Title: The Night Shift (The Night Wars #2)
Author: Missouri Dalton
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Length: Novel (217 pages)
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Feliz
Summary Review: Ghosts, trolls, ghouls, necromancers, witches, vampires, elves and werewolves–this story was a glorious melee of each and every paranormal creature in the book, told in Night Shift Special Detective Fynn Adder’s trademark sarcastically passionate voice.
The Blurb: Two years of experience in the Night Shift and Fynn Adder still has a lot to learn — before his newest case drives him back off the wagon. Recently he’s been assigned a new partner, a trainee named Simon Murphy. In the middle of breaking in his new partner, a grisly murder rocks the foundation of Fynn’s shaky sobriety. And not just any “regular” murder — the murder of a child.
As more ritual killings start to spread out across the city, Fynn, Jack, and Simon scramble to track down the necromancer responsible and stop them before they complete whatever ritual they’re performing. Meanwhile, Simon has to deal with the overly ambitious FBI Agent Gabriel Sheppard, whose dogged determination to put Simon’s mob boss father in prison is putting Simon at risk, and hindering Fynn’s investigation. As if that wasn’t enough, the king of the elves wants to have a sit down, Tara’s birthday is only a few days away, and it seems the family secrets just keep on coming. The tension and pressure just never seems to end for Fynn and his crew.
For a better understanding of the world this story is set in, I’d advise to read the Night Wars books in order. The main players Fynn, Jack, the Night Shift Division, Jack’s daughter Tara, Fynn’s family and namely Fynn’s twin, Michael, were introduced in The Hanged Man’s Ghost (which I reviewed here), and I’d think it quite hard to get them all sorted without reading the first book.
First, this isn’t much of a romance. Fynn and Jack are an established couple, living a happy if slightly unusual family life with Tara, Jack’s precocious, seven – year- old daughter who calls both men “Daddy”. Even though their relationship plays an important role in the story, it takes a back seat to the mystery plot. (for those who want to know: sex scenes are fade to black). However, the love and support between them were palpable.
Fynn seems to have fully embraced his new paranormal reality, wielding charms, incense and incantations as expertly as he does grenades and firearms, including items that shoot magic bullets. His narrative voice is still the same which I found myself taken with in the first book, snarky and ironic, passionate, a little overconfident and laced with a delicious, self-deprecating black humor that made for several good laughs during the reading.
While a good part of the last book was dedicated to Fynn’s trip to hell and back and the effects those events had on his personality and his relationship with Jack, it’s the mystery/ serial killer plot that drives this book. Even though the main plot line still takes the occasional side trip into entertainment value territory, it is much straighter and more consistent than in The Hanged Man’s Ghost, which I thought a considerable improvement in the writing. I particularly liked how everyday events, like an Adder family dinner, Simon’s falling in love with a most unsuitable guy or Tara’s birthday party nicely balanced the weird and sometimes outright grueling paranormal occurrences in Fynn’s and Jack’s professional lives. Fynn’s family still plays a major role in his life; Fynn being an Adder apparently makes him special enough in the eyes of certain people to take his spiritual and professional responsibilities to an entirely different level. Fynn even gets to meet yet another member of his extended family nobody knew about, and the mystery around Michael’s long absence isn’t any closer to solving by the end of this book.
What has still room to improve, though, is Fynn’s character. While he does show some growth over the course of this story–I liked the protectiveness he showed toward the people he feels responsible for, including his new partner Simon and Tara, whom he loves like she really was his own daughter–he’s mostly still the selfish, fickle, addiction-prone, bratty loudmouth he used to be. While this makes Fynn more human, and even more likable (at least to me), it is also somewhat annoying at times. One thing is for sure, Jack has his work cut out for him with Fynn.
This is an entertaining, fast-paced and wildly imaginative story with a quirky yet still solid mystery plot and a vast cast of colorful, well-drawn characters.
Not for the faint at heart, mind you, some of the murders are gruesome, delivered in detail with wicked glee.
It also needs mentioning that editing is still an issue here, though now it narrows down to typos and the occasional missing word here and there.
And the book ended on a mean cliffhanger, almost mid-paragraph, which I found a rather cheap way of whetting the reader’s appetite for the next book (which is going to be named The Hellfire Legacy, apparently) . I’d have read that anyway, duh.
The author put a glimpse of the next book on her website, by the way. Perhaps to make up for the cliffhanger? Any how, you can find it here: Missouri Dalton’s website Spoiler alert!