Review: The Hellfire Legacy (The Night Wars #3) by Missouri Dalton

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Hellfire Legacy coverWith one horrific explosion, psychic Investigator Flynn Adder’s world turns to rubble and the lives of everyone Flynn loves is put in the greatest peril he has ever known.  And that is saying a lot, considering that Flynn Adder works for The Night Shift, a secret paranormal agency that keeps the lid on the activities of the weird, supernatural and Fae. From werewolves to ghouls to trolls as well as all magical objects,  they all fall under the jurisdiction of The Night Shift, a world wide organization created to keep humans safe and oblivious to the magical and mythical beings all around them.

But the Chicago Night Shift headquarters has just exploded, killing most of the psych corps, witches, and other beings that made up the Chicago squad.  Only a few escaped, including Flynn, his husband Jack and a few of their colleagues.  With the supernatural side of Chicago now left to their own devices and impulses,the City is helpless and defenseless. Added to the conflagration,  the murderous culprit is on the loose and soon strikes again. Flynn, Jack, and the rest need help in order to survive and hunt down the person responsible for killing so many of their friends and colleagues.   When the investigation start to lead back to Flynn and his family history,  Flynn starts to realize that this case might cost him everything he has worked so hard to achieve, his sobriety, his lover, and their family.

Well, this was a surprise.  I loved this book and the entire Night Shift crew.  The Hellfire Legacy is the third (and possibly last) book in The Night Wars series by Missouri Dalton.  I had reviewed book #2, The Night Shift and found it wanting, primarily due to the last of back history and its cliffhanger ending.  This book displays none of the issues I had with The Night Shift, and while it is part of a series, I found that this book could be read as a standalone and totally enjoyed as such.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  Let’s go back and look at the exposition of histories and backstories of the characters and events as related in The Hellfire Legacy.

Missouri Dalton has done a remarkable job of folding the back stories of the characters with the history of The Night Shift agency into the current storyline in such a way that the reader will feel absolutely up to date on all prior events that occurred in the previous books without actually having to go read them.  I missed this element in The Night Shift and was thrilled to see a much more substantial world building here.  In fact the entire book is more complete, more layered in every aspect.  The storytelling is taut, the action suspenseful and fast moving, and the emotional content will keep the reader on a constant level of high expectations and excitement.

Even the characters seem more fully alive and have more depth than I remember from the previous story.  Flynn, Jack, Simon, Howl, and the rest are all put to the test are they become not only the hunters but the hunted as well.  Flynn’s personality and character is under such duress that his sobriety is threatened as is his stability to act as an investigator.  He is operating on no sleep, pain medication and shear desperation and the author makes us feel every bit of his anxiety and exhaustion as Flynn stretches his physical and emotional resources to their limits. Really, the vivid descriptions of each character and their actions not only help to engage the reader but to bring the story home to a deeply emotional level because we have come to care for them all.  In addition, we are given new characters to connect with that hopefully we will see again in future stories because they are that interesting and quirky.  I loved Lu and the vulpe Remy and Granda Adder, a ghost.  In fact we get more of everyone’s history, the Adders, Jack’s, and more.  It’s wonderful, it’s fascinating and it makes the reader want to learn even more.

The locales from Chicago to Ireland are given the same attention to detail and depth that the characters display. Moving the setting from their home base of Chicago to various locations serves to keep not only the characters off center and uncertain but the reader as well.  Each new city brings an uncertainty and anxiety to the plot while heightening our interest in each area.  I loved this aspect of the novel too.  Dalton’s research and knowledge of each location shows.  Clearly, the author knows Columbus, Ohio and the Columbus College of Art and Design.  Here is an excerpt from Flynn’s travels to Ohio:

“Fynn, that’s the third time we’ve passed that giant red A.” “It’s says art,” Simon corrected Jack. “Why is there so much construction around here anyway?”

“Who knows?” Jack said. I gritted my teeth and pulled over into the road the giant letter A straddled. Oh, it did say art. Huh. “Okay. Simon, Lu, you look young and college-ish, go get directions.” We appeared to be on a college campus — an art school given the giant sign and random pieces of modern sculpture. The two gave me a look. “Sure thing, boss,” Simon replied. “Come on, Lu.” They got out of the van and started for the largest, closest building. It was concrete, modern, and possibly the ugliest piece of construction I’d ever seen. I looked away before it burned into my memory. There were two churches within sight, and a few more ugly concrete and glass buildings.

Simon and Lu quickly returned with a very short-haired, svelte girl in tow. She reminded me a bit of a pixie. I rolled down my window. “Well?”

“Fynn, this is Liz. Liz, Fynn. She’s got directions for you.”

“Awesome.”

Liz smiled. “So you’ll want to get back on Broad Street and go West to 315 North, that’ll take you right to the Kinnear road exit. That should get you out of the construction.”

“Sweet, simple and easy to remember, thanks, Liz. You’ve been a big help.”

“No problem, happy to help.” Lu and Simon got back in the car, we bid goodbye to Liz and took her directions — and finally ended up in the right place.

In case you were wondering, here the giant A they were talking about   The author is spot on and accurate in every detail.  I loved this aspect of Columbus, Ohio artinspringThe Hellfire Legacy and appreciated the richness of detail the authors adds to each scenery change.

The story is told from Flynn’s point of view and I like his dry, sarcastic voice.  Here is a example:

I noticed immediately that we might have a slight problem. The language I overheard most frequently was Gaelic, something I had only passing familiarity with. I mean, I once knit Connor an illusion scarf that read Pog Ma Thon, but beyond telling people to kiss my ass, I really didn’t know any useful Gaelic.

