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Sins & Shadows: A Shadows Inquiries Novel Mass Market Paperback – 28 Apr 2009

3.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 357 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books; Original edition (28 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441017118
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441017119
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 2.5 x 17.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,570,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Sins & Shadows pulls out all the stops."

"Full of big adventure, big action, and weird magic."

"Dark and fascinating...Lyn Benedict is definitely going to be a writer to watch for." -- Kat Richardson

About the Author

Lyn Benedict lives in Lawrence, KS.

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sylvie Lightner is no ordinary P.I. She specialises in cases involving the unusual, in a world where magic is real-and where death isn't the worst thing that can happen to you. But when an employee is murdered in front of her, Sylvie has had enough. After years of confounding the dark forces of the Magicus Mundi, she's closing up shop-until a man claiming to be the God of Justice wants Sylvie to find his lost lover. And he won't take no for an answer

I ummed and ahhed for a long time over buying this book. I've been burned far too many times by Paranormal Romances masquerading as Urban Fantasties -- usually claiming to be 'gritty' and 'dark' as well. Thankfully, this one is both of those things. There's very little romance and what there is is very incidental to the broader strokes of the story. It's written in third person (which was a relief to read), with tangible description. The central conflict of this story is very much within Sylvie herself. And this truly makes for the most interesting parts of the novel: those times when her inner voice is telling her one thing but her heart is telling her another. Sylvie isn't the most likeable of UF heroines. She's headstrong, rude and selfish. She is nothing if not well written, and most importantly, written with room to grow.

The worldbuilding is very good; with a slightly different take on the usual tropes. The novel is atmospheric and gritty. I enjoyed the contrast between the sun-filled Miami of Sylvies native city, to the noir supernatural underworld. The other characters in the book include, a witch, her friend Alex, and a rather scary Sphinx. The minor side characters were great fun and the writer certainly has a talent for writing likeable characters (even if she does kill them off two pages later, heh).
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been wading through this book - think treacle - and thought I would encourage myself into finishing it by reading some Amazon reviews. Unfortunately the only one there is no incentive and I don't think I have enough life to give to it. The real problem is that Sylvie is just not attractive in any way as the book's heroine and her over-riding fault is to make decisions on behalf of other people in order to 'protect' them. I don't actually care what happens to Sylvie at all although some of the people she meets in the book are of some interest. As they mainly end up dead I just don't think I can be bothered... I've got Kelley Armstrong and Kim Harrison to read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sylvie Lightner has had enough death and destruction and is trying to close her paranormal detective agency 'Shadows Inquiries'. Unfortunately she has a new client who is so powerful (a god) that she is coerced into investigating for him. Unfortunately the people she contacts during the investigation seem to end up mostly dead or damaged. Interesting urban world, interesting characters, death and destruction, some romance but it still didn't rate 4 stars. I suspect the problem for me is that the emotional impact wasn't dark enough for the plot.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Not bad
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x955fbaf8) out of 5 stars 26 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9562554c) out of 5 stars A Spectacular, Gritty and Exciting New Urban Fantasy! 8 May 2009
By Kathy E. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved everything about this book! Sylvie Lightner P.I. extraordinaire is having a very bad day and it's about to get worse. Syl had the unfortunate experience of interrupting a group of Satanist during their power ceremony. Well, we all know Satanist, right? They just have no sense of humor and now she's the object of their fixation. As if being stalked by Satanists isn't horrific enough, try having a god as a client...... Syl has decided to close up her P.I. business after the Satanist incident but as she's walking out her shop door, the God of Justice (GOJ) appears and insists that she use her skills to locate his lover. The GOJ lover Bran has gone missing and is suspected of being kidnapped. Unable to locate him, GOJ needs Syl and compels her, by means of threats, to take the case. Tension is rising between various gods who covet GOJ's power and would like to use this vulnerability to siphon more power for themselves. During these conflicts, earth is going to hell in a hand basket with widespread cataclysmic events, as a consequence from having too many gods and too much power on earth. Meanwhile, time is not on Bran's side and Syl literally has the fate and weight of the world on her shoulders. Following leads Syl crosses paths with the utmost unwavering and timeless wickedness that she must defeat to retrieve Bran. How do you out-smart a timeless being who has honed their malicious skills and through their relentless cleverness is determined to succeed? I was literally enthralled by this story and actually lost sleep over it, it was so good. This book is creative, fast paced and action-packed. Syl's character is strong, mean and always gets the job done. I highly recommend this book and look forward to the next book in the series.

I also recommend:

Blood Engines (Marla Mason, Book 1)
Succubus Dreams (Georgina Kincaid, Book 3)
Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, Book 3)
Bloodring: A Rogue Mage Novel
Storm Born (Dark Swan, Book 1)
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97bdba08) out of 5 stars A great read, even if you don't like Urban Fantasy 1 May 2009
By A. Murphy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A strong start for a new series, the book focuses on Sylvie Lightner, a (sort of stereotypical but still loveable) temperamental heroine and her PI business dealing with paranormal events, which is about to close down until it gets a job from a god who won't take no for an answer. The plot is the strong point of this book and includes some twists that, while well-hinted at and sensible, aren't entirely predictable. The book itself is well-written above all else and feel a bit like what would happen if Janet Evanovich wrote things that were fantasy and about ten times more intelligent.

