From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Connolly fulfills and sustains the promise of his 2009 rural noir debut, Child of Fire, with this thoughtful Lovecraftian sequel. Twenty Palace Society member Catherine Little, a lethal sorcerer committed to keeping supernatural entities and magic out of the possession of anyone but members of the society, contacts ex-convict Ray Lilly at his mundane supermarket job and recruits him to assist her with an emergency situation. Ray's actions are supposed to be limited to assisting his assigned peer, but an interdimensional predator has escaped and the society needs all the help it can get. Connolly doesn't shy away from tackling big philosophical issues--whether good ends justify evil means, how many civilian deaths can be justified in the pursuit of creatures that can destroy the world--amid gory action scenes and plenty of rapid-fire sardonic dialogue.
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Ray Lilly, thanks to the intervention of the Twenty Palaces society, has survived the aftermath of Hammer Bay. He has a normal job, stocking a supermarket. He even has a credit card. When Twenty Palaces comes storming back into his life, he is thrilled—a normal life is also boring. Of course, it turns out that Catherine—the Twenty Palaces representative—is investigating an auction, where a predator is for sale, and would really prefer to have backup with more than one spell. Ray is, as a former wooden man, not quite as well armed as she might have liked. On the other hand, he is stubborn and unorthodox, which makes up for a lot. In any event, they arrive at the auction as it concludes, and everything goes to pieces when the predator escapes and only Ray and Catherine are around to stop it. Ray’s voice continues to be charming despite his rough edges, and the plot more than taut enough to keep the pages turning at a breakneck pace; and there is definitely some fascinating history hidden beneath the surface of the world Connolly is spinning, and it’s thoroughly entertaining. --Regina Schroeder