The Spawn of Lilith by Dana Fredsti
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
Hollywood is full of supernatural beings. Directors, agents, cast and crew, there are very few pure humans in show biz. Lee Striga is the only human female stunt woman, trained by the legendary Katz Stunt Crew. After a life-threatening fall on a job, Lee needs some time to recover, and a few jobs that don’t involve jumping off any tall buildings. Landing a gig as a combat stunt double on the movie Pale Dreamer, Lee quickly realises not everyone is what they seem, which is saying something. Someone is killing the cast and crew and it’s up to Lee to find out who before she’s next.
Using first person perspective, straight away we are in the middle of Lee’s accident and recovery which put her career on halt. Everything about her is relatable from her new reluctance for certain stunts as she tries to rebuild her confidence, to her desire for independence, and the smile she wears on the outside to hide her dark thoughts about the vain, self-centred starlets she’s forced to work with. I found her point of view engaging which took me through the first half of the book where the action was slower as there is a lot of detail about the industry, both on and off camera.
Those details brought an extra dimension to the story. Fredsti is an actress with a background in theatrical sword play, this is what she knows. These touches of realism, the long waiting periods, the endless ‘making-do’ on low budget movies ground the novel in what is otherwise a glorious fantasy of supernatural beings hiding in plain sight. The behind the scenes look at Hollywood as a stunt person is refreshing as it is a lesser seen side which was fascinating in its own right.
Fredsti uses horror vignettes to break up the single person perspective. There are two distinct threats heading Lee’s way which she is unaware of until she’s in the thick of it. For me it was never about who is responsible but why. A reader will pick up the clues and put everything together, what we don’t understand is the motivation which kept me guessing till the end. That said, there was a twist in antagonists I didn’t see coming, heightening my enjoyment.
The Spawn of Lilith is a great series setting book, a prologue for the others to follow. It ticked all the same boxes as the Anita Blake series. It’s definitely a must for anyone who loves paranormal adventure and romance. And the best part is book two, Blood Ink, came out this April so I can go straight into it without a break.