The main character, Kaylin, has a history - a background that begins to be revealed as the story progresses, but with much a mystery.
As the first in a series (currently still being published) Cast in shadow leaves so much unanswered that you really do need to keep on with the series.
Quick precis: Kaylin is a Hawk, a law officer, in a city in a fantastical world. The Hawks contain members of many races: Aerin (winged-people); Barrani (elf-like); humans; one Leontine (lion-people) and one dragon. There is also the Tha'alani (mind-readers, for want of a short description). In other words, a complete otherworldly cast.
There is also crime. And murder. Most particularly, a series of murdered young children - in a case similar to one six years previously, when Kaylin was herself a child. The similarities are so strong, that Kaylin is brought into the case, along with Severn (from her past) and Tiamaris (the dragon in the Hawks). The trio are sent into Lord Nightshade's Fief (basically a gangland, ruled by a Fieflord, rather than the rule of Imperial Law).
Kaylin is a very human hero - her reaction to meeting Severn is telling. But is only after many pages you discover why. Her trigger-point is children, a fact which never alters through the series. Sometimes you want to climb into the book and shake her. Which goes to show, just how emotionally involved you become in the story, and the characters. For me, that's a sign of a very well-written book. Another? In less than a week, I've read the next two in the series. Which isn't bad, considering I don't have much time for reading...
If you like this, then you could try:
- The rest of the series.... you can find a complete list on the author's website.
- Dragon precinct by Keith R. A. DeCandido.
- If it's the police / investigative nature that appeals, then try Vodka doesn't freeze, which Brilla reviewed earlier.
- The Poison and Glass books by Maria Snyder.
- Precinct 13 by Tate Hallaway, which I've reviewed.
- Dark currents by Jacqueline Carey.
- Spider's bite by Jennifer Estep, reviewed by Brilla.