On the Payroll:  First Shift by Dallas Coleman
On the Payroll, Book One
Torquere Press
Gay / Paranormal
ISBN: 978-1-60370-064-1, 1-60370-064-1
Reviewed by Cassie



Private detective Harry has got some serious issues.  His secretary is a demon (literally!), he doesnít have the money to pay his rent, and his lover is stuck in Limbo.  Just when he thinks things canít get any worse, the angel Gabriel hires him to be a courier for some kind of magical item.  He agrees because it will help his lover, Frankie.  Heís about to start his mission when another angel offers him what seems like a better deal.  Can Harry save Frankie?

On the Payroll: First Shift has the atmosphere of an old hard-boiled detective novel.  Harry trusts no one, curses like a sailor, and is very cynical.  The only thing he cares about is Frankie, a priest he fell in love with and is willing to do anything for.  Despite Harryís many flaws, his deep caring for Frankie had me rooting for him to succeed.  At one point during the story, Frankie is able to contact Harry.  Itís obvious even from their brief interaction that Frankie loves Harry as well, and is worried about him.  I could see why, though, because the angels and demons in the story all seem equally self-absorbed, crafty, and even cruel.  Everything about the politics of heaven and hell comes across as corrupt and dangerous in this story.  At first I felt confused by the litany of characters involved, as many prominent angels and demons are mentioned.  By the time I finished this first installment of a series, however, the major players were clear, even if their motivations werenít.  And of course, the story ended in a cliffhanger.  Dallas Colemanís dark, gritty world and multi-layered characters have definitely hooked me.  Now I am anxiously awaiting the next installment of this series! 


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