The second book in the series about Jill Kismet, a demon hunter.

Publication year: 2008
Page count: 329
Format: ebook
Publisher: Orbit

I haven’t read the first book in this series but I had no problem following the story.

Jill Kismet is a demon hunter, working together with the police of the city of Santa Luz and the Catholic Church. However, most of the humans don’t know that powerful demons hunt them. Even some of the Church officials don’t really believe that Jill is on their side. After all, the official Church doctrine is that even though they train hunters, the hunters are damned because they deal with demons.

Someone is murdering prostitutes in a gruesome manner and Jill is called on the case. The prostitutes’ eyes and most of their intestines have been carved out. Jill and the police believe that the demon responsible eats them. At the same time, Jill finds out that the local Church has been withholding information from her. One of their seminary students has been infected with a demon and Jill has to exorcise it. Demons shouldn’t be able to get near the seminary students, so Jill is very unhappy with that.

Earlier, in the first book I think, Jill was forced to make a bargain with a powerful hellbreed named Perry. He looks like a human but is not. He runs a local underworld cafe, the Monde Nuit, and makes deals with humans. Apparently, Jill got supernatural strength, speed, and healing ability from the deal. She has a scar on her wrist as a mark of the deal and that scar seems to pulse with sex magic pretty much all the time. She also makes smaller deals with Perry for information and she pays them with hours spent alone with him. She’s very nervous about them beforehand because Perry forces her to do things that she enjoys and yet hates herself for enjoying.

The world is pretty grim, full of prostitutes, pimps, drug users, people who make deals with demons to get a slightly better life. The police are often swamped with cases and faced with supernatural horrors they can’t deal with. Jill and her fellow hunters are their only hope of destroying the monsters. The murder scenes are very gory. The story is told in first person POV.

Before Jill became a demon hunter, she was a street prostitute. Her demon hunter mentor saved her and took her as a lover, too. But that mentor, Mikhail, is dead and Jill has to rely on her own wits and skills to survive. She has a new lover, Saul, who is a were, who can transform into a cougar. He’s very possessive and a good working partner because he already knows a lot about the supernatural world. Their relationship seems solid to me but sometimes Jill wonders why Saul is attracted to her in the first place. Apparently, weres are usually repulsed by hellbreed and the people they make deals with.

All characters curse a lot which actually feels pretty adolescent to me, especially when they’re cursing to terrified victims. Even though Jill acts all tough outside, on the inside, she’s sometimes insecure. While she doesn’t doubt her abilities, she doubts her intellect and her decisions and Saul’s feelings for her. She hates Perry, especially when he shows up to save her in fights.

In addition to Perry and Saul, the secondary characters are police officers, who actually appreciate Jill for doing her work, and pimps and their victims.

I’ve read Saintcrow’s Dante Valentine books before and unfortunately, the main characters seem pretty similar: they’ve both been horribly wounded in the past, both physically and mentally, and seem to be stronger because of that. However, Dante has far more trust issues than Jill.