Working for the Devil
by Lilith Saintcrow
Review by Steve Sawicki
Warner Books Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 0446616702
Date: 01 March, 2006 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
This book continues the movement toward urban fantasy which relies on a strong female protagonist who couples smarts and magic to survive. Not that she won't swoon when the right male comes along. In this case it's Dante Valentine, Lilith Saintcrow's necromance detective/bounty hunter, who takes center stage. Valentine is a necromance, that is she can communicate with the dead. This has little to do with her current situation however, as in this case she is summoned to hell to meet with the Devil who has had something go missing that he wants Valentine to find. If she can kill the thief that would be okay too. Turns out this demon is someone who Valentine has had past experience with; a situation that haunts her to this day. To help her, Satan provides Valentine with her own personal demon familiar.
To say this is formulaic is to be both descriptive and dismissive. While Valentine certainly fits a specific character type most readily seen in the new supernatural romance lines, the novel takes some chances in terms of plotting that set it enough apart to keep it out of the mass of duplicates. Saintcrow keeps the novel fairly fast paced and there are some interesting scenarios that develop between the characters who all seem to have their own personal issues to deal with. It's an interesting read and Saintcrow manages to avoid most clichés as she works her way to the ending.
While this book is one in a series you do not have to have read the previous books to understand what is going on. It might help you to comprehend the world a bit better but it's definitely not necessary. It will ultimately be interesting to see how long this trend continues and which, if any, of these series endure.