In the battle between good and evil, there's no such thing as a fair fight.
When Jayné Heller's uncle Eric died, she inherited a fortune beyond all her expectations and a dangerous mission in a world she never knew existed. Reining in demons and supernatural foes is a formidable task, but thankfully Jayné has vast resources and loyal allies to rely on. She'll need both to tackle a bodyswitching serial killer who's taken up residence in New Orleans, a city rich in voodoo lore and dark magic.
Working alongside Karen Black, a highly confident and enigmatic ex-FBI agent, Jayné races to track down the demon's next intended host. But the closer she gets, the more convinced she becomes that nothing in this beautiful, wounded city is exactly as it seems. When shocking secrets come to light, and jealousy and betrayal turn trusted friends into adversaries, Jayné will soon come face-to-face with an enemy that knows her all too well, and won't rest until it has destroyed everything she loves most....
About the Author
M.L.N. Hanover is an International Horror Guild Award-winning author living in the American southwest.
Read an Excerpt
"Hey," my dead uncle said. "You've got a call."
I rolled over in bed, disoriented. A dream about meeting Leonard Cohen in a perfume factory was still about as immediate as reality. My previous day's clothes were piled in the corner of the tile floor along with the leather backpack I used as a purse. The pack's side pocket was open and glowing. My uncle Eric's voice came again.
"Hey. You've got a call."
I untangled myself from the sheets and stumbled over, promising myself for the thousandth time that I would change the ringtone. The bedroom was still unfamiliar. The cell phone flashed a number I didn't recognize, but there was a name Karen Black associated with it, so she must have been in his contacts list someplace. I accepted the call.
"Unh?" I grunted into the receiver.
"Eric, it's Karen. I've found it!" a woman said. "It's in New Orleans, and I know where it's going next. There's a little girl with Sight, and she says her sister is the next target. I don't know how long I've got. I need you."
It was a lot to take in. I hesitated, and the woman misinterpreted my silence.
"Okay, what's it going to take?" she demanded. "Name your price, Heller."
"Actually," I said. "That's complicated. I'm Jayné. Eric's niece. He's...um...he passed on last year."
It was Karen Black's turn to be silent. I gave her a moment to let it sink in. I skipped the parts about how he'd been murdered by an evil wizard and how several of Eric's old friends, along with a policeman who owed me a favor and a vampire with a grudge against the same wizard, had teamed up to mete out summary roadside justice. I could get back to that later if I needed to.
"Oh," she said.
"Yeah. He left me pretty much everything. Including the cell phone. So...hi. Jayné here. Anything I can do to help out?"
The pause was longer this time. I could guess pretty well at the debate she was going through. I gave her a hand.
"This is about riders, isn't it?" I asked.
"Yes," she said. "So you know about them?"
"Abstract spiritual parasites. Come in from Next Door or the Pleroma or whatever you want to call it," I said as I walked carefully back to the bed. "Take over people's bodies. Have weird-ass magical powers, kind of like the magic humans can do, but way more effective. Yeah, I've got the For Dummies book, at least."
"All right," she said. "Did Eric...did he even mention me?"
"No," I said. "Sorry."
The woman on the other end of the line took a breath as I got back under the covers and pulled the pillow behind my back. I heard Aubrey cough from one of the bedrooms down the hall.
"All right," she said. "My name is Karen Black. I used to be a special agent for the FBI. About ten years ago, I started tracking down what I thought was a fairly standard serial killer. It turned out to be a rider. We caught the horse, a man named Joseph Mfume, but the rider switched bodies."
"So not so easy to track," I said.
"No," she agreed. "My supervisors wanted me to stop. They didn't believe there was anything to it. And...well, X-Files was still popular back then. There were jokes. I was referred for psychiatric counseling and taken off active duty. I resigned and went on with the investigation myself. Eric and I crossed paths a few times over the years, and I was impressed with his efficiency. I've found where the rider is going to strike next, and I need help to stop it. I thought of Eric."
"Okay," I said.
"Can you help me?"
I rubbed my eyes with my free hand until little ghosts of false light danced in my vision.
"Hell if I know," I said. "Let me talk to my guys and call you back."
"I kind of have a staff," I said. "Experts."
