Review: Secrets of the Demon by Diana Rowland

Secrets of the Demon

Kara Gillian #3

Written: Diana Rowland [website]

Published: DAW

When: January 4, 2011

ISBN: 0756406528

Cover blurb: Homicide detective Kara Gillian has a special talent: she can sense the “arcane” in our world, and there’s quite a bit of it, even in Beaulac, Louisiana. She’s also a summoner of demons, and works on a task force that deals with supernatural crimes. Her partners are attractive and smart FBI agents, but they’re not summoners, and they’re not telling Kara why they are on this special force with her.

To make things worse, Kara has pledged herself to one of the most powerful of demons-a Demon Lord-who helped save her partner’s life, but now expects things in return. Meanwhile, she’s trying to solve a string of murders that are somehow tied together by money, sex, rock music and…mud. But how can she concentrate on the case when she’s not even sure who-or what-her partners are?

My Review:

It’s not a secret that I love pretty much everything Diana Rowland writes, including most of her tweets. This is an author whose writing grabs you by the hair and drags you bodily into the story. The mysteries haven’t been so complex that you can’t follow them, and she’s certainly surprised me a time or two, but this series isn’t one that’s going to cause you to think overly much. This is a perfect book for a rainy Saturday — or a sick Wednesday, in my case.

This is the third in the series, so I won’t go too much into the plot details. I wouldn’t want to ruin anything, and believe me when I tell you that this book has the best surprises in the series so far. Suffice to say that Kara and her FBI task force partners Zach and Ryan end up investigating several strange murders, one or two of which appear at first glance to be accidents – except for the strange mud and arcane resonance at the scenes.

The author has vast prior experience with both law enforcement and dead bodies (and I don’t) so her procedures and work-related character interactions are believably real. Kara’s behavior with Rhyzkahl is annoying as hell, but since I have beef with any heroine who magically jumps into bed with people she doesn’t know (which pretty much keeps every romance novel in existence off my book shelves), I’m not going to hold that against her. Especially since, to my great relief, the sex does actually further the storyline instead of just being a distracting interlude from it. This is a talent of Rowland’s, and one I’m pleased to see. I am taking a quarter star off my rating, only because Rhyzkahl’s “I’m going to bone you in every room of your house” line made me roll my eyes. Otherwise, this would be a 5 star book.

The cover art has changed, disappointingly – as it was gorgeous before. However, it’s understandable that this would happen, since the author had to change publishing houses in order to sell more books in the series. They could put abstract art of squishy deer farts on the cover of the next one, for all I care, as long as we get a next book. And really, the art on this one isn’t hideous, it just doesn’t pop quite like the first two did. I’m easy to please, really. As long as the cover doesn’t involve any form of man-boobs, I’m good to go.

Now, as to the surprises in this book – there were two fairly big ones. Okay, REALLY BIG ones. No, I’m not going to tell you what they are. The first one I didn’t see coming at all. I should have, in retrospect. The clues were subtle, but they were there. On the other hand, I enjoy novels that make me yell things that would look like “WTF?!?!” if they were done on the internet.  I figured out the second reveal — which occurs on the VERY LAST PAGE (no peeking!) – based on the first one. I’m pleased that I got to have both a “WTF” moment and a smug “I knew that was going to happen” in the same book. It’s like a Reese’s – chocolate and peanut butter are best when they’re together.

I don’t know what else I can say. I read both this book and Faith Hunter’s Mercy Blade a couple of weeks ago when I had to stay home for a day due to an illness. They’re a perfect combination, so I encourage you to go catch some sort of bug so you can stay home and read them both. (Okay, not really. I suppose you don’t have to actually make yourself ill to do this.) If you like urban fantasy and you’re not reading this series, I’m not entirely sure that we can stay friends in the future. So what are you waiting for?

[xrr rating=4.75/5 imageset=default]

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