Format: Mass Market Paperback, 380pp
When I finished Working for the Devil I immediately picked up Dead Man Rising, the second book in the Dante Valentine series. It picks up with Dante and Jace almost a year after the events of the previous book.
Dante has thrown herself into tracking down bounties with the death of Japhrimel still haunting her. The mark on her shoulder, Japhrimel’s name branded into her skin, has started to burn again after the long period of cold. Jace, who followed her back to Saint City from Nuevo Rio after she finished the Santino case, is working with her and trying to keep her alive. The real reason he is there remains unspoken between them — his love for her, despite the fact that she is still in love with a dead demon.
With the changes made to her body when Japhrimel changed her, Dante isn’t aging like the people around her. She sees the signs in Jace’s eyes with their crow's feet and dark circles, the few strands of grey running through Gabe’s dark hair, and lines around Eddie’s mouth. Dante wonders if once they are gone, once there is no one to remember how she was before, if she will be dead then, too.
When Gabe, one of Dante’s closest friends and a fellow necromancer, contacts her about a case, Dante can’t refuse. She feels honor-bound to help Gabe out despite the fact that she would rather not pick at old wounds. Psions, people with magical ability, are being brutally murdered and the one clue they have to go on leads to a past that Dante doesn’t want to remember.
Rigger Hall, the place of long buried memory, is somehow connected to the recent deaths. Dante grew up in Rigger Hall, an orphanage and school for those gifted with magical ability, which was run by the sadistic headmaster Mirovitch. That was years ago; Rigger Hall is closed and Mirovitch long dead, but deep down Dante knows the past isn’t going to stay buried.
With Jace refusing to leave her side and Japhrimel’s voice echoing in her head, Dante faces the horrors of her past. The Devil makes another appearance and asks a question that sparks hope in Dante, “Can it be you have not resurrected him?” But Dante knows better than to trust the Devil, the Father of Lies, and pushes his question away to concentrate on the killer roaming Saint City.
There is a lot of depth to these books. They aren’t just straight, mindless fantasy; the characters are dark, broken, and then sewn together with pure determination. Dante’s childhood, which she must face, is practically gruesome although there are other characters who have had it worse.
Dead Man Rising is dark, gritty, urban fantasy at its best. But what made it even better is the fact that it is the continuing tale of a character who is unforgettable. If you read these out of order you would completely miss the building momentum, the small things that add up to create a series that is truly fantastic.