By a twist of fate, Moravian Dark One Paen Scott is the only one of his brothers born without a soul. Paen's only hope is to find his "beloved," who can, supposedly, return his soul. But scholar Paen has little faith in the existence of a beloved.

When a demon appears, claiming that unless Paen locates a long-missing statue of the Jilin god, his mother's soul will be forfeit, Paen is willing to take any risk to save her. Not having any idea where to start looking, he decides to hire a diviner.

Half-elf Samantha Cosse is starting up a P.I. firm with her faery cousin, Clare. Although she got kicked out the Order of Diviner's, Sam is good at finding lost things. Within hours, she suddenly has two dangerous cases: to find a missing ancient manuscript and to locate Paen's missing statue. Paen's dark, reserved nature doesn't stand a chance against Sam's cheerful and feisty exuberance. Could this quest to save his mother's soul actually lead him to his own -- and to the love of his life?

Cheerful mayhem and offbeat characters enliven another MacAlister gem. Witty banter that sparkles with humor and a plot that zips along make even the most outlandish situation seem perfectly reasonable. MacAlister is a rare talent. (May, 368 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith