I received an ebook copy of Saintcrow’s The Damnation Affair as a prepub from Netgalley.com.
Lilith Saintcrow’s The Damnation Affair is a standalone entry in the author’s alternate history/steampunk Bannon and Clare series. You really don’t need to read the first book, though you might want to in order to get a better handle on the curious world Saintcrow created.
Our heroine is Catherine Barrowe-Browne, a Boston society girl who takes up a post as schoolmarm in a town called Damnation in order to tack down her wayward brother. As soon as she arrives in the desolate town, she strikes the fancy of good guy Jack Gabriel, the town’s sheriff. So far, the story is pretty much par for the course. But then the zombies turn up. As Catherine tries to find her brother, Gabriel keeps the town safe from zombie incursions and investigates a curious occurrence in the mountains around Damnation. It seems that someone (it doesn’t take much of an effort to work out who) woke up something evil and hungry while trying to find gold. As the town’s positions gets more and more dicey, the plot works up to a very interesting plot twist near the end that changes how you see Catherine and Jack.
Even though the setting remains a little vague and the characters a little shallow, this is a fun read. I really enjoyed the twist; I really was not expecting what happened. And I am very curious to see what happens to these characters next, if Saintcrow works them into the main series as I expect she will.