I could hear her turning that over too. I wondered how much she'd known about Eric's financial situation. For a man with enough money to buy a small third-world nation, he hadn't flaunted it; I hadn't even known until he left me the whole thing. My guess was Karen hadn't expected Eric to have a staff.
"I don't know how much time I have," she said.
"I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Promise. We're in Athens right now, so it may take me a few days to get to New Orleans."
"I don't mean to be rude, but it's not that long a flight," Karen said, impatience in her tone. "You could drive it in eight hours or so."
It took me a second to process that.
"Not Georgia Athens," I said. "Athens Athens. Cradle of civilization."
"Oh," she said, and then, "Oh fuck. What time is it there?"
I snuggled down under my covers and looked at the bedside clock.
"One in the morning," I said.
"I woke you up," she said. "I am so sorry..."
Amid a flurry of apologies and promises to return calls, Karen and I let each other go. I dropped the phone next to the clock and stared at the ceiling.
The last six months had offered me a wide variety of bedroom ceilings. The first at Eric's house in Denver when I was first thrown into the world of riders and possession and magic. Then the dark wood and vigas of an old ranch outside Santa Fe, then a place in New Haven with honest-to-God mirrors over the bed and red silk sheets, followed by a gray-green retro-seventies number in a rentcontrolled apartment building in Manhattan that was so small I got hotel rooms for the guys. There had been a much more civilized beige with a little unprofessional plaster repair near the corner in a townhouse in London, and now the bare white with deep blue notes that said this Greek villa had been a full-on tourist trap rental before Eric bought it.
The guys had been with me the whole time, apart from a couple weeks when Aubrey had gone back to his former job at the University of Colorado to tie up some loose ends on his research. In the long, complex process of inventorying the property and resources Eric had left behind, we hadn't stayed anyplace more than two months running, and most considerably less. None of it seemed like home to me, and from experience, I knew I could stare at the dim white above me for hours and still not sleep.
With a sigh, I got up, pulled on my robe, and made my way downstairs to the kitchen. A newspaper on the cheap yellow Formica table yelled out headlines in an alphabet I didn't understand. I poured myself a bowl of cereal with little bits of dried fruit and added milk that tasted subtly different from the 2% I'd grown up with.
I heard the door of one of the other bedrooms open and soft footsteps come down the stairs. After so many months together, I could differentiate Aubrey from Ex from Chogyi Jake without looking.
"Why do you think it is," I asked, "that someone can on the one hand be talking you into a fight against evil spirits and semi-demonic serial killers, but then on the other get embarrassed when they figure out they woke you up to do it?"
"I don't know," Aubrey said as he sat down across from me. "Maybe he just didn't want to be rude."
"She didn't want to be rude," I said. "Sexist."
Aubrey smiled and shrugged. Aubrey was beautiful the way a familiar leather jacket is beautiful. He wasn't all muscles and vanity, he didn't spend hours on his wardrobe and hair. His smile looked lived-in, and his body was comfortable and reassuring and solid. He always reminded me of Sunday mornings and tangled sheets.
We'd been lovers once for about a day before I found out that point one he was married and point two I have a real hangup about sleeping with married men. I still had uncomfortably pleasant erotic dreams about him sometimes. I also had divorce paperwork in my backpack, filled out by his wife with her signature and everything. I hadn't told him about that. It was one of those things that was so important and central to my life that putting it off had been very easy. Every time a chance came up to talk about it, I'd been able to find a reason not to.
"What's the issue?" he asked, and I startled a little, my still-exhausted mind interpreting the question as being about the divorce papers. I pulled myself together.
"There's an ex-FBI agent in New Orleans. She's on the trail of a rider that's a serial killer," I said, and yawned. "Are there a lot of those?"
"Depends on who you ask," he said. "There are a lot of serial killers who claim to be demons or victims of demonic possession. You remember the BTK killer? His pastor said right through the end that the voice coming out of the guy wasn't the man he knew. There are some people who think that all serial killers are possessed. Serial arsonists, too. Is that the last of the milk?"
"No, there's another whole bottle in the fridge," I said around my spoon. "So is it true? Are they all riders?"
"Probably not," Aubrey said. "I mean some serial killers blame porn or bad parenting or whatever. And you can be mentally ill without there being a rider in your head. But by the same token, I'd bet that some are."
