Blood Ink – Dana Fredsti
Cover image of Blood Ink by Dana Fredsti @TitanBooks

Blood Ink Spawn of Lilith (Book 2)

Author: Dana Fredsti

Publisher: Titan Books

Page count: 367pp

Release date: 2nd April 2019

Reviewer: Theresa Derwin 

I read the first Spawn of Lilith book on its release, and absolutely loved it. Lee Striga is a stuntwoman recovering from serious injuries, trying to reforge a career in the film industry. On her last job, someone was bumping of the crew and cast, but Lee managed to track down the culprit and save the day. After the bloody results of her last job, Lee is desperate for work, which is how we find her at the start of this novel.Interspersed with sample scripts for the film Lee should’ve been working on versus the one she actually ends up on.Before her accident, Lee had been part of the Katz Stunt Crew, one of the best. And also a crew filled with supernaturals, apart from Lee herself. She finally manages to catch a break with notorious stunt co-ordinator Cayden Doran, filming Voodoo Wars (V Wars? Ahem) in New Orleans. This is after her interview is interrupted by the arrival of a deadly B-Movie monster.The various scripts of low budget films -(either made or in progress) occasionally -helped along by Lee’s heckling, are great fun. Particularly the comments about the facial expressions of an actress with too much Botox and the terrible ‘Cosplay R Us’ costumes such as chainmail bikinis. The sarcasm is strong in this one!I had a feeling from some of the jokes and creatures in this, that she was partly channelling Jonathan Maberry and William Meikle. Which is not a bad thing at all!There’s a definite tentacle/Lovecraft element, which is all I’ll say about it!When the scenery switches to New Orleans, Fredsti literally immerses us in the vibe of that city, taking in Cafe Du Monde; the yummy aroma of coffee and chicory, beignet, and all the glorious sights, scents and sounds of New Orleans and the French Quarter. I’ve been there many years ago, and Fredsti completely captures the atmosphere of the Big Easy.We also get a much more personal view of some of the other characters, and a little of the unreliable narrator, in that Lee tells us her and Seth fight, and she doesn’t understand why he’s suddenly being polite, whereas I think the reader gets where it might be going.The action scenes feel incredibly realistic- no surprise given the author’s previous career, but it adds to the authenticity of the world she has created. This is one of my favourite recent urban fantasy series, with an underlying veneer of darkness veering into horror. And I so want to know more about her intriguing Irish bar owner friend. The hint of the sea surrounds him, like a dashing old pirate/merman, and the combination is intoxicating. The author also takes time to show Lee’s grief at the loss of some of her physical abilities – a genuine condition suffered by people with disabilities. There is so much wealth of world building here, that this could easily top authors like early Laurel K Hamilton, Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong. Give us more of this please Titan and Dana!I can’t wait for the next one.

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