Written before Darren O'Shaughnessy became a bestselling young adult author as Darren Shan, this gory companion to June 2010's Procession of the Dead is a twisting, paranormal gangster mystery. Al "Algiers" Jeery works for the Cardinal, crime boss of the City. When Al's new girlfriend, Nic, is brutally murdered in one of the Cardinal's hotels, the boss asks Al to investigate. Al dutifully starts researching and quickly learns he knew nothing about Nic. Blind Incan priests, Nic's weird friends, and the terrifying assassin Paucar Wami conspire as Al's life unravels along with the mystery. Events occur in parallel to those of Procession of the Dead, but the stories are quite independent. Readers familiar with Shan's teen titles might need to exercise a bit of patience with the pacing, but fans of dark urban fantasy will eagerly look forward toward City of Snakes, the next installment.