"You'd buy it? This FBI lady has been tracking down a body-hopping serial killer, she's managed to get one step ahead of it, and needs help. Sounds plausible?"
"We've all seen weirder," Aubrey said as he measured out enough coffee for three of us. Chogyi Jake always opted for tea. "Do you have any reason to think it's not on the level?"
"You mean is it the bad guys setting a trap? I don't have any reason to think so," I said. "Also no reason not to, though. I could get a background check on her, I guess."
"Might be wise."
I didn't hear Ex coming. He just breezed in from the hallway. Even the T-shirt and sweats he slept in were black. His hair was loose, a pale blond flow that softened his features. Usually he wore it back.
"Since we apparently aren't sleeping tonight, what are we talking about?" he asked as he pulled out a chair and sat at the table.
"Serial killers, demonic possession," I said. "Same as always."
"Jayné got us a job," Aubrey said.
I ran down the basics again while I finished eating and Ex and Aubrey started. The coffee smelled good rich and reassuringly heavy so I had a mug myself. I had to give it to Greece, the coffee was great. Ex pulled back his hair into a severe ponytail, tying it with a length of leather cord while I talked. The softness left his face.
"Officially, it's one out of seven," Ex said when I finished. "Or that's what Brother Ignatius said back when I was in seminary. A little under fifteen percent of serial killings are the result of possession."
"Creepy," I said.
Aubrey and Ex looked at each other across the table. I could tell there was some kind of subterranean masculine conversation going on, and it annoyed me that I was being left out.
"What?" I said. "It's creepy. What?"
"How are you feeling, Jayné?" Aubrey asked.
"Tired. It's..." I checked my watch. "Two in the morning."
"Three weeks ago in London, it would have been midnight," Ex said.
"True," I said. "Point being?"
Aubrey held up his hand.
"We've all been busting hump for...well, for months now. We've got six hundred books in the wiki and at least that many artifacts and items, most of which we don't have any kind of provenance for. And we're not a fifth of the way through the list of properties that Eric owned."
I knew all of that, but hearing it said out loud made me want to hang my head.
"I know it's a big project," I said. "But it's necessary. If we don't know what we have to work with..."
"I agree completely," Ex said. "The thing is, someone's come to you with a problem. Sounds like it might be a little hairy. Are you...are we in any condition to take it on? Or do you want to finish the full inventory before we dive back into fieldwork?"
What I wanted was firmly none of the above. I wanted to stop for a while. I wanted to find a lovely alpine village, read trashy romances, play video games, and watch the glaciers melt. And there was nothing to stop me from doing it. I had the money, I had the power.
But this was what Eric did, and he left it to me, and walking away from it meant walking away from him too. I sighed and finished my coffee.
"If this lady's on the level, she needs us. And if we wait until we're totally ready, we'll never do anything," I said. "And I think we could all use a break. So here's the plan. I'll get us tickets to New Orleans, we'll go save the world from abstract evil, and afterward we'll hang out in the French Quarter for a couple of weeks and blow off steam."
"If we've defeated abstract evil, I'm not sure how much of the French Quarter will still be there," Ex said.
"First things first, padre," I said, standing up and heading for the main rooms. In fairness, the padre part wasn't entirely true. Ex had, in fact, quit being a priest long before I met him. Thus the Ex. Padre was what a vampire we both knew had called him, and sometimes the nickname still stuck.
The main room of the villa looked like a dorm room a week before final exams. Books filled cheap metal shelves and covered the tables. Ancient texts with splitting leather bindings, paperbacks from the 1960s with bright colors and psychedelic designs, medical papers, collections of theological essays, books on game theory, chaos theory. Grimoires of all arcane subjects waiting to be examined, categorized, and entered in the wiki that the four of us were building to support our work as magical problem solvers. Our laptop computers were all closed, but plugged in and glowing.
I sat at mine and opened it. It took me about three minutes to dig up an old e-mail from my lawyer listing all the addresses of Eric's properties, and about thirty seconds from there to confirm that I did indeed own a house in New Orleans listed as being in the Lakeview neighborhood, and valued at eight hundred thousand dollars, so it probably had enough bedrooms for all of us. I wondered what it would look like.
