The Damnation Affair
by: Lilith Saintcrow
Fantasy / Horror / Western
Released: November 2012
Catherine is on a mission to find her missing brother at all costs. In his letter, he hinted at a claim with gold out west, so that's where she'll start her search. Taking the job of schoolmarm, she establishes herself in the town of Damnation, hoping to find her brother safe and sound. Instead she finds no trace of him, only of a wary town trying to keep themselves safe . In a world where magic keeps the undead at bay, and only a blessing will make sure your loved ones stay dead, Catherine has no idea just how dangerous a place she's ended up in...
When Jack sees the new schoolmarm step off the train, he doesn't understand why a woman of such obvious high breeding is doing in a place like Damnation. Everyone in town is there to escape something or someone in their past, and he wonders what the uptight and proper miss is running from. As sheriff of the town, he knows it's his job to find out. And once he realizes why she's there, he knows he won't be able to help. For Jack's the one that killed her brother, and for good reason. There's evil in the hills where the gold lies, and it seems like the dead, including Catherine's brother, don't want to stay in the ground where they belong.
This book is set in the same world as Lilith Saintcrow's Bannon and Clare series, but this one takes place in the West. In this world, steam powered machines are the norm, and mancy and the undead are everywhere. It's a dark world where danger lurks around every corner, waiting to devour the unsuspecting. This is the first book I've read of hers that the man takes the lead in being super awesome and kick ass. To be fair though, while Jack is an awesome character, Catherine more than holds her own. She's thrown herself into a dangerous situation, but will do whatever it takes and face any threat to find her brother. Jack has a dark secret, one that will turn the town against him if it comes to light. He's not the knight on the white horse, but he's not afraid to get dirty to get the job done. Lilith Saintcrow is on my auto-read list because she can take an idea, and make it seem truly believable. She takes the darker aspects of humanity and makes us see them in a whole new light. While this one really didn't have too many true steampunk elements we're used to, it's still a great book.
Carla gives this book a