Table of Contents
Ghosts & Echoes
“With her usual beautiful prose, a clever new take on an old piece of folklore, and a plot that keeps us feverishly turning pages to learn what new revelation waits ahead, Lyn Benedict has written one of the best urban fantasies I’ve read in some time.”
“Readers will enjoy this fine paranormal investigative thriller with a great late twist as the tough detective works the abnormal beat.”
Genre Go Round Reviews
“The mix of supernatural elements and a real-world setting . . . makes this a good recommendation for fans of Kat Richardson’s Greywalker series or Seanan McGuire’s new October Daye series.”
“An enjoyable addition to a series that melds multiple pantheons and paranormal tenets into a sometimes chaotic story that still manages to immediately intrigue the reader.”
Night Owl Romance
“This second Shadows Inquiries novel can stand alone as a strong, well-written tale with an evolving heroine who’s tough without being a sex goddess. Sylvie is a complex, flawed character, and that makes her interesting. The real-world setting keeps things believable.”
Sins & Shadows
“Dark and fascinating.”
—Kat Richardson, national bestselling author of
“A solid start to the series, and should quickly gain fans . . . Ms. Benedict does a fantastic job of drawing readers into the chaos of the heroine’s life and keeping them firmly invested in the outcome. The characters are passionate, the story heavy on action, and the emotions run high.”
“Sylvie is harder and darker than the usual paranormal PI, and this story is the better for it.”
“Lyn Benedict uses as her background Greek mythology to provide an excellent investigative fantasy thriller. . . . a fascinating, spellbinding work.”
Genre Go Round Reviews
“Ferocious, no-holds-barred Sylvie is abrasive but forthright—a heroine that any reader would champion. Rounded out by a series of well-developed characters and pulse-pounding action, this story looks to be the start of an excellent series.”
“Lyn Benedict delivers one hell of a powerful story, expertly weaving Greek, Egyptian, and Christian lore and traditions together before tossing them into a modern setting. . . . Sylvie herself is a tough cookie, one willing to boss around gods and monsters alike to get the job done.”
The Green Man Review
“With fantastic characters, engrossing magic, and creative mayhem, Benedict gives us a new twist on the supernatural noir front. A fast-paced ride all the way!”
—Chris Marie Green, author of
Deep in the Woods
“Lyn Benedict has crafted a story filled with many fantastic characters that keep you enthralled from beginning to end. . . . For this reason alone, I will definitely be a Lyn Benedict reader from this point forward.”
Patricia’s Vampire Notes
“Pulls out all the stops. Sylvie does battle for no less than the fate of the world.”
New York Times
bestselling author of
Kitty Goes to War
“A dark, gutsy urban fantasy filled with mythology . . . I’m looking forward to reading the next installment.”
Ace Books by Lyn Benedict
SINS & SHADOWS
GHOSTS & ECHOES
GODS & MONSTERS
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
GODS & MONSTERS
An Ace Book / published by arrangement with the author
Ace mass-market edition / May 2011
Copyright © 2011 by Lane Robins.
All rights reserved.
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eISBN : 978-1-101-51394-1
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Wrong Place, Wrong Time
FOR ONCE, WHEN PEOPLE STARTED DYING, SYLVIE LIGHTNER WASN’T at ground zero. When things went wrong, really wrong, she was fifteen miles away from the crime scene, haggling with a werewolf bitch over her finder’s fee.
Five days ago, Sylvie had asked Tatya to keep an eye out and a nose up for a woman who’d gone missing from Alligator Alley, figuring she could turn Tatya’s nightly perambulations through the Everglades to good use. Delegation had paid off: Three days later, Maria Ruben was no longer a missing person. Dead, but no longer lost, and that was something. Finding her body could bring its own resolution to the family and was worth every penny.
So Sylvie had met Tatya at the scene, called the cops, and split without waiting for them to show, spooked.
Maria Ruben hadn’t been alone. There were four other dead women, drowned, pushed beneath the duckweed surface of an Everglades lagoon, and left to sway slowly in the dark, stagnant waters. Maria’s short dark hair stuck out like a frightened puffer fish, showing the shock her slack face couldn’t. A pink barrette—cheap plastic butterfly— floated free, trailing a long bronze lock of hair belonging to a woman barely into her twenties.
All of them were young, Maria likely the oldest, and all were Hispanic. Someone had particular tastes. Sylvie swallowed disgust, studied the other three women by the sullen gold of the setting sun. Their ethnicity and ages might match up, but their clothes argued they came from different parts of the city: Maria’s casual business wear; swimsuit and sarong; halter top and skirt; demure blouse and khaki skirt; and one who reminded Sylvie of her sister—a budding fashion plate.
That was the moment Sylvie had called the police. The moment she felt over her head. This was someone’s sister. Sylvie might have a reputation as a vigilante, but she knew when to leave a crime scene the hell alone.
Tatya wanted a finder’s fee for each woman. Sylvie didn’t object on any moral ground—never mind that their agreement only covered Maria Ruben—but finances dictated haggling. Five hundred dollars had been half of the fee Sylvie had charged Maria Ruben’s husband, but $2500 started eating into rent. Sylvie would be willing to take that financial risk, but her business partner, Alexandra Figueroa-Smith, wouldn’t. Sylvie wanted to keep Tatya happy—the werewolf was a good source as well as a quasi friend—so the discussion lasted longer than Sylvie liked, culminating with Sylvie’s writing an IOU for another thousand, payable the next month.
Once the rest of the women were identified, Sylvie could see about spreading around the cost of doing business. There might be a reward or, more likely, a client who’d want her to investigate how their loved one had ended up underwater. Now that she had an in with the local cops, courtesy of her making nice with Detective Adelio Suarez, she could be a useful liaison to a grieving family. And she thought that the police were going to be struggling with this one. The scene had felt . . . charged, a spark in the still, hot air that tasted of the
Maria Ruben’s car had been found abandoned beside the road, the battery run down, the driver’s door hanging open. Her husband had reported his wife’s last words via cell phone,
Salvador, you should see this. A two-headed alligator. I’m stopping for pics . . .
and nothing more.