Chancy, C. R. A Net of Dawn and Bones (Kindle edition, 2015)
A detective, a heretic, and a redhead walked into a vampire bar . . . and it’s not a joke. The world has turned upside down, the ACLU is on the wrong side, and the good guys are in deep kimchi. And that’s before two escapees from hell pop up and make life really interesting.
I freely admit, I grabbed this one because of a great plug for it by one of the regulars in the comments section at AccordingToHoyt . And then I didn’t get around to looking at it until I needed a little cool and quiet time at LibertyCon. Well, I got the cool but not the quiet time, because the book sucked me in hard and I had to back out and stop reading until my heart rate settled down and I stopped trying to pant. And then the pace of the book accelerated. The book starts in hell with two spirits, one a demon, the other something rather different, and both of them trying to stay out of sight of the Big Bads. And away from something trying to suck demons in and spit them out in the world of the living.
The action cuts to two detectives on earth trying to stake out a seance-summoning-fraud that turns south when something large, flaming, and pissed off with big teeth appears, bullets fly and a spirit of Light materializes. None of which can really exist, mind you, in a world where vampires and werewolves and the like are protected classes. To say that a vampire is a demon in disguise is to get locked up for hate speech and discrimination. Staking a vampire is murder and carrying silver is a felony. But demons don’t exist.
Except . . . they do. And some demons are not entirely demon. Like Aiden, our cocky redhead. And Myrrh, a warrior heretic who loves to argue scripture translations (Syriac, Coptic, Latin, or Koine Greek, your choice) with Catholic priests. Not to mention a werewolf with a bad habit of hot-wiring cars and Coral, who makes cemetery monuments for a living. And poor Detective Church, who just wants to get the guy they were waiting for at the stakeout and to avoid the media and lawyers.
Chancy is very well-known in fanfic circles, as the reviews on Amazon attest. But this work is excellent in its own right. You don’t need any background to get into the tale, and if you are tired of urban fantasy with too many Byronic vampires and heroines who seduce instead of deduce, you’ll enjoy this story. The bad guys are bad, the good guys are good but not perfect, and the twists are satisfying, with enough humor that it never gets grim-dark.
The writing is tight, the pacing is excellent, the characters are very well drawn and enough hints and bits are given that you can follow the back-story without getting bogged. I’d love to know what happened to trigger the event that let all these bad spirits loose on the world, but no details are give. I suspect we’ll know eventually, though, because although the story comes to a nice close, enough room remains for a sequel.
One caveat is that the book has a very strong Christian element in it. Not a denominational element (unless you are very familiar with pre-Nicean and pre-Chalcedonian Christian doctrines and groups), but if warriors who lean heavily on Christian scriptures are not your thing, you probably will get bored with parts of the work. There’s a bit of Madeline L’Engle’s spirit in the book, as another review commented. Chancy includes a brief bibliography and citation list in the back for those interested in learning more about the real background of the early church divisions.
Yes, I liked the book. Yes, Chancy has been added to my “buy as soon as published” roster.
I purchased this book with my own funds and received no remuneration or other considerations from the author or publisher.