What is this about?: Daniel Faust is a sorcerer for hire, the kind that will get you the revenge you want if he thinks you should have it. In this, the first in the series, he is asked to solve a murder and finds himself in the middle of something else entirely.
What else?: This is the first in a series, so there’s some serious — and excellent — worldbuilding in the middle of Las Vegas.
Blurb: Nobody knows the seedy underbelly of Las Vegas like Daniel Faust, a sorcerer for hire and ex-gangster who uses black magic and bullets to solve his clients’ problems. When an old man comes seeking vengeance for his murdered granddaughter, what looks like a simple job quickly spirals out of control.
Soon Daniel stands in the crossfire between a murderous porn director; a corrupt cop with a quick trigger finger; and his own former employer, a racket boss who isn’t entirely human. Then there’s Caitlin: brilliant, beautiful, and the lethal right hand of a demon prince.
A man named Faust should know what happens when you rub shoulders with demons. Still Daniel can’t resist being drawn to Caitlin’s flame as they race to unlock the secret of the Etruscan Box, a relic that people all over town are dying — and killing — to get their hands on. As the bodies drop and the double-crosses pile up, Daniel will need every shred of his wits, courage and sheer ruthlessness just to survive.
Daniel Faust knew he was standing with one foot over the brink of hell. He’s about to find out just how far he can fall.
Daniel Faust is a sorcerer for hire — the down-and- dirty kind of sorcerer for hire. He’s the kind of sorcerer that will do what has to be done – violently and bloodily if need be. He’s got an overblown sense of wrong and right, and he knows it. So when he’s asked to investigate the death of a client’s granddaughter and finds her half-eaten soul in the sewer where her body was dumped, he knows he’s going to exact revenge for her because whoever did that deserves nothing less.
Which brings us to the violence and rules of Daniel’s world. The powerful survive, and the weak are violently dispatched from the world to their whims. Schaefer throws in some gore and blood, and it was intense enough that it surprised me.
It’s the worldbuilding that sticks with me in this book, and the characters that together create this Las Vegas of real magic and sorcery. There are factions within this work, creatures who are searching for power, a succubus, demons and lords of hell. But there are creatures none so disturbing as the humans in this — for whatever you might think the creatures might get up to, I’m pretty sure the humans have them beat in this book. Daniel is a contradiction in some ways when it comes to the violence of this world — he has no problems being violent, but I don’t think he likes violence.
He is also a character that has surrounded himself with a chosen family, the ones who saved him after the horrors of his past. This was an unexpected part of the book, and just the beginning of Daniel’s past I think. This angst is part of Daniel’s life, and he’s quick to dismiss it with a quip now, but it’s always there, it’s still shaping him and his desire to do right by victims. I like who he is with his friends and family, though I wonder if they know him deep down, beyond the man he is with them.
And Vegas. Having been there, I am utterly fascinated by author’s different takes on it. And this is thoroughly fun.
Overall, I think this is a promising start to the series. I’ve seen his compared to Harry Dresden and the similarities stop and start at them both being sorcerer PIs. There’s room enough for both characters, but having read Harry Dresden for a long time and being worn out on the character and just generally bored out of my mind, I’m delighted to have found Daniel Faust.