I smiled to myself as I got on the travel site and started shopping for the most convenient and comfortable flights back to the States. The truth was, even as tired as I was, the prospect of going somewhere new, opening a new house or storage unit without having the first clue what we'd find gave me a covert thrill. Yes, it all flowed from the death of my beloved uncle, so there was an aspect of the macabre, but it was also a little like a permanent occult Christmas.
Well, except when evil spirits tried to kill me. I had some scars from those that kept me in onepiece bathing suits. But nothing like that had happened for months, and by the time I had four flights booked from Athens International to the Louis Armstrong International Airport, I was feeling more awake and alive than I had in days. Probably the coffee was kicking in too.
It was four in the morning and still a long way from dawn when I called Karen Black.
"Black here," she said instead of hello.
"Hey. It's Jayné Heller here. We talked a few hours ago?"
"Yes," Karen said.
"I've talked to most of the guys, and it looks like we can get there in about two days. So Thursday, middle of the morning, but I'll call you as soon as we're in and settled. That sound okay?"
"That's great," she said. I could hear the smile in her tone, and I smiled back. Always good to save the day. Her next words were more sober. "We should talk about the price."
"We can do that once we get there," I said.
"I can do that," she said, and paused. "I don't mean to.... When I called before, I was a little scattered. I didn't say how sorry I am to hear about Eric. It was rude of me."
"Don't sweat it," I said. "And thanks. I was...I was sorry to lose him. I'm a little thin on family generally speaking, and he was pretty much the good one."
"He was a good man," she said, her voice as soft as flannel. To my surprise, I found myself tearing up a little. We said our good-byes and I killed the connection.
I spent the next hour with the fine folks at Google, reading up on serial killers who had claimed to be demons. I got a little sidetracked on a guy called the Axeman of New Orleans who'd slaughtered a bunch of people almost a century ago. In addition to claiming to be from hell, he said he'd pass by any house where jazz music was playing, which seemed a lot more New Orleans than lamb's blood on the lintel.
Chogyi Jake woke at six, a habit that he maintained in any time zone. His head hadn't been shaved in a few days, and the black halo of stubble was just starting to form around his scalp. He smiled and bowed to me, the movement half joking and half sincere.
"Getting an early start?" he asked, nodding at the dun-colored landscape drawing itself out of darkness outside our windows. The Aegean glowed turquoise and gold in the light of the rising sun.
"More like an early finish," I said. "There's been a change of plans."
Copyright © 2009 by M.L.N. Hanover
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Darker Angels by MLN Hanover Urban Fantasy- Sept 29th, 2009 4 stars Darker Angels is the 2nd in the MLN Hanover's urban fantasy series. This series starts with tension and has some unexpected twists that are sure to keep the pages turning. I do feel it can be read alone. However, new readers will have a better understanding from having read the first book since it will give them insight into the nuances of the full cast of characters. Jayne Heller was a typical college student until her mysterious uncle died. Suddenly Jayne finds herself the keeper of a dangerous heredity legacy. One that includes fighting spiritual parasites and wizards. She must quickly adapt to a dark underworld where she is untried and where the rules of the game can mean certain death. Now that she has finally resumed a sense of normalcy in her `new position' she is contacted by a mysterious FBI agent who pleads for help. She asks Jayne and her cast of buddies to save a young girl from possession in New Orleans. As Jayne and her group try to save the girl new doubts about what she has been taught are called into questions as she tries to steer herself between the murky lines of right and wrong. As she fights against betrayal and an unexpected and deadly foe Jayne has all she can handle. This dark work will delight fans of urban fantasy looking for something new and different. Instead of the usual cast of shifters and vampires MLN Hanover concentrates more on the magical and a seamy world filled with deadly possession, dark magic and consequence. Her novel is not cut and dried and many times I was torn between liking and disliking the characters as fealty shifted and emotions ran high. Jayne continually struggles to decide who are her really her friends and who are her true enemies. For those readers looking for an edgy and dark atmospheric story, they will find a haven in this new series. However, if you are a reader who enjoys lighter books with more clearly defined endings you may feel disappointed. Although this book does have a little romance it is primarily fantasy with plenty of bite and mystery. In short, this is an original series that will be sure to thrill readers of dark fantasy. Reviewed by Steph from the Bookaholics Romance Book Club
