While I own every title in the Nightcreature series, this is my first Lori Handeland read and taken as a whole, I was not disappointed with my advance reader copy from St. Martin's Press. Ms. Handeland delves into a complex showdown between good and evil with the first in her Phoenix Chronicles series, giving fresh new twists to a wide range of familiar myths and faiths. Many recent paranormal novels have tried (and often failed) to combine multiple legends/pantheons/systems of belief, but Ms. Handeland deftly escapes this minefield by keeping the "how" and "why" simple.
Liz Phoenix is a character who's strength was forged during a brutal childhood, yet still possesses plenty of emotional vulnerability and distinct lack of supernatural prowess that makes her more accessible than some of her more endowed counterparts. A background in police work give her only so many advantages, and told in the first person narrative lets us feel like we're right there with Liz, learning as she goes.
As for the romance: prepare to be singed. The chemistry Liz and her tall, dark, mysterious men (Sawyer and Jimmy Sanducci) is magical. To say anything else would be depriving you guys the pleasure of discovering that heat yourselves.
Despite losing steam during the last fifty pages and a climax that wasn't explosive as its lead-in, Ms. Handeland maintains a forward-charging narrative with compelling characters and unexpected plot twists. If you like paranormals, Any Given Doomsday is definitely worth checking out.