Every year, I make a New Years Resolution to read one long work of literature that I never read before. This past year, the book was Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, and I barely got that melodramatic sucker done before 2019 rang in. To reward myself, I picked up something I knew I’d probably like and could read fairly quickly.
That meant I went into my Kindle’s stored books and found the seventh book in author Craig Schaefer’s Daniel Faust series Double or Nothing.
Magician and con man Daniel Faust is settling into his new job. He’s the head of the alliance of criminal types who run all the dishonest business in Las Vegas. His girlfriend Caitlin, the Hound of the Prince of Hell that runs that part of the world (Daniel knows for a fact that Hell controls the Earth but Hell is divided into sub-kingdoms and no one seems to have seen the devil in a good, long time and he’s fine with that since demons are generally portrayed as regular people) is doing well with her own career. They are, in fact, a power couple. As such, Faust decides to make nice with the mayor of Vegas by seeing if there’s anything he can do for the city in exchange for the mayor looking the other way on some things.
That’s how Faust’s world works. One of my favorite details from this series is that casinos are off-limits to everybody because the big corporations that run those things will hurt you no matter how much magic you know.
As it is, the mayor does have something he can do. There’s a new designer drug called “ink” that does really bad things. If Faust can stop it from coming to Vegas, that would be a good start.
And then a shapeshifting woman with a manipulative side calls in a favor of her own: steal an ancient knife of some kind from a rich collector in Austin, someone Faust has encountered in the past who might have problems of his own.
What follows is a crazy run as Faust runs afoul of all sorts of people. That’s par for the course for Faust. Schaefer’s chapters tend to be a bit short but exciting, and even if the overarching plot involving the mysterious entity known only as the Enemy doesn’t advance that much, Schaefer seems to use this series to tell a series of trilogies, so I am guessing this is book one in the third trilogy. A new villain is introduced, and a reoccurring one plots some more, but the best part of this book, aside from the demonic bounty hunters (yeah, those things) is the relationship between Faust and Caitlyn. I have always appreciated that Schaefer writes Caitlyn as more than some sort of hot demon arm candy for Faust. The two have what feels like an actual relationship, and the books have been planting seeds of doubt about Caitlyn. Faust has been ignoring them for as long as possible, but it finally comes to the front. Caitlyn is a succubus after all. She can easily manipulate a man’s emotions. Has she done that to Faust? This book finally answers that question, and I was satisfied by the answer. It was appropriate. Plus, Caitlyn’s Prince/father Sitri showed up and made what could easily be seen as dad jokes.
This is that kind of series.
If I did have a complaint, it was Schaefer continually referencing his other series in this universe about FBI magician Harmony Black. It was a bit like Schaefer was trying to make sure the readers of this series read the other one, and it was a little bit obnoxious. Otherwise, I had fun with this one. 8.5 out of 10 weapon selections.