Karen Black is at a school where most of the children will probably not graduate, or will end up in loads of trouble, to meet with Daria ~ the bright young girl in fourth grade who's now telling outlandish lies, such as her sister got ate by a snake. Karen seems to think Daria is in trouble... big trouble.Jayne and the guys have been traveling at rushed speed for months to inventory her deceased Uncle's many, many homes and stocks. While in Athens, Jayne receives a call from Karen asking for Eric, Jayne's deceased Uncle, for help. Jayne and the guys decide even though they are exhausted from the pace they have been keeping to go help Karen. So, they head off to New Orleans, to help Karen with her case of ten years in the works... To help save the next expected victim of a voodoo demon...This was a quick easy read for me. I just let myself enjoy the book and go with the flow of the characters. The crew members; Jayne, Aubrey, Ex, and Chogyi Jack. Jayne brought these characters together in the first book Unclean Spirits. They still are new to working closely together with each other and it sounds like they are still trying to find their places in the group. The characters are all so different from each other, yet they compliment each other nicely.Jayne is the main character, and in a way the leader of the group - yet Jayne is new to the whole world of the demon Riders and magic. She still feels out of her league with taking charge of cases or situations and lets her self be lead to thoughts a little bit. But this is believable in the world that is built here. But I like how Jayne is not as weak as she may think she is in this area. And I still have questions on Jayne, such as why she is able to do a few things she does (like being able to cross into the Crossroad of the demon path). There is much more to Jayne than even Jayne knows. I am wondering how her Uncle set her up so well with magic and protections, without her knowing.The first third to half of the book was a little relaxed for me. There was a lot of setting up here; for the plot, characters, and religious beliefs. Then about half way through the book it started to accelerate. I could see what was coming and the clues where set for me to find them, but I still enjoyed letting the story unfold in itself. There where a few moments where I wasn't sure of what was being said in the way of Voodoo, but I enjoyed the voodoo spin on this book. The demon riders that mixed with the believes of the New Orleans Voodoo. This book didn't hit me like a book to drop everything you have and dart out to get it, I still liked the read. It was a quick, relaxing read for me as I got through it in record timing.I had seen that the third book of this series will be released in November. I will eventually pick it up, as I have enjoyed Jayne and the crew. And curious to see where Jayne goes next along with the growth of the characters.
As urban fantasy goes, Jayne has a lot to offer, and I'm liking the development of the charaters in this series.
Second in the Black Sun's daughter series. Not as strong as the first offering but still a good story. Jayné has had some time to adjust herself to the strange world her uncle inhabited, but is still running on adrenaline. Alongside the team she is hired to investigate a potential rider in New Orleans. The plot is slightly transparent, and, for me, there wasn't enough plot building on why the series is called the Black Sun's Daughter. There were a few vague hints, but why subtitle a series when it still hasn't come into play?
I picked this book up the moment I saw it. Having greatly enjoyed the first in the series, it was a no brainer for me to dive into part two.I recall really enjoying the various characters surrounding Jayne in the first tale. This one has more of a focus on Jayne, and less on any of the other characters. I still want to know more about Chogyi and Ex. And I'm still very curious about these lawyers at Jayne's disposal. This was not to be in Darker Angels. Although I didn't enjoy this as much as the first one, Unclean Spirits, it's still an alright follow up. Something felt like the characterization, settings, and actual events weren't as sharply depicted as they were in the first tale. The thing is, this might have been done so on purpose. The stories are told in first person from Jayne POV. And there are definite mind games going on through the first 2/3 of the story. I would say the very beginning of the book, and the last 1/3 are very close to the first books pace. The tale here revolves around a serial killer/rider that has been tracked to the Big Easy by an ex-fbi agent. This agent, Karen, was apparently an old friend of Uncle Heller. The gang (Jayne, Aubrey, Ex, and Chogyi) all head to New Orleans without much of an idea of what to expect. The descriptions of New Orleans are pretty decent. This is taking place after Katrina, and the signs of it's devestation are detailed through out this story. The story is also steeped in voodoo. This leads to some interesting situations.All in all, I believe this would have been better to read immediately after finishing the first one. I still enjoyed it, and finished it in one week. But the first one, I completed in a marathon one day reading.
