Favorite Lines: “Thou Who hast given me to fight evil, protect me. Keep me from harm. Grant me strength in battle, honor in living, and a quick clean death when my time comes. Cover me with Thy shield, and with my sword may Thy righteousness be brought to earth, to keep Thy children safe. Let me be the defense of the weak and the protector of the innocent, the righter of wrongs and the giver of charity. In Thy name and with Thy blessing, I go forth to cleanse the night.” (p. 145)
Jill Kismet, exorcist/hunter of Santa Luz, hasn’t had a vacation in a long time. Her werecat lover/partner, Saul Dustcircle, wants to introduce her to his people, but with eviscerated prostitutes turning up and a seminary student becoming possessed, Jill has no time for personal matters.
But personal matters are all that an old enemy wants Jill to think about: Prostitutes and her dead mentor, her mentor’s killer, her bargain with hell, and survival. The killer is some kind of stinky, hairy monster, but it’s not the only thing that has plans for Jill.
I have a thing for Lilith Saintcrow‘s books. I adore her flawed heroines. They are full of self-doubt, mouthy and have spines of steel. Jill is the perfect example. She is a former prostitute who rose above the sweaty, controlling men to become her own person. Well, kind of. She is needy in her own way. She needs a man’s love and approval, but not every man.
Jill needs Saul’s humanity. She had been letting herself go wild, and without meaning too reveled in Saul’s attention. He doesn’t boss her, but allows her to be herself while making her want to be a better person for him.
Saul, on the other hand, is his own werecat, but loves Jill. He understands her like no other, even without the pieces she keeps to herself. He doesn’t try to change her and realizes that she can protect herself better than he in most cases. So it goes completely against the grain to know that she derives power from the demon Perry. He doesn’t like it, yet he goes out of his way to make sure that Jill realizes he loves her despite her connection to evil.
Evil wears many colors in this book. You never know who is going to stab you in the throat or rip your eyes out. You don’t know if you should trust Perry, or if you should run screaming the other way. There is no one to ask for help, but that helplessness never completely stops Jill from doing what needs to be done.
One of the questions I had with the book had to do with time frame. When did this book take place versus the introductory book, Night Shift. Early on in the book Saintcrow puts Jill in the classroom teaching rooky cops about the nightside. She says, “These are crime-scene photos from a case you may recognize if you read the papers a year and a half ago…This is a rogue Were attack.” (p. 17) Despite this, at times I felt as if five years had passed since Night Shift took place. I think that’s because we learn that she has been marked by Perry for six years.
That is a very small blip on a great book that managed to surprise me with the story behind the story. (Cryptic enough?) The book picks up pace considerably as it progresses towards the end. I must say that my favorite scene happens in Chapter 25 and includes, a gun, screaming and two men.