Lies & Omens: A Shadows Inquiries Novel

BOOK: Lies & Omens: A Shadows Inquiries Novel
10.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


Gods & Monsters

“Lyn Benedict has a gift for intertwining the fantastic with the mundane and creating a story that stops me in my tracks.”

All Things Urban Fantasy

“Another gripping tale of the unconventional PI who keeps eking out an existence that depends on her keeping a cool head in the face of unimaginable horrors while defying gods and immortals with virtually unlimited powers.”

Night Owl Reviews

“The writing continues to be excellent. Benedict evokes a dark mood but breaks it up with occasional snarky humor … Benedict continues to deliver good writing, original choices in antagonists, and, overall, urban fantasy that doesn’t fall into cliché … Read these books!”

Fantasy Literature

“Benedict’s brooding private eye gives her series a film noir feel sparked with the psychedelic colors of inordinately powerful paranormal adversaries. Sylvie Lightner’s … reluctant sense of morality and drive to protect innocents make her one of the most appealing in the relatively new crop of urban fantasy heroes.”

Fresh Fiction

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.”

Fantasy Literature

“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.”


“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.”

RT Book Reviews

Sins & Shadows

“Dark and fascinating.”

—Kat Richardson, national bestselling author of

“Sylvie is harder and darker than the usual paranormal PI, and this story is the better for it.”

CA 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.”

RT Book Reviews

“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

“Pulls out all the stops. Sylvie does battle for no less than the fate of the world.”

—Carrie Vaughn,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Kitty’s Greatest Hits

“A dark, gutsy urban fantasy filled with mythology … I’m looking forward to reading the next installment.”

Fantasy Cafe

Ace Books by Lyn Benedict







Lyn Benedict


Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL,
England • Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin
Books Ltd.) • Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) • Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community
Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive,
Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) • Penguin Books
(South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

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.


An Ace Book / published by arrangement with the author


Ace mass-market edition / May 2012

Copyright © 2012 by Lane Robins.

Cover art by Shane Rebenschied.

Cover design by Lesley Worrell.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ISBN: 978-1-101-56899-6


Ace Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ACE and the “A” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


10    9    8    7    6    5    4    3    2    1

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”



For my mother,
who is oddly fond of Sylvie’s bad behavior


As always, there are many people who should be thanked for helping me bring this book to completion: the local Wednesday Night Writers, who had to hear more of my plot-wrangling than they ever wanted; Barb Webb, who kept a stick handy; and, of course, Caitlin Blasdell and Anne Sowards, who’ve both helped Sylvie run amok through the world.

Table of Contents

Prologue:­ Murder Unmemorable

1:­ Fall Apart

2:­ Unwelcome News

3:­ A Sea of Troubles

4:­ Making News

5:­ Complications

6:­ Government Business

7:­ Bureaucracy &­ Other Monsters

8:­ On the Run

9:­ Regrouping

10:­ Turbulence

11:­ The Good Sister &­ the God

12:­ Unmasking

13:­ Manipulations

14:­ Sisterhood

15:­ Mission-­Minded

16:­ Clearing the Way

17:­ A Fight to Remember

18:­ Getting Gone

19:­ And After


Murder Unmemorable

“I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS,” DETECTIVE RAUL GARZA SAID AGAIN. He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. Afternoon sunlight spilled hot and heavy through the windshield and the open windows. The faux-leather seats had gone sticky and soft, as irritating as his incessant finger drumming. Garza scowled at the world from beneath his mirrored sunglasses.

He wasn’t the only one. Sylvie Lightner had been sitting beside him in the unmarked car for the past three hours. In that period, he’d expressed his doubts about their purpose no fewer than ten times. A frustrated scream built in her chest.

Coming to Key West to help Garza hadn’t been her idea, and it sure as hell wasn’t something she’d do for fun. For work, on the other hand—as Miami’s go-to girl for dealing with the supernatural nasties, this kind of moment was all too common, right down to the thinly veiled dislike Garza showed her. Made sense. Sylvie had so many strikes against her that it was hard to pick out which one bothered him the most. Unlicensed PI with a reputation for trouble? A vigilante who took care of problems the police didn’t want to
acknowledge? A woman with a liking for large-caliber weaponry, a smart mouth, and something dangerous in her blood? Or maybe Garza had caught wind of her change in reputation. It had been bad before. The
Magicus Mundi
—the supernatural world that mingled with the mortal one—had called her
L’enfant du meurtrier
, The Murderer’s Child.

Now they knew her as the New Lilith. The dark heir to an immortal woman who had wanted to make war on her god. If Sylvie’s reputation had been bad before, now it was abysmal. She was unpopular with everyone. Witches. Monsters. Law enforcement. And nosy and controlling government agencies like Internal Surveillance and Investigation, who would rather blame her for the magical problems than deal with them on their own. No one liked her; they all treated her with suspicion and fear.

Sylvie didn’t understand it. It wasn’t like being the new Lilith had done much to change her beyond increasing her innate resistance to inimical magic.

Beyond making us immortal,
her little dark voice said. She ignored it. She often did. It was another genetic legacy, an all-too-active form of ancestral memory. It had its uses, not least its desire to survive, but it also was a little like having the world’s most cynical and angry roommate living in her head. She hoped it was wrong about the immortality thing; on the off chance it wasn’t, she’d started trying to play nice. Forever was a terribly long time to be friendless.

With that thought recurring to her more and more frequently, she had begun to treasure her few allies. So when Detective Adelio Suarez, her only friend in the Miami PD, asked for her help, the answer had to be yes. Suarez had told her that Garza had a major problem,
type of problem. Magical malfeasance with a rising body count.

“I must be out of my mind,” Garza said, reaching for the ignition.

“Six dead men, three dead women in a nightclub two weeks ago,” Sylvie reminded him. “Another eight down for the count last night, in hospital on IVs, still twitching. It’s a classic dance-’til-death curse.”

“I don’t believe in curses,” Garza said. He sat back, took his hand from the keys. Sighed. Spoke again. “I don’t want to believe in curses.”

BOOK: Lies & Omens: A Shadows Inquiries Novel
10.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Just Good Friends by Rosalind James
Whirlwind by Charles L. Grant
The Winding Road Home by Sally John
Kissed by Smoke by Shéa MacLeod
New Beginnings by Cheryl Douglas
This Can't Be Tofu! by Deborah Madison