I do like this series. I'll keep following it as Hanover keeps putting it out. This one is set in New Orleans present day. For the Hoodoo/Voodoo fans out there, it's a good one. I can't say how much I've grown to love Ex. I just, simply, so do. Sigh
If it's even possible, this book is even more action-packed than the first. Jayne is collecting herself, she is sorting through her new inheritance and trying to decide what to do about her late uncle's problem. It isn't long before she's hit with a new problem, there is a serial killer in voodoo land. Jayne and several secondary characters who she is slowly beginning to consider as friends go after the serial killer. Karen is portrayed as a foil for Jayne. Karen is far more confident and classy at the moment, Jayne is more a child next to her. The characters are slowly developing though, a quality the reader will appreciate. Jayne is about to be hit by another whammy, learning more about her past. This book is just as intriguing as the first, with an added mystery thrown into the mix.
I love this book. The second had everything in it that the first did, only it had room to expand. Jayne is by no means an expert. She is still bumbling away through many situations and learning as she goes. If anything, this book has taught her once again how little she does know. I love that they¿ve changed the setting to New Orleans. There is so much there to explore between the rich culture of voodoo and the fact that they are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. It adds a lot of depth, texture and realism to the story. And I love that Ex, Aubrey, and Chogyi Jake are all still at her side. I think it lends needed continuity to the stories. Now I¿ll tell you the part that bugged me. This is book 2 of the series. This series is called The Black Sun¿s Daughter. And so far at the end of book 2, we have had very little mention of where this comes from or what it means. They did refer to black suns being a type of rider in the first book, and also to the fact that Jayne needs to figure out who she is in book 2, but they have yet to connect the two or explain. I don¿t know how long the series is going to be, but I do know there are four books out at present. I just think it¿s kind of a long time to wait without any explanation at all. At least give me a little bit of a teaser¿ I think this book would be easier to understand if you read book 1 first. You could probably pick up from where book 1 left off, but I think there¿s a lot of background in the first book that you would miss out on. All in all, I love these books and will continue to devour them as quickly as I can get my hands on them, and I can¿t wait to see where Jayne and her team/friends end up next. =D
This is the second book in the series and I will say that I enjoyed it more than the first one. Jayne has been traveling all over the world with her 'crew' cataloging and exploring all the properties she inherited from her Uncle. Upon receiving a call from a ex-FBI agent and someone who once worked with her Uncle, she heads to New Orleans to help with a 'Rider'. To prevent chance of spilling any spoilers, I won't speak about the details any further. I will say that the book was very good, and does talk alot about New Orleans atmosphere and lifestyle post-Katrina. I still feel like Jayne needs to get a backbone and stop feeling so inadequate, but then I have to remember what I was like at 23 years old and put myself in situation. I look forward to reading the third book, Vicious Grace.
I don¿t read urban fantasy ¿ or so I thought. I tried a novel or two when the bookshelves started to fill up with covers depicting women scantily clad in black leather, all with tattoos on their lower backs and weapons of one sort or another in their hands, but they seemed rather generic and ¿ at least the ones I read ¿ not all that well-written.Then I heard about that M.L.N. Hanover was actually Daniel Abraham, the author of the Long Price Quartet. So far I¿ve only read the first in that series, A Shadow in Summer, but I admired it greatly, and am looking forward to reading the next three straight in a row when time allows. So much did I like Abraham¿s work that I was willing to take another chance on urban fantasy and try out the two novels in the series titled The Black Sun¿s Daughter, written by Abraham¿s alter ego.I¿m glad I did. The two novels published in the series to date, Unclean Spirits and Darker Angels, are a kick to read, just pure adrenaline-fueled fun. I haven¿t had this much pure entertainment since I rode the Screaming Eagle at Six Flags in Gurney, Illinois a million years ago. I wish there were more books in this series available right now, because I¿d swallow them whole right this minute.Unclean Spirits starts when Eric Heller dies and leaves his entire estate to his niece, Jayné Heller (her first name is pronounced zha-nay, but it¿s frequently mispronounced as plain old Jane). Jayné is just a few days shy of her twenty-third birthday when she learns that she has suddenly become wealthy ¿ the kind of wealthy that not only doesn¿t have to worry about where the next meal is coming from, but doesn¿t even have to worry about keeping a roof over her head, because she can always pay cash for a house if she needs one. She meets her uncle¿s lawyers and his assistant, Aubrey, all of whom seem normal. Although she¿s pretty dazed at her sudden good fortune ¿ especially given that she¿s just dropped out of college, has been disowned by her immediate family, and hadn¿t figured out what to do with herself when this news came out of the blue ¿ everything seems as normal as it can seem when you¿ve essentially won the lottery but lost the only relative you cared about.That is, it seems normal until Jayné goes to her uncle¿s apartment in Denver and finds a corpse in the bedroom. Things quickly get worse when the corpse opens its eyes and speaks