Cass Jones discovered corruption in his police station and got half the squad sent to jail. Now he’s not the most popular man around but he’s going to need all the help he can get. Teenagers across the city seem to be committing suicide, all leaving messages talking about the chaos in the darkness and Cass needs to find the connection. Terrorists have exploded bombs across London and around the world and Cass needs to find out how this is connected to the Bank. Someone in the Network stole his nephew and that’s just personal. Cass is kept busy with official and private investigations and it still seems like someone is out to get him. Keeping one step ahead of Mr. Bright isn’t going to be easy…
‘The Shadow Of The Soul’ is the second in ‘The Dog-Faced Gods’ trilogy by Sarah Pinborough. Picking up right from where book one, ‘A Matter Of Blood’, left off.
The emphasis is more on the crime this time, with a good plot involving linked suicides, coupled with a sinister background of terrorist bombings around the world. It felt like I was reading a proper crime novel and not a half-formed idea, which was the impression I was left with at the end of book one. Needless to say, the supernatural element is still present but again it felt like a complete story. The balance was really good between the detective and the fantasy and I felt like every criticism I had of the first book was solved in ‘The Shadow Of The Soul’.
Perhaps that was due to the pace of the book, which was fast but not unrelenting. It kept twisting and turning and wasn’t reliant on a quick fix to tie everything together. Instead, bits of the puzzle were solved gradually, resulting in a much more satisfying story from beginning to end.
Maybe it was also the characters that made it such a good read. There was a bit of a purge at the end of book one and it felt almost like a fresh start here. Those characters that remained were much more fully explored and I was glad to see Hask and Ramsey back again. I even felt a connection to the now somewhat more likeable or at least more understandable Cass that I didn’t get before. Mr. Bright and his shadowy Network had much more page time and it was great to learn more about them and their associates. The new characters also feel much more real and start to hook you into their lives from the moment they are introduced, particularly Cass’ new sergeant, Toby Armstrong, and the Prime Minister’s assistant, Abigail Porter.
I really liked this book, it was exactly what I’d hoped for when I first picked up the series and really looking forward to seeing how all the strands come together in the final book in Pinborough’s horror/crime trilogy.
(pub: Gollancz. 416 page enlarged paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK only). ISBN: 978-0-57508-951-8)