Lane Robins writing as Lyn Benedict is the author of the Shadows Inquiries series. I think you’ll find that all of these books lean toward the lighter side of fantasy literature. Sylvie Lightner’s character lives in Miami, a slightly different Miami from what most people associate with it. This is a place where the magical and godly take up a lot of space.
Sylvie is the owner of Shadows Inquiries, a P.I. firm that investigates the supernatural. Sylvie Lightner fits the mold that most women in urban fantasy seem to be cast to. The difference in these books is that there seems to be a darker undertone, and Sylvie might be slightly darker than the average. Benedict’s writing is good. The plots are as below, so nothing really complicated.
SINS & SHADOWS (2009)
When one of Sylvie’s employees ends up killed during a case, Sylvie decides she has had enough of investigating the weird and unusual. It is time to close shop.
Then Kevin Dunne turns up looking for his lover, and he just will not take no for an answer. Sometimes you just cannot fight “fate” and Sylvie ends up working for Dunne. Knowing who/what Kevin Dunne is does not make the job pressure any lighter – quite the opposite in fact.
Sylvie’s least favorite part of the whole investigation is that she has to involve friends and her employee Alex. Sometimes the consequences are anything but good and the battle Sylvie has to fight is against herself and the supernatural community.
Sins & Shadows is great entertainment and has no pretensions of grandeur. It delivers what it promises – escape from reality for a while.
GHOSTS & ECHOES (2010)
Once again Benedict writes an entertaining book about the world of Sylvie Lightner. As the title says, ghosts will appear.
During the investigation of what appears to be simple burglaries, Sylvie discovers the involvement hands of glory. On top of looking into the burglaries, Sylvie has to look after her rebellious sister, Zoe. Sylvie feels she has more than enough on her plate.
But the fates would have it otherwise. While investigating the burglaries case, Sylvie is approached by detective Adam Wright who thinks he has picked up the ghost of a dead man. Against her will, Sylvie is drawn into the fate of detective Wright.
Ghosts, black magic and a wayward sister are bound to make for an exciting time for Sylvie. Fortunately for her she has her trusted employee, Alex, helping her out.
GODS & MONSTERS (2011)
The third novel in the Shadows Inquiries series follows in the path of the first two. Once again Sylvie Lightner is confronted with a mystery that only she is able to solve (with the help of a few others).
The legacy of her bloodline – with all of its inherent anger – continues to plague Sylvie. What others might think of as the gift of the century, Sylvie feels is more of a curse. But she will find it invaluable during the process of the novel.
Five women turn up dead in the Everglades. While something feels off about the whole thing, Sylvie decides this is probably a regular murder case. Hah, hah. When the bodies come to life and start killing, Sylvie has to step in and take what help she can in figuring out what dark magic is afoot.
The help of a necromancer is what Sylvie ends up with. Together they end up confronting the world of gods, and once again Sylvie decides that the gods are not all that great.
LIES & OMENS (2012)
The three people Sylvie cares most about are threatened. Zoe, Alex and Demalion are the one thing that can bring Sylvie out of her hiding and into investigating the magical attacks on Internal Surveillance and Investigation government agency.
What Sylvie has discovered throughout the other three books is that she needs help and does not have to do everything alone. That is definitely true in Lies & Omens. Sylvie will need all the help she can get in order to save the mundane world from the magical one.
As a final book in the Shadows Inquiries’ series, Lies & Omens works pretty well. The conclusion tied up loose ends and felt satisfactory.