sylvie approaches life and her job. Sylvie is harder and darker than the usual paranormal PI, and this story is the better for it.

Rating: 7 ½
May 2009
ISBN# 978-0-441-01711-9 (paperback)

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