Dead Man Rising by Lilith Saintcrow

by - 8/18/2006

Hi all!

Sorry for the no blog posts for a looong time. Let's just say Life had its own agenda and I was but a pawn in its busy little hands. I even stopped reading for a while let alone web surf, hence no posts. 'Nuf said.

I'm back and I'm starting to get back into reading. Luckily I made a most fortunate choice to begin reading all over again - Lilith Saintcrow's second installment in the Dante Valentine series, very appropriately titled "Dead Man Rising". (lol, appropriate both because of my comeback as well for the story contained within this book ;-) )

Necromancer for hire, Dante Valentine is still mourning her dead lover, the fallen demon Japhrimel, whom the Devil turned into ashes in front of her bewildered eyes towards the conclusion of the first book in this series, "Working for the Devil". She's still getting adjusted to her new form as a half-demon and prefers to bury her sorrow in working bounties non-stop. Jace, her ex-lover, is by her side through the worst of it, he's even moved in with her. He wants Danny back, but Danny can't bring herself to sleep with him, let alone love him back. Jaf is there with her in her thoughts and feelings too much for her do anything but keep herself aloof from those around her who care for her.

Then Gabe, her best friend, asks her help in solving a series horrific murders where the victims seem to have been torn apart inside out without any trace of the killer being left. Suppressing her sorrow, Danny seeks the connection between the victims and finds it in Rigger Hall, the sadistic educational institution that she herself had been a part of and that'd been the bane of its students' existence until a cataclysmic event shut it down around a decade ago.

In a rare instance, Danny dearly wishes she could be selfish and not the do the right thing, especially when she realizes what awful memories investigating this case has already begun to churn up. And not just for her. The terrifying evil that's been set loose thanks to the aforementioned cataclysmic event shows every sign of consuming Danny as well. Whether she gets help from an unexpected source and how it all ends makes for some delicious spine-tingling suspense.

While Danny's constant mourning does create a mournful atmosphere, it also serves to impress upon the readers the depth of her feelings for her short-lived demon lover. There's even a sort of ghostly love triangle in the making, what with Jace wanting Danny back even as she hears Jaf's voice in her head at the oddest of moments. With rip-roaring action sequences and non-stop suspense, the book leaves the reader feeling like holding a grenade with the pin pulled out - in other words, a humongous explosion waiting to happen. And boy! does it happen, much to the reader’s excitement and bone-deep contentment.

More than the unforgettable story and the unbelievable villain, it's Saintcrow's innate ability to make the readers at home with both the fantasy world she's created (and populated with psions and other magikal beings) as well as establish a bond with her central characters that makes this book and indeed this series a must-read for any and all readers.

In other words, 5 stars for "Dead Man Rising"! Ms. Saintcrow - you ROCK!

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