Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dead Man Rising - Lilith Saintcrow

Dead Man Rising
A Dante Valentine Novel
Lilith Saintcrow
Warner Aspect

Dark/Urban Fantasy

Note: This is a sequel to the excellent novel WORKING FOR THE DEVIL. If you haven’t read the first book, this review contains some serious plot spoilers.

You might say that Dante Valentine’s life is a bit complicated. For instance, she’s not an ordinary bounty hunter; she’s a highly trained psion. Just a year ago, she did a job for Lucifer. During that time, she became lovers with the partner she was forced to work with: Japhrimel, a demon. In order to save her life, Japh turned her into a half-demon, making her very powerful and impervious to nearly everything. His act of kindness/love made him a fallen demon. His death, and the sacrifices he made for her, haunts Danny. In a bid to regain his place in her life, her ex, Jace, a Shaman, moved back in with her.

For the past year, Dante has tried to escape her grief by throwing herself into her work, with some impressive results. When her friend, a police detective, asks for her help on a serial killer case, Dante is more than willing. Especially when she discovers that the victims were all psions. It’s pretty clear that no ordinary killer could get through their protective wards. In addition, all of the victims once attended Rigger Hall. That little fact hits Dante hard. She spent much of her childhood at Rigger Hall, a training school for psion children. It was not a happy experience, and she’s managed to block out most of it. Now it’s obvious that she’s going to have to revisit the place and people that made her childhood a living hell.

Dante Valentine is one of the best new characters to come along in urban fantasy. While she’s tough as nails in a fight, she’s still able to reveal a vulnerable, human side. The murder mystery makes perfect use of her background and skills, and nicely contrasts her current life with her past. While it’s not absolutely necessary to read the first novel in the series before reading this one, I’d recommend it. The first novel gives so much background and history, that it makes this one just that much richer. These books are dark, so readers looking for ‘happily ever after’ may want to look elsewhere. Readers looking for an exceptional, gritty, dark fantasy should pick up this one immediately.

Rating: 9
September 2006
ISBN# 0-446-61671-0 (paperback)


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