by Christina Henry
Release date: November 30, 2010
As an Agent of Death, Madeline Black is responsible for escorting the souls of the dearly departed to the afterlife. It's a 24/7 job with a lousy benefits package.
Maddy's position may come with magical abilities and an impressive windspan, but it doesn't pay the bills. And then there are her infuriating boss, tenant woes, and a cranky, popcorn-loving gargoyle to contend with.
Things start looking up, though, when tall, dark, and handsome Gabriel Angeloscuro agrees to rent the empty apartment in Maddy's building. It's probably just a coincidence that as soon as he moves in, demons appear on the front lawn. But when an unholy monster is unleashed upon the streets of Chicago, Maddy discovers powers she never knew she possessed. Powers linked to a family legacy of tarnished halos.
Powers that place her dicectly between the light of Heaven and the fires of Hell...
I received this book courtesy of Rex Robot Reviews.
Black Wings is easily one of the best debut urban fantasy novels of the year. Henry has created an easily believable alternate-Chicago universe. Madeline Black is an Agent of Death with a paperwork-obsessed boss, a gargoyle for a best friend, and an apartment building in desperate need of a tenant. Being an Agent of Death is more of a fate-appointed position than a paying job, holding down a traditional 9 to 5 isn't exactly possible when you have to run out on a regular basis to help guide souls to the afterlife. When Gabriel Angeloscuro shows up, Maddy thinks that things may finally be looking up. But when a demon shows up and people start dying with no record of where their soul goes after death, Maddy starts getting suspicious. She must uncover some long-buried family secrets before she can discover the truth.
Maddy is a fantastically snarky character. She lives alone in an apartment building she inherited from her mother at the tender age of 13. Her best friend and protector is an adorable gargoyle named Beetle. Her boss is J.B., a paperwork hound and general jerk. And Gabriel is, well, gorgeous. Mysterious. Potentially dangerous. Of course Maddy is drawn to him. Family secrets, intrigue, and death seem to follow Maddy wherever she goes. It's just a great story.
If you enjoyed Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series, you will enjoy Black Wings.