to her. But everything¿s okay; Midian is simply very, very old. In fact, he was born the year they stormed the Bastille, he explains. And oh, by the way, it was a bunch of evil wizards who killed her uncle. Jayné is dubious until four figures break into the apartment and try to kill her, and she is able to fight with a great deal more ability than she ever imagined. Between the two of them, Midian and Jayné kill the four strangers ¿ and Jayné is now deeply into something about which she knows nothing.Unclean Spirits tells the tale of how Jayné begins to learn who her uncle was and what magic is, and a very little bit about who she is herself. She does this while attempting to destroy the magician who killed her uncle, working with his allies. There are a number of disasters along the way, including the near death of a young man Jayné finds herself beginning to love. Relationships with others begin for the sake of convenience and turn into strong bonds of friendship and sometimes enmity. As the book ends, Jayné is still alive and has accomplished what she set out to do, but she is still almost completely ignorant about her inheritance ¿ both in terms of what material things are out there, and in terms of what she has gained by learning of the magical world she lives in. Jayné is strong, sexy and smart, but she isn¿t too much of any of these; she is far more real and vulnerable than your average heroine.Darker Angels opens six months later. During the interim, Jayné has had her staff ¿ her uncle¿s former assistant and two men who had helped him out from time to time, one an ex-priest kn
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales Quick & Dirty: A griping story with hard-core action and suspense to keep you entertained. Opening Sentence: ¿How long has this been going on?¿ The Review: Darker Angels is the second installment in M.L.N. Hanover¿s, The Black Sun¿s Daughter series. I was a bit apprehensive when I began reading Darker Angels, because I was unsure what to expect. The first book, Unclean Spirits had me frustrated during the slow beginning but eventually redeemed itself in the end. I was hoping that Darker Angels would carry over the feeling and intrigue that I felt in the second half of Unclean Spirits. Darker Angels has the same set of characters with the exception of Midian, whom I loved and missed in this installment. Jayne, Aubrey, Chogyi Jake and Ex have been traveling the world to catalog all of Eric¿s proprieties and the magical resources they find. Jayne receives a call from former FBI agent, Karen Black, and the team all race across the world to New Orleans to help her out. We get a little more background information on some of the individual characters throughout the book and I began to feel more invested in them individually as opposed to the detachment that I felt in the first book. Jayne still struggles with the direction her life has taken and she especially struggles with leadership and trusting her instincts after she meets Karen Black. The relationship between Jayne and Aubrey is still hard to see and understand, while at the same time I can plainly see that Ex has feelings for her and personally I think that match would work out better than the thing with Aubrey. Jayne and the team itself have some obstacles to overcome on the journey to solving the problem they are faced with in New Orleans. I absolutely loved the setting of New Orleans as the backdrop. Hanover used vivid descriptions of the city that really helped to pull me into the book. He uses the physical and emotional damage that Hurricane Katrina caused as a major component to the plotline. The connection of the riders to the city and particularly Voodoo is interesting and helps create a believable back-story. I once again had a hard time staying interested in the beginning half of the book. There was action from the start but I think it was the setting up of the plot and reasoning behind everything that slowed down the pace for me. Once I got past that, I was hooked. There was more hard core fighting that was better described and detailed therefore making it easier to follow along with instead of the lost feeling I had at the end of some fights in Unclean Spirits. Darker Angels has several plot twists that I never saw coming and kept me guessing until the end. There was also a lot more detail and explanation on the ¿bad guys¿ and it was introduced that not all riders have to be wholly evil and that some serve a different purpose. I was much more impressed with Darker Angels than I was with Unclean Spirits. The details of the world were expressed in a clearer manner and the characters were more developed and this helped with the overall flow and understanding. I am glad that I have the third book Vicious Grace sitting on the shelf waiting on me and I have high hopes that Hanover can maintain the momentum gained in Darker Angels. Notable Scene: Amelie came forward, leaning on her cane. Her drooping face was ashen and sour. The air around her seemed to crackle with power that her body alone couldn¿t begin to justify. Her eyes shifted from me to Aubrey, from Aubrey to Chogyi Jake, from Chogyi Jake back to me with the intensity of a predator sizing up prey. I felt the subtle shift in my body that I¿d come to associate with the onset of violence. When Amelie spoke, her voice was Legba¿s; deeper than a human throat could fashion, rich with threat and power. ¿What the hell you think you doing in my city?¿ I wanted to swing forward, to fight my way free, pulling Aubrey and Chogyi Jake along with me. My body almost vibrated with the need
I really like this series. It's not the same vampire, werewolf, zombie urban fantasy. Hanover uses a new set of baddies, based heavily on VooDoo and Caribbean mythology. This second book is set in New Orleans, and the city itself is as much a character as anyone else. I'm looking forward to the next book.
