Welcome to the world of Kara Gillian, a cop with a gift. Not only does she have the power of “othersight” to see what most people can’t even imagine, but she’s become the exclusive summoner of a demon lord. Or maybe it’s the other way around. The fact is, with two troublesome cases on her docket and a handsome FBI agent under her skin, Kara needs the help of sexy, insatiable Lord Rhyzkahl more than he needs her. Because these two victims, linked by suspicious coincidence, haven’t just been murdered. Something has eaten their souls