Publisher: New American Library
Review source: Library
Reviewed by: Kathy Davie
Series: Cal Leandros, 8
Eighth in the Cal Leandros dark urban fantasy series revolving around a young man struggling to maintain his humanity in New York City.
Oh man. Another zinger from Thurman! Although, there weren't as many clever T-shirts or that gritty, dark humor I usually find in a Cal Leandros story. Of course, the subject matter in this one was grim---a drunken mother who abused her children and children who worked hard to cope and stay together. The older learning some hard lessons from the younger.
Thurman flips back and forth between today and twelve years ago in the Leandros brothers' childhood. God, it's just so, heartening---and disheartening!---to read of what Niko went through to raise his little brother. The worries and hopes he had. And absolutely gripping.
The young Cal was an amazing kid. Realistic and accepting. The older Cal has some horrific nightmares in his past. He's also got an incredible older brother who will do whatever he must to protect his brother.
Niko is a man who has been obsessed with higher learning AND self-defense from a young age. First to protect Cal from their mother, to keep the boys together, and then against the monsters watching. He's a master of self-defense and swordplay with a zen approach to life---tofu and yogurt versus Cal who prefers junk food, a mess, and sleeping with his Desert Eagle.
Cal is changing as well. His misadventures in the previous stories are releasing more of his Auphe side, and it's fascinating to listen to the thoughts running through his mind. His desire to destroy as well as his desire to live up to Niko's precepts.
The werewolves in this one are different from every other werewolf story I've read. Vicious and out for themselves in every way.
Ooh, boy: "NYC was one giant combo buffet and toy shop and it was always open for business."
Now that's a surprising turn, and it makes me want to go back and re-read at least the first in the series, Nightlife, 1, to learn more about the Leandros boys' first encounter with Robin.
A supernatural serial killer has returned. It's invincible and none of the supernaturals want anything to do with it other than to hide and pray. And Cal is determined to prevent Niko finding out about it.
Caliban Leandros is half-Auphe and half-human with a love of over-onioned hot dogs, humorously gruesome sayings on T-shirts, his weapons, and his brother. Niko Leandros is the older, fully human brother determined to keep his brother alive and sane. Together they battle supernatural evil, sometimes for cash, sometimes simply to protect. Sophia is their Rom mother willing to do anything for drink or money. Promise is the vampire with whom Niko is in love.
Ishiah is a peri who owns the bar where Cal works (Niko says it's good for his socialization) and---shock!---still partnered up with Robin Goodfellow, the Puck, a trickster interested in sex, money, sex, and, oh yeah, sex. It just figures that Robin would know everyone at the sex convention! Mrs. Spoonmaker is an elderly woman who helped the boys at times.
The Kin are werewolves. Ivar is the Beta. Delilah was Cal's friend with benefits until she went too far, and now she's interested in bucking all Kin traditions.
Grimm is a fellow Auphe, one engineered who intends to take Cal out and use him to re-do the world in the Auphe image with his own engineered Bae. Quite contradictory and a very bad thing. Junior Hammersmith works at a hospital and Niko is using him as an example of the infinite possibilities Cal should consider before accusing.
Spring-heeled Jack has been killing for centuries. Any full-human he considers to be in need of salvation. David Kithser is a seventeen-year-old drug dealer and bully from Cal and Niko's youth. Big Mike is a drug dealer who has information about his sister.
Pyriel is an angel gone mad. Samyel is another peri.
Grendels were what Cal and Niko called the monsters, the Auphe, always lurking about in their childhood. "Peris are retired angels with most of their heavenly powers stripped away."
I swear it must be the same cover artist as creates the October Daye and Charlie Madigan covers! They all have that same face and style. In this particular cover, it's Cal with gun grasped in both hands and held up as he cautiously approaches his quarry with the magnificent stained glass windows of the church in the background.
The title is revenge, one 12 years in the waiting, a Slashback of anger and madness.