Let the Hunt Begin!
Night Shift (Jill Kismet Series Book 1) – by Lilith Saintcrow
Rating: 5 Llamas
First of all let me say that I love this book! In fact I have now read all of the currently available books in this series and even without having read any of the Dante Valentine series (YET) I have become a huge Lilith Saintcrow fan. In my opinion – which is what you expect to get anyway if your reading my blog – she is quite possibly the best Urban Fantasy writer there is (with the exception of Jim Butcher – I was going to say Neil Gaiman who belongs in a class all his own but I think he is more often placed in the Horror genre than Urban Fantasy so we’ll leave him for another time). I hear all of you out there screaming already “but what about…” and my answer to you is that there are many other writers in this genre I absolutely love – Ilona Andrews, Eileen Wilks & Faith Hunter are a few – but there are some author’s in this genre that I have yet to read (this is going to sound like blasphemy to most of you) – and they include Laurel K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison & Patricia Briggs. In my experience there are few authors who can keep the action flowing while still thoroughly developing a character the way Lilith Saintcrow has done in this series. Without further ado on to my review…
Let me introduce you to Jill Kismet, Hunter. Jill is a highly trained, emotionally distant, vengeful, loyal, kick-ass heroine with a bit of an attitude problem. She is mostly just a regular human with specialized training – by mostly I mean she has been to Hell and Back literally and she has a hellbreed mark on her wrist that gives her superhuman strength. Her teacher has recently died leaving her alone to protect the unwitting citizens of Santa Luz from the Nightside. In Jill’s world the supernatural exists right along with the normal world but most people have no idea it is there because we are protected from it by the Hunters. What we do notice our minds convince us was really something mundane – our minds way of protecting itself. The police and the government know about the Nightside. The FBI even has a special division called the Martindale Squad that is mostly Weres and is called in to deal with inter-state Nightside and/or paranormal issues. Hunters work as consultants with the police departments to deal with all the things that go bump in the night and to help out with exorcisms when the professional exorcists are overwhelmed or under staffed.
There are many types of monsters living in the Nightside including Hellbreed: Demons that wear human facades, Traders: Humans who have traded their souls for something from a Hellbreed (Jill did not become a Trader to get the Hellbreed mark) & Sorrows: Worshipers of the Chaldean Elder Gods. There are many other creepy crawlies on the Nightside which you will discover as the story progresses and throughout the series.
Jill is herself a tortured soul (in the human way) with a past she wants to forget and some bad habit she needs to quit. As well as a bit of a low-self esteem issue but it seems like that is part of what drives her to keep fighting. The other part of what keeps her battling the Nightside is her strong sense of justice, which isn’t always obvious but it is always there. The rest of the supporting cast is well developed and endearing. Even the ones we love to hate.
The action is just about non-stop but it never feels overwrought. The action scenes themselves are usually easy to follow and descriptive enough so that you know what is going on while not feeling like they drag on too long. To round it all out there is a love interest. That’s something I find important in this type of writing because without it I don’t think the plot would feel real. Real people are attracted to other people and shared dangerous situation often lead to strong attractions.
Like I said in the beginning this book is absolutely worth reading. That is if you like the Urban Fantasy genre, because if you don’t then it’s probably not the book for you.
Right now this book is being promo’ed at fictionwise.com for $1 – which is how I ended up getting this book in the first place – so click on any of the various links throughout this post and give Jill Kismet, Hunter a try.
***FYI…Fictionwise is an e-book store so the $1 price is only for the downloadable version of the book. You do not need to have a digital e-reader to read it – just a computer and any one of the several desktop e-reader programs that are available for free.