When a serial killer threatens not only Nodlon, but also Jack Clay’s prestigious name, the charming half-elf will have to rise to the occasion and show the Black Dwarf just what he is made of.
After nearly losing his life in the incidents of the first book, Jack Clay, the half-elf magic user, is back with more adventures, more magic, more humor, to charm us away. The Black Dwarf is pretty much unstoppable, killing as he pleases, but it seems like he’s not satisfied with all the deaths he’s caused so far. Now he intends to take Jack out of his way – and he almost makes it, by framing Jack for his crimes using means previously thought impossible to Jack and his allies. Having to run from the law, Jack and Shotgun, his trusted butler and hacker extraordinaire, find themselves in the Ninth Ring. They believe they have finally – even if accidentally – stumbled upon the Black Dwarf’s lair. Is it true? And if it is, can they bring the fiend to justice at long last?
Now, you don’t need me telling you how much Knight’s characters can take a reader and instantly make their day with their witty dialogue. Or how much I enjoyed the mixture of magic and technology in the story, none of them surpassing the other and keeping a perfect balance. I already praised all those things in the previous book, so I’ll go ahead and tell you that you get the previous package of such goodies in this book, and then some.
Because this time around, we don’t just get the action and mystery of watching Jack trying to find what proves to be his biggest enemy, the Black Dwarf. We also get to see him unlock more and more of his power, surpassing what he believed his limits to be. With no other people around him but Shotgun, it is easier to see Jack’s growth as a character and a man, to watch him stand up despite his fear – and against all odds, since he is now without the power that his name has given him so far. Thus, he can rely on no one but himself. And Shotgun, of course. This new order of things allows the reader to see more sides of the trusted sidekick that wormed his way into our hearts with his sarcasm and “delicate” verbal jabs in the previous book – and it made me love him even more!
There is, of course, the problem of Jack being too good a little too suddenly for my taste, but his smart plan of infiltrating his enemy’s lair and the fact that, as I said earlier, he’s doing some magnificent growing up in this book, made up for it. The pace was much faster than before, too, and so the story rolled out in a much smoother, speedier (is that even a word?) way.
It’s clear that Mr. Knight is not only a very good writer, but that he’s also willing to work harder and evolve in the field. Much like his characters, this particular author shows growth and signs of being able to keep said growth going. I’m glad I got to read his second Cretaceous Clay book, and I can’t wait to see just how much better he can get. I can’t thank him enough for giving me the opportunity to witness Jack’s new adventure – and I can’t wait to see just what else fate has in store for the charming fellow and his dwarf. Let’s just hope he doesn’t kill him by accident – and that Shotgun will finally obey that one command: “No dying on the job” and all, right? Oh, who am I kidding? With Jack as your boss – and the main character – you can never truly know…
***I was given a free copy from the writer in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***