The story was interesting, fast and kept me wanting to read until the very end. The plot made sense and I found myself smiling with the witty dialogue. That said, I was not into the Aubrey Jayne romance. IS IT JUST ME? Why would the author drop such hints about Ex's feelings for her and then do absolutely nothing about it. In the first book, Jayne admitted to falling into Aubrey simply out of fear and desperation. And then, instead of evolving and moving onto a romance who may actually be good for her, she goes back to Aubrey! To be honest, it ruined a lot for me. I liked the series but the author made me root for Ex only to switch back to Aubrey.
Karen Black is at a school where most of the children will probably not graduate, or will end up in loads of trouble, to meet with Daria ~ the bright young girl in fourth grade who's now telling outlandish lies, such as her sister got ate by a snake. Karen seems to think Daria is in trouble... big trouble. Jayne and the guys have been traveling at rushed speed for months to inventory her deceased Uncle's many, many homes and stocks. While in Athens, Jayne receives a call from Karen asking for Eric, Jayne's deceased Uncle, for help. Jayne and the guys decide even though they are exhausted from the pace they have been keeping to go help Karen. So, they head off to New Orleans, to help Karen with her case of ten years in the works... To help save the next expected victim of a voodoo demon... This was a quick easy read for me. I just let myself enjoy the book and go with the flow of the characters. The crew members; Jayne, Aubrey, Ex, and Chogyi Jack. Jayne brought these characters together in the first book Unclean Spirits. They still are new to working closely together with each other and it sounds like they are still trying to find their places in the group. The characters are all so different from each other, yet they compliment each other nicely. Jayne is the main character, and in a way the leader of the group - yet Jayne is new to the whole world of the demon Riders and magic. She still feels out of her league with taking charge of cases or situations and lets her self be lead to thoughts a little bit. But this is believable in the world that is built here. But I like how Jayne is not as weak as she may think she is in this area. And I still have questions on Jayne, such as why she is able to do a few things she does (like being able to cross into the Crossroad of the demon path). There is much more to Jayne than even Jayne knows. I am wondering how her Uncle set her up so well with magic and protections, without her knowing. The first third to half of the book was a little relaxed for me. There was a lot of setting up here; for the plot, characters, and religious beliefs. Then about half way through the book it started to accelerate. I could see what was coming and the clues where set for me to find them, but I still enjoyed letting the story unfold in itself. There where a few moments where I wasn't sure of what was being said in the way of Voodoo, but I enjoyed the voodoo spin on this book. The demon riders that mixed with the believes of the New Orleans Voodoo. This book didn't hit me like a book to drop everything you have and dart out to get it, I still liked the read. It was a quick, relaxing read for me as I got through it in record timing. I had seen that the third book of this series will be released in November. I will eventually pick it up, as I have enjoyed Jayne and the crew. And curious to see where Jayne goes next along with the growth of the characters.
I really enjoy this story. I can't wait for the 3rd edition:)
This book was okay. I was a little disappointed after the first book being so good. In some ways it went the way all 2nd books go in a series. I am looking forward to the next book. I love these charaters, but I thought the story was weaker than the first.
I can't wait to read more. This is a really fascinating story, told very well.