Dead Man Rising (Dante Valentine, Book 2)
Hachette Orbit (US: 1st September 2007; UK: 7th December 2006; AU: January 2008)
Dante Valentine’s past comes back to haunt her in Lilith Saintcrow’s Dead Man Rising.
Rigger Hall, a hellish school that damaged much more than it taught its students, was mentioned in the first novel of this series, Working for the Devil. It’d be an interesting (but too much like snuff) setting for a spinoff YA series, but instead it’s the plot for this novel.
The physical raping, mind raping, whipping, torturing… Needless to say Rigger Hall’s former students have tried desperately to forget their time there, Dante included. But a serial killer is targeting former alumni, and so Dante must investigate the place – and its former inhabitants – responsible for countless nightmares over so many years.
Working for the Devil began with some injected humour that seemed out of place, but that novel turned serious and stayed so. Though Dead Man Rising is utterly depressing, it has good reason to be: Lilith Saintcrow doesn’t shy away from writing true darkness; she makes other writers’ demons seem flimsy.
Though missing the fascinating sci-fi from its predecessor, this is still a good read, though a trying one. It’s frustrating that Dante keeps moping about Japhrimel, and Jace tolerates that…I preferred Dante when she was single. But praise the author for creating a female secondary character, Gabriele Spocarelli, who isn’t at odds with the protag. They’re actually best mates, and Gabe and Eddie are steadfast people whom I’m glad Dante has for support.
This futuristic urban fantasy is perfect for readers fed up with cutesy-faff paranormals. Don’t expect to smile and be merry, but do expect to read something of great merit. Lilith Saintcrow is awesome, and I’m glad I already have the next three books in the series on my shelf awaiting me.