Definitely recommended for those who like urban fantasy, those who like fantasy in general, and those who like the conventions of popular thrillers.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9655978c) out of 5 stars An interesting, but not completely fulfilling beginning 24 Dec. 2009
By R. Kyle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I first picked up the book "Sins & Shadows," I believed the volume to be from a freshman fantasy author; however, I was only part correct. In actuality, Lyn Benedict is a pseudonym. The author also writes political intrigue under the name Lane Robins (See "Kings and Assassins", "Maledicts")

Our heroine is Sylvie, the owner of a PI agency. She's about to close up shop and fire her one employee when Kevin Dunne, the God of Justice, walks into the shop and tells her he wants her to find his lost lover Brandon Wolf or else everyone she loves is going to suffer. This urban fantasy takes place in a world where the Gods of Rome are real and just as capricious as the mythos describes them to be.

There are several flaws in this book that detract from this reviewer's enjoyment. "Sins & Shadows" reads like the second book in a series. Terms such as Magicus Mundi, ISI (some kind of government agency), and events within the book are mentioned but not explained fully. If you like me are a character reader this may not be the book for you, Sylvie herself is more of an antihero than a sympathetic lead, so you will not bond with her.

The closing leads me to believe this is the first book in a continuing series for the Shadows. The concept is interesting enough for me to consider picking up the second book, but I would probably have to read a chapter or two in person before I actually made the purchase.

Rebecca Kyle, December 2009
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95629390) out of 5 stars Strong Urban Fantasy 5 May 2009
By HHK - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was an interesting book. Initially, I thought I had stumbled onto book 2 of the series. Several concepts are mentioned (eg. Magicus Mundi, ISI...) without being explained. Also there are references to the death of a friend and in the middle of the book there is mention of a dead husband. This threw me for a loop, and I did an Amazon search to make sure I had not missed a another book in this series. Things are thrown out without explanation and without being referred to ever again. This is why I detracted 1 star from this review.

Having said that, the book was refreshing because there are no vampires and no werewolves! There are however plently of Gods - Greek, Egyptian, Judeo-Christian. I enjoyed the world building. Our heroine, Sylvie is fairly typical of this genre- tough, scarred, angry, etc.

The action moves quickly. This is UF not Paranormal Romance. There is a relationship but with a surprising twist that caught me by surprise, and shows that the author is willing to take risks.

All in all, a good read, if a little uneven.I will definitely read the sequel.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95629540) out of 5 stars "The only good thing about gods is that they prefer their realm to ours." 21 May 2009
By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lyn Benedict also writes political-intrigue fantasy under the name Lane Robins. I learned this before starting _Sins and Shadows_, and I've been wondering ever since whether I'd have figured it out if I hadn't known. The setting, plot, and prose style are completely different from the Lane Robins books, but there are some echoes in the general themes: love, vengeance, and the havoc that gods wreak when they meddle in mortal affairs.

Sins and Shadows introduces us to Sylvie Lightner, nicknamed "Shadows," who works as a sort of paranormal P.I. After a satanic cult kills one of her friends, Sylvie is about to call it quits. Just as she's firing her assistant and packing her office, she is approached by a god in need. Kevin Dunne is the Greek god of Justice, and he's shown up with his Furies in tow, wanting Sylvie to help him find his missing lover.

"Wait," you might say. "There's no male Greek god of Justice that the Furies answer to! And even if there were, he wouldn't be named Kevin!" Sylvie's reaction is much the same. How Kevin became a god is part of the central mystery Sylvie must unravel if she is to save the day.

I really loved the world-building here. Lyn Benedict immerses the reader in a complex setting filled with bureaucracy, gods of various pantheons, and competing agendas. The prose is great too. It's less ornate than the style she uses in Maledicte and Kings and Assassins, but the simpler style suits the gritty modern setting, and she's just as good at evoking beautiful or gory images with her words as she is when she's writing as Lane Robins. The scene that stands out most to me is the novel's (only) sex scene, in which Benedict twines together the romantic emotions with a very different kind of tension; there's a mysterious threat in the background that adds some creepiness to the scene. When I figured out why Sylvie was so affected by certain colors in her partner's room, I got chills.

The biggest sticking point in _Sins and Shadows_ is Sylvie herself. I had a lot of trouble liking her. She pushes people away. She uses people. She loses her temper at the worst possible moments. The good news is, Benedict writes Sylvie's nasty streak into the story in a realistic way. She doesn't just go around mouthing off with no consequences. She gets called on it all the time, and her attitude often lands her and her friends in mortal danger. And once in a while, it works in her favor. Best of all, as _Sins and Shadows_ ends, there is hope for a more-sympathetic Sylvie.

I'll be following the Shadows Inquiries series. The complex world-building, evocative prose, and layered plot are more than enough to make up for a heroine with a whole bag of chips on her shoulder. And as for her, well, I just need to keep in mind that I didn't like Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels much at first, either, and now she's one of my favorite fantasy characters. I'm looking forward to seeing what Sylvie's character arc will be.

This is a very dark urban fantasy without a lot of comic relief, but there was one line that cracked me up; I think Benedict may be giving the subgenre a little affectionate ribbing:

"How many pretty women carry a big gun and an even bigger mouth?"
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