Devil’s Call is one hell of a story, a bloody weird western propelled by protagonist Li Lian’s remarkable voice.
Li Lian is the mixed race daughter from a family where witchery runs on the female line. She follows her husband, a former army doctor, to the Nebraska frontier. It is there that something goes terribly wrong.
Li Lian’s husband is killed. Killed by men who left no tracks. Li Lian must track them down with nothing but the help of a drunken butcher and her own magic and with a former cavalry commander turned lawman on her heels.
Devil’s Call is written from the POV of Li Lian, writing to the daughter she is pregnant with when her husband is killed. Li Lian does many stupid things. They’re a lot easier to swallow when it is an older, wiser Li Lian admitting as much. She has enough self-awareness to recognize her flaws and mistakes, if not to rectify them or avoid making new ones.
The aforementioned drunken butcher, Roger Hawking, balances the book by providing some humor and keeping it from getting too dark too quickly.
Devil’s Call is a slow burn, and 275 pages proves to be the perfect length to bring things to a boil. Dorn ever so slowly begins to suggest just how much Li Lian’s vengeance will cost and just how dangerous the man who killed her husband is. Devil’s Call turns into something genuinely horrifying.
5 of 5 Stars.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of Devil’s Call through NetGalley.
SF: Devil’s Call by J. Danielle Dorn was originally published at Every Day Should Be Tuesday.