Not long after starting R. S. Belcher's The Night Dahlia, I had to go look up the previous volume in this series just to refresh my memory on Latham Ballard and his drunken magic.
So, this volume is not quite as conspiracy heave as the previous volume, although a fairly large one looms later on in the book as the mystery coalesces between Where is Crystal vs. How is she related to the previous serial murders that drove Latham out of LA several years ago?
Let's start at the beginning. The first chapter concerns Latham's continuing deal with the Devil, then we get to meet Ankou, a rather large presence in the Fae world who's also quite rich. Ankou's daughter vanished several years ago and no one can figure out where she is, leading Ankou to find her. A few deals are struck, and Latham is off to Greece with Vigil the Knight in tow. In Greece, connections are made, and we end up in the City of Angels, where Latham trained to be a Nightwise and ended up dropping out of the program. (There's a lot of information presented with this, in dribs and drabs. By far the most attention getting to me was that the Nightwise are funded by The Builders, out of the Brotherhood of the Wheel.)
Again, the actual mystery goes plaid over time, with cameos by Charles Manson, evil Buddhists half human crash carts, a few really seedy and one mildly classy sex clubs...drugs, alcohol...
Really though, much of the book is the gradual redemption of Latham from his own demons. And boy does he have a few. But really, exploring previous interpersonal relationships he had in LA when he was sure he was a good guy and how he started down the road he's been on and the start of climbing out of the hole his life is when everyone is telling him he can't is an interesting story hiding behind some very strange narrative points.
I look forward to returning to him whenever that time comes.