The Devil's Right Hand
Published 2007 391 pages
Summary (from the Back cover)
Meet Dante Valentine. Necromance. Bounty Hunter. She is short on sleep and not a happy camper.
She’s just signed away seven years of her life – and her partner’s – to hunt down four rogue demons that have escaped from hell. Maybe she’ll find them. Maybe they’ll find her. Nobody said it was easy being the Devil’s right hand.
The Devil’s Right Hand is the third outing for Lilith Saintcrow’s tough necromance heroine Dante Valentine. For those of you not familiar with the series, Dante is a necromance and bounty hunter who makes a deal to work for the Devil in Working For The Devil, the first novel in the series. Dealing with demons is never easy and after gaining (and losing) a demon lover Dante was irrevocably changed in the process. She was changed at a genetic level into a mixture of part-human and part-demon being called a hedaira, which is the name of the human mate of a fallen demon.
In Dead Man Rising, the reader found Dante mourning her lost demon lover and investigating some gruesome (and mysterious) murders, which were connected to her own troubled past. Her demon lover was resurrected and we might have hoped that she would live happily ever after but, no – that was unlikely to happen as the Devil still has unfinished business with her. This leads us to The Devil’s Right Hand.
In The Devil’s Right Hand we find Dante living a quiet life with her demon lover Japhrimel, but even this idyllic interlude is marred by Dante’s inability to trust Japh (and anyone else for that matter.) Once Japh admits to Dante that he has spoken with the Devil and Lucifer wishes to speak with her – Dante’s paranoia escalates to a fever pitch as she realises that Japh has been keeping secrets from her and her imagination runs wild as she thinks everyone is plotting against her.
This was actually my major gripe with the story. I’m sure that being a bounty hunter and having the Devil and assorted other demons trying to kill you would make you a little paranoid (after all it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you) but the way that Dante’s thoughts went around in every decreasing circles was just irritating. And so much of the book was taken up with Dante’s paranoid mental musings that it was hard in places to keep up what her character had actually said and what her character had only thought.
Dante’s paranoid ramblings aside, this is a really enjoyable book. Dante is an intriguing mix of tough strength and hidden vulnerability, always ready with her razor sharp sword and tongue to inflict maximum damage upon her enemies. Although she prefers to work alone this time out she is teamed up with an interesting bunch of supporting characters including Lucas - a mercenary who is also known as The Deathless (think Captain Jack from Dr Who) - and a master Nichtvren (vampire) who hopefully will feature more in the next instalment.
I have to be honest when I say that vampires (or Nichtvren as they are referred to in these stories) have only had the smallest supporting roles in this series so far. Demons are definitely the stars of this show.
The world that Lilith Saintcrow has created for this series is an original blend of the futuristic and the supernatural. Crammed full of every kind of creature you could imagine from psychics, necromancers, demons, nichtvren and werecain to genetically enhanced and surgically altered humans there is plenty here to keep the reader entertained.
The Devil’s Right Hand is a fast, well paced read although it does suffer from “in-betweener syndrome.” Unlike Working For The Devil or Dead Man Rising it doesn’t really work as a stand alone story as there is no defining end to the book. It feels a little like the story was just cut off at a convenient point and will be continued from the start of the next novel (Saint City Sinners) hence the “in-between” feel to the book.
That said, I still highly recommend this book to fantasy fans. An original and unusual alternative reality with a 100% kick-ass heroine, you will want to enter the world of Dante Valentine.
LoveVampires Review Rating: