Sin and Shadows

sins_shadows_cover Sylvie Lightner is no ordinary P.I. She specializes in cases involving the unusual, in a world where magic is real—and where death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you.

But when an employee is murdered in front of her, Sylvie has had enough. After years of confounding the dark forces of the Magicus Mundi, she’s closing up shop—until a man claiming to be the God of Justice wants Sylvie to find his lost lover.

And he won’t take no for an answer.

It’s so awesome when you fall in love with a book. I’ve had a great couple of weeks in terms of finding new-to-me-authors who rocked my world. First, I read Diana Pharaoh Francis for the first time when she asked me to blurb her upcoming urban fantasy BITTER NIGHT. That book was freakin’ amazing. Sadly for you folks, you can’t get your hot little hands on it until the autumn.

But I finished one that you can read right now.

I understand that Lyn Benedict is not a debut author. She has written political fantasy as Lane Robins. I haven’t read those. A couple of weeks ago, I placed an order from Amazon; they’ve actually reduced their int’l shipping a bit, so I don’t mind so much, and the books were for the kids. Two books on dogs for the girl; a book on dinosaurs and a book on sea creatures for the boy. I am congenitally unable to place an order from a book vendor without getting something for myself, so I got Ms. Benedict’s SIN AND SHADOWS. I also ordered Victoria Dahl’s historical backlist, after being unable to find them in any bookstore I visited in Florida or California. Those books haven’t arrived yet. The kid books and the Benedict book came in the mail yesterday.

I started reading it late last night. It kept me up until 1am and I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore, but not for lack of interest in the book. Instead of working on proposals or partials today, I finished SIN AND SHADOWS, and holy crap is it good.

You know how some urban fantasy heroines talk about being badass, but it’s mostly a candy-coating of shellac toughness, and they’re really lipstick-applying, pleather-mini-wearing, tramp-stamp-having cocktail waitresses? Not so with Sylvie Lightner. She is totally a lean, mean bitch machine. I found it very refreshing.

The world-building is gorgeous, dark, and detailed. This is a shimmering black diamond of a book. Her supporting characters are intricate and intriguing, well-drawn, richly realized, and an exquisite blend of tough and tender. There are real relationships here with the requisite give and take. Ms. Benedict’s characters live and breathe, though their world is awful, fragile and fraught with peril.

Another point in the book’s favor? There were no vampires. Instead, the lore draws from old gods and Judaic legends: angels, demons, and sorcerers. This is my kind of urban fantasy. Like a strong margarita, it’s salty, bittersweet, and utterly refreshing.

When I love a book this much, you know it means free stuff for you. To get your copy, ask for it in comments. I’m giving away FOUR (4) of these, and I’ll wrap it up whenever I feel like it. That means you need to throw your name in the hat before my capricious nature gets the best of me.

I guess people don’t read comments or read other entries on my blog. As I said in comments: winners have been posted (they’re above this post). You can continue to comment but it won’t win you any books.