I’m always on the hunt for an urban fantasy series to love and this one has potential. While I’m not ready to call it love yet, I will say that it had some really good things going for it and I definitely liked it enough to tackle book two in the series.
Our heroine is Kara Gillian. She is a cop who summons demons in her spare time. That doesn’t make her a bad person. Demons aren’t intrinsically evil; they’re just powerful beings from a different dimension. But most people don’t even know they exist. Anyway, Kara has just been promoted to a homicide detective and the first case she lands is one she has been studying for years.
A serial killer, known as the Symbol Man, has started killing again for the first time after a three year break. The last time he killed, Kara was new to the force and only caught a glimpse of the arcane magic hovering around the victim’s body. Now, she can get a closer look to determine whether magic plays a part in the horrific crimes. Sure enough, it does.
The story follows Kara as she works to unravel who the killer is and why he is torturing and killing his victims the way he does. In the meantime, she is dealing with the other members of a newly formed task force –and curious FBI agent Ryan Kristoff. Plus, her summoning activities are catching up with her in a big way. You see, what should have been a summoning for a lower level demon ended with a demon lord in her basement. Rhyzkahl is terrifying –and beautiful. And for some incomprehensible reasons, Kara has sex with him, making a big mess, even bigger.
So there is a killer carving up homeless people. There is an FBI agent nosing into her secrets. And there is an insanely powerful demon haunting her dreams and getting her off. No one can say this book is boring. What they can say is that other than her bizarre lapse in judgement in sleeping with Rhyzkahl, our heroine is smart and tough and generally pretty likeable. I mean, it’s nice to read a book about a woman who is pushing 30, downs a half dozen chocolate donuts, and then actually has to worry about them making her sick or fat. She isn’t perfect, beautiful, or insanely powerful, which is actually kind of a nice change for the genre.
The mystery is actually quite good. I didn’t figure it out, but I still felt like it made sense. I was intrigued by Ryan, despite his inauspicious introduction. But Rhyzkahl… I had mixed feelings, especially when it came to the sex. Don’t get me wrong, I like sex in my urban fantasy. But the sexy times between him and Kara felt off. We get a pseudo-explanation for his motives in the end, but it was still didn’t quite fit. The fact that there was some sex in the book does give me hope, though, that there will be romance in later installments. (Here’s hoping!)
That one thing aside, I thought the book was well done. The word-building is interesting and easy to understand. The plot moves along nicely, and the pacing picks up once all of the players are established. I like Kara and I am interested in what will happen with her next.
Click to purchase: Amazon
Mark of the Demon
by Diana Rowland
Release Date: June 23, 2009