Saint City Sinners
Published 2007 362 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Saint City has always been Dante Valentine's home. It's where she grew up, it's where her dead are buried, and it's where she learned to hunt.
Now, one call from an old friend will bring her back to investigate a murder too close to home for anyone's comfort. But the one person she trusted has just betrayed her.
Sometimes revenge is best served demon-hot...
Saint City Sinners is Lilith Saintcrow’s fourth Dante Valentine novel following the adventures of Dante, a necromance bounty hunter turned to a demon hybrid by her demon lover Japhrimel. Contracted by Lucifer to hunt down rebel demons escaped from Hell, Dante certainly has her work cut out for her but of late both Dante and this series seem to be faltering slightly.
The series got off to a cracking start with both of the first two novels (Working For The Devil and Dead Man Rising) setting a fast and furious pace as Dante fought her way through a brutal futuristic world, losing friends and lovers along the way. These books are both stand alone stories although they are still part of the overall story arc.
The Devil’s Right Hand saw Dante reunited with a resurrected Japhrimel and accepting another bounty hunting job for the devil but it also saw a change in the tone of the series. Gone was Dante-the-hunter replaced by Dante-the-whiner as she whinged and obsessed about her relationship with Japh. As a reader who has hugely enjoyed this series I was hoping that she would get over it, deal with it, or move on – anything so that I wouldn’t have to read her constant whining about Japh and she could get back to the business in hand of capturing her bounties.
Saint City Sinners is an improvement on The Devil’s Right Hand because although Dante starts out obsessing over her relationship with Japh she soon has other things to occupy her mind when her best friend Gabe, who is in a lot of trouble, calls her back to Saint City. Okay, so Dante’s relationship problems are replaced by her obsessing over her feelings of guilt for letting down Gabe instead, but I’ll take that over unresolved relationship angst any day!
If The Devil’s Right Hand was a book with no clearly defined end then Saint City Sinners is a book with no beginning or end. It starts from exactly where The Devil’s Right Hand left off and it is safe to say that since this book is effectively the second part of a larger story it isn’t a good place for readers new to this series to start. I don’t think it’s a plot spoiler when I tell you that Saint City Sinners ends with “to be continued…” either – think of it as more of a warning that you will need to buy the fifth novel in this series in order to finish the story you started in The Devil’s Right Hand…
Saint City Sinners gets off to a slow start and it isn’t until Dante returns to Saint City that story begins to pick up any pace. Dante agrees to hunt down a killer in Saint City for Gabe and this story then directs the plot. The demon rebellion is still going on in the background but it easy to forget about that as murdered friends, drugs dealers, mob hit men and corrupt cops all come into play.
Dante ends up on the run, by turns hiding and then fighting for her life as she tries to get justice for her friends. This is more like the Dante Valentine that readers fell in love with in the first books and is just about enough to make the reader forget about Dante’s emotional whinging and the overall unfinished, unresolved nature of this novel.
For vampire fans the Nichtvren only have the tiniest role in this story – demons and psi are the stars of this show, firmly shunting vampires and weres to the sidelines. Still there is enough here to keep fantasy fans entertained without them – after all after Lucifer, vampires seem a little superfluous….
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