Dead Man Rising

Reviewed: March 26, 2008
By: Lilith Saintcrow
Publisher: Orbit
416 pages, $9.99

Laurell Hamilton started something a few years ago with her Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. She gave us an alternate world where the undead and various other supernatural folk have citizenship rights and have to be dealt with like regular folk when it come to the law. Blake’s actual talent in temporary reanimation of the dead, done in order to obtain dying statements, settle wills, etc. Her tales take place in the here and now, but in some otherland here and now.

A writer with the unlikely name of Lilith Saintcrow has worked her own set o changes on this idea, moving it into the future in a world where the rules of science and magic seem to have swapped places and folks with talents operate on both sides of the law.

Dante (usually Danny) Valentine also speaks to the dead, but just spirits, not reanimated bodies, and she’s also a bounty hunter. When we meet her she’s about to be asked to meet the Devil, who has a job for her. The devils and demons that we meet in this series are not traditional types, but seem to be from other dimensions, a bit like the characters in Joss Whedon’s Buffyverse. This Lucifer is an ancient being, an alien who may have had a Prometheus-like involvement with human evolution.

By the end of the first book, Dante has been transformed into a human/demon hybrid, has solved Lucifer’s problem, and has lost Japhrimel, the demon guardian who became so much more, though he was originally sent by Lucifer to keep an eye on her.

In book two she is in mourning, trying to get over her lost lover, trying to deal with her physical transformation, and trying to solve a case which stems back to the residential school where she and so many other psi-talented children were abused by a headmaster who seems to have survived dying.

Dante complains way too much, has very little control over her temper, and yet manages to inspire a great deal of loyalty from her friends.