Demon Divided (Gallows, book 2) by Sharon Stevenson
Urban fantasy isn't my usual reading, but I really liked Blood Bound, book 1 of the Gallows series, so I decided to keep reading and I'm happy to say that I liked Demon Divided even more.
Demon-hunting twins Shaun and Sarah Gallows are back, trying to track down the vampire maker responsible for the vampire they have locked up in the basement. (Why you need a locked cage in the basement - to keep the vampire in, of course.) Along the way, Shaun finds himself being suspected of the grisly murder of a drug dealer, and Sarah is in thrall to the demon who is possessing the vampire in the basement (you thought regular vampires were bad...) - and that's just the beginning of their troubles! There's also serial-killing ex-vampire zombies (again, you thought regular vampires were bad!), a winsome human psychic who Shaun knows is the wrong girl for him but that doesn't seem to make any difference, Shaun and Sarah's mom (as scary as anything else they have to deal with!), the evil and corrupt Melissa from book 1 and her evil and corrupt dad, and a werewolf who just wants to be patted on the head and told "good doggy". It's lots of dark, gruesome fun, written in a clear, sophisticated style with an undercurrent of wit; one of my favorite lines is "He'd shifted into his furry skin and was looking a lot less feral than he had in human form, even if he did have a zombie arm hanging from his mouth." And Shaun, my favorite character, is back in fine curmudgeonly, junk-food-inhaling form.
I did have some trouble remembering things from the first book and working out what was going on and why - the author doesn't stop to just explain things, she trusts the reader to be smart enough to figure it out on their own - but after a while I got the hang of most of it, and where I didn't, I just went along for the ride anyway, trusting that Ms. Stevenson knows what she's doing and it'll all come together eventually. And what a fun ride it is. Recommended both for fans of urban fantasy and those who aren't sure if they even like urban fantasy.
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