The Shadow of the Soul is the second book in the noir/horror series The Forgotten Gods/The Dog-Faced Gods by Sarah Pinborough. Ace Trade is releasing the books here in the US a couple of months apart from one another as each was previously published in the UK between 2010-2011. The Shadow of the Soul picks up almost exactly where A Matter of Blood left off. DI Cass Jone has met with some success in his past cases but that success has cast a harsh light on the corruption within the London police force; a fact further ostracizing him from his peers. To make matters worse the lingering court cases resulting from his work in A Matter of Blood have left him with a boring case load. Of course that won’t remain the case as a series suicides hits London’s student body all linked by the mysterious phrase “Chaos in the Darkness.”
A Matter of Blood is the first in Sarah Pinborough’s Forgotten Gods (or Dog-Faced Gods if you’re in the UK) horror/noir series. I have a soft spot for urban fantasy but am pretty particular about the quality of the material in that subgenre. While many books in the urban fantasy realm stick to the somewhat conventional realm of mystery A Matter of Blood mixes together the gritty world of noir with horrific dark fantasy to create a vivid world painted in shades of gray. A Matter of Blood takes place in a near-future London where the economy is in shambles, detectives work on bonuses for convictions, corruption is rife (to offset the fact that those bonus are tied up in an overtaxed court system), and the seemingly powerful Bank has its hands in everything. Detective Inspector Cass Jones is a jaded but surprisingly hard-working police officer ostracized by his peers due to an undercover job that went wrong. Cass is about as honest as a corrupt cop can get and throughout the novel seems compels to catch whoever is responsible even when easier targets could be made to take the fall.