Saint City Sinners

To Hell and Back

 
Night Shift
by Lilith Saintcrow
(Orbit, 6.99, R for violence) ISBN 978-0-316-00178-6
****
Are you ready for action, action, and more action?  If you pick up Night Shift, be prepared to hit the ground running, just as Jill Kismet does at the beginning of every evening.

Jill's a teen prostitute-turned night hunter.  A night hunter's job is to keep a reign on the human-endangering creatures of the night in their respective city. Unfortunately for Jill, recently bereft of her mentor and occasional lover Mikhail, her latest case is quite a bit more than she can chew.

Jill deals primarily with hellbreed (read: demons) of various sorts.  She knows what their kills look like and usually can handle them.  So, enter the Weres.  They can usually deal with their rogues quite ably, as well. However, when a hellbreed and a rogue Were get together and start killing, hell literally breaks loose, and handfuls of people at a time are massacred and eaten.

Jill's friend, Harper, a Were and federal agent, has arrived with her mate and a Were-panther tracker, Saul, whose sister was killed by the rogue.  Jill takes on the hellbreed aspect of the case while the other three do their best to capture the rogue so he can be put down.

The mystery is – what are two breeds who generally hate each other doing together at all, let alone covering and killing for one another?  And how many people will die before Jill figures out the strange politics behind an even more bizarre arrangement?

Readers who enjoyed the Dante Valentine series will love Kiss.  She's not as hard as Dante, or as complicated, but that makes the Kismet series easier to read.  Saintcrow has delivered another feisty heroine with commitment issues and an inability to socialize on a normal level.  The secondary characters are clearer in this than in the Dante Valentine series as well, although it is easy to draw parallels.

As mentioned earlier, this book is crammed with action and a goodly amount of gore. Saintcrow is not for the faint of heart.  She's also not for the easily confused or frustrated; she leaps right into her plots without a whole lot of preamble, often leaving the reader floundering for a while.  For some, this will seem a delicate form of suspense, an intriguing way of discovering things as opposed to "just the facts, ma'am."  Others will find it hard to follow and even harder to catch up.

For people who have tried Lilith Saintcrow's books and enjoyed them, it will be the same with Night Shift.  For those who found them difficult or just plain didn't like them, leave Night Shift on the shelf.  Night Shift is as good a place as any to enter into the world of Lilith Saintcrow, so anyone else who has an interest in demons, action, and urban fantasy, Night Shift may be just the thing you're looking for.

--Sarrah Knight


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