I was hoping that John Levitt’s Dog Days novels would sharpen up their act with Book 2, and I am pleased to say that I wasn’t disappointed. One of the biggest beefs I had with Book 1–our hero Mason’s friends’ annoying propensity to harp on him about what a slacker he is–was pretty much absent from this book. And there’s nice mileage with Mason making music here, and of course, plenty of cute not-really-a-dog mileage with his Ifrit, Lou.
In this installment the crime that has to be solved is the mysterious draining of life essence out of San Francisco practitioners–one of whom is one of Mason’s old girlfriends, Sarah. Mason and his colleagues Eli and Victor must figure out who’s responsible, and the fact that a known dark practitioner from Portland has recently moved into the city seems like a suspect on a silver platter. This is of course Too Easy. A suitably alert reader won’t have trouble figuring out who the perpetrator actually is, but a good bit of the substance of that revelation comes from Mason’s own reaction to it, so it’s okay.
Some of the side plots were the ones that were more interesting to me, though. Campbell, the healer from Book 1, makes another appearance here–and while I was initially disappointed to see her described as Mason’s ex at this point, things are clearly not really over between them, so I’m pleased on that account. There’s mileage with Victor having a potential steady love interest who actually contributes a bit to the plot, and it’s pretty neat just to see the most competent and badassed of Mason’s colleagues being a gay guy. There are new theories thrown around about where Ifrits come from, and in fact, there are intriguing attempts to make new Ifrits that go horribly, horribly wrong and which have ramifications clear into Book 3.
Good fun overall. Four stars.