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Working for the Devil: A Dante Valentine Novel    by Lilith Saintcrow order for
Working for the Devil
by Lilith Saintcrow
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2006 (2006)

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* * *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

Why would Dante 'Danny' Valentine, a certified Necromance, accept a meeting with the Devil himself? Simple. Because doing otherwise would mean certain death, as would turning down his job offer. It seems Lucifer has a little problem. A renegade demon has in his possession an artifact that has the power to destroy the world as we know it. Lucifer's hazy on the exact details of this object, but he makes it clear that failing to eliminate Vardimal Santino will have certain consequences for Danny. More precisely, her immediate death.

But Lucifer doesn't expect her to hunt down and kill Santino all by herself, so he gives her a little help in the form of Japhrimel, a Lord of Hell. Danny doesn't like working for the Devil, and she's even less enthused with the idea of having a demon familiar, but it seems she has absolutely no choice in the matter. Now, armed with her trusty katana, her necromantic magic and her faith in her patron god Anubis, Danny sets out on the mission of a lifetime. Killing a demon who cannot be killed, however, may prove more challenging than Danny - or even Lucifer - expects.

From the very first page of Working for the Devil, I had chills running up my spine; the kind of enthusiastic reaction that comes with discovering a fabulous new author who's written a book worthy of note. Saintcrow's writing style and underlying themes will be familiar to fans of Laurell K. Hamilton's work. Danny resembles Hamilton's Anita Blake as a no-nonsense, tough-talking heroine who swings her weapon first and asks questions later. Even their jobs raising the dead are extraordinarily similar, yet Saintcrow expertly adds a dash of futuristic cyberpunk and blends it with a noir style that quickly makes this dark urban fantasy stand out from the rest.

In Danny Valentine, Saintcrow has created a likable, endearing and sympathetic character whose desire to be accepted by a society that fears her abilities will strike a chord with readers. Rich prose, a detailed setting filled with wondrous characters, interesting technology and chilling magic will keep you turning the pages long into the night. This first book in Danny Valentine's series is well worth reading, and Lilith Saintcrow is an author to watch.

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