by Stacia Kane
Cover Artist: Photo: Woman by Ipatov/Shutterstock; Landscape by Andrew C. Mace/Getty
Review by Steve Sawicki
Del Rey Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345527523
Date: 26 June 2012 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Everything was looking up for Putnam, well, except for her addiction, which she can't shake, and the church which might be getting suspicious about it, and her dealings with a local gang leader, and her boyfriend who she has cheated on with her ex boyfriend, and her confidence which has taken a beating. Okay, so maybe things weren't quite looking up. But they were better than the situation created by large amounts of a tampered drug hitting the streets of the Downside area.
Black magic is involved and users are finding that getting high might just mean giving up their soul. On top of this there's a drug war brewing between Putnam's ex-boyfriend and the gang leader she is connected to. Nothing is simple when drugs are involved and Putnam's life gets even more tricky because she's right in the middle of it all.
This may be the darkest novel in the series, not that they've been all light and fluff to begin with. The plot is complicated by personal entanglements and lot's of back history all driven by economics. The theme of loyalty runs throughout the novel on a number of different levels. And the entire plot is surrounded by life and death, often more death than life.
This is a tough novel, no more so than because Kane's protagonist is a drug addict and they are unreliable reporters right from the beginning. It's also tough to follow a character who is being driven by her addiction. Maybe for a book, maybe for two, but for a series it gets a bit tiring to be following a character who is always looking for her next fix, starting a new hit, or coming down from one. The drug drives the protagonist and the story and it makes the choices for the writer a bit more limited.
I admit that I'm a bit tired of reading about a junkie. Maybe it's because I spent ten years of my life working with addicts, maybe it's just that as a reviewer I see the limitations of the character and setting, and maybe as an optimist I've been waiting for this character to start to get clean. It's an interesting book for sure and the series has potential. I'm just not sure if it's a go with this particular character.