Very telling. You get a sense of Flynn’s dry humor, and the fact that he knits gifts for people he cares about (and that he is a constant knitter). All of this just adds that wonderful creative, caring layer to his personality.  It’s a lovely surprise and one among many.

And finally, the thing that really puts me over the edge (not in a good way), a cliffhanger, is missing here.  The ending is fulfilling and yet leaves open the possibility of more fun and  quixotic adventures to come.  I mean, he made a deal with a leprechaun for God’s sake.  Who does that?  Hopefully we will find out how that whopper of a mistake gets resolved in a future story.

What does this all mean?  Well for me, it means that I will go back to the beginning of the series and read The Hangman’s Ghost, the book that started it all and then revisit The Night Shift (and perhaps offer up a mea culpa or two).  For you, it means you should head out and buy this book.  If you want, get all three and read them right through for a Flynn Adder and The Night Shift triple feature.  Either way, it works.  Live on the wild side!  But no matter how you approach it, buy the book.  You won’t be sorry and might even leave addicted.  Just as I did.

Here are the books in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and the events:

The Hangman’s Ghost (The Night Wars #1)

The Night Shift (The Night Wars #2)

The Hellfire Legacy (The Night Wars #3)

Cover Illustrations by BS Clay work well for the series and this book.

Book Details:

ebook, 171 pages
Published April 3rd 2013 by Torquere Books (first published April 1st 2013)
ISBN 9781610404
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=78_85&products_id=3854
seriesThe Night Wars #03

Attack of the Planked Salmon and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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This year we have had a real, honest to God or Goddess spring.  The weather has been seasonally cool, with light  winds and rain as appropriate.  No snow (sorry, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan), no heatwave, just spring and we are not sure how to deal with this phenomenon.  How quickly we have forgotten that it is not safe to plant annuals before the first week of May.  And board shorts and flip flops won’t be needed really until the end of May or June.  But one thing is always constant. And that is that spring and summer always herald is the advent of  the grill season.

We started grilleing a week or two ago just as the weather started turning lovely and the ponds and small spring in the backyard called to us to come out and sit a while.  And up until yesterday, all of our grilled dinners were delicious and uneventful.  Then we decided that planked Salmon would be just the thing for Saturday’s dinner.  Off we went to Harris Teeters to buy our fresh salmon and asparagus, then home to soak the planks and get everything ready.  I had gotten another flat of red double begonias for the bed in the front yard (needed some extra pop of color), and the cedar planks were in the sink, soaking away.  We had the glaze mixed and ready to go.  When the time came, the salmon and asparagus cooked beautifully and perfectly on their planks and the meal was wonderful.  We sat outside, with our wine, salmon and Bogle Sauvignon Blanc, and dogs of course  and basked in the serenity of the gardens and afternoon sun.  Then my own special hell hit me with a ferocity that would make the Hulk blink.

You see I keep forgetting that salmon hates me or that my insides hate such a rich and fatty fish.  I can eat it about once a year but no more and I already had my one salmon meal earlier in March.  Oh the idiosyncrasies of my aging mind , yeay, that’s what I keep telling myself it is but really, I just wanted that darn salmon.  It started ominously just a  few hours later.  A slight twinge and a “oh no, maybe it will pass” thought.  But I knew I was not to be so lucky and by early evening, I was commode hugging, Bluto frat boy sick.   I mean I haven’t been that nauseous since my college days of Old Frothingslosh and cemetery running.  Don’t ask.

By 10:30pm I was actively praying to the gods of Bacchus or anyone else that would listen, to let me just die in my bed before I had to race back to the bathroom, hoping desperately to make it there in time for some more porcelain worshiping.   Willow was hiding under the bed, watching with great fascination, Kirby was racing with me, thinking it was a game and Winston of course was sleeping off his bits of salmon.  Oh to be a dog, eat some grass and go on about one’s business.  And finally it passed, leaving me a wreck in the bed, and thinking “never again”.  Sigh.

So that was the great salmon attack.  But for those of you lucky enough to eat salmon with a nonchalance I admire, I have included the recipe at the end of the post.  Try it out and let me know what you think.  We used honey and it was delicious but the maple syrup would be great too.

So here is the week ahead in book reviews:

Monday, May 6:                      Fire Horse by Mickie B. Ashling

Tuesday, May 7:                      Leaving Home by T.A. Chase

Wed., May 8:                           Shy by John Inman

Thursday, May 9:                   The Hellfire Legacy by Missouri Dalton

Friday, May 10:                      His Heart To Reap by Erin Lane

Saturday, May 11:                   City Mouse by Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov

So there you have it.  It looks to be a great week.  Now if I can just stay away from those oysters……

Here is the Planked Salmon Recipe from Epicurious.com:

yield: Makes 6 servings
active time: 30 min
total time: 2 1/2 hr
Ingredients:

2 tablespoons grainy mustard
2 tablespoons mild honey or pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon minced rosemary
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 (2-pounds) salmon fillet with skin (1 1/2 inches thick)

Equipment: a cedar grilling plank (about 15 by 6 inches)

Cooking:

Soak cedar grilling plank in water to cover 2 hours, keeping it immersed.
Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas); see Grilling Procedure . Open vents on bottom and lid of charcoal grill.
Stir together mustard, honey, rosemary, zest, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Spread mixture on flesh side of salmon and let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.
Put salmon on plank, skin side down (if salmon is too wide for plank, fold in thinner side to fit). Grill, covered with lid, until salmon is just cooked through and edges are browned, 13 to 15 minutes. Let salmon stand on plank 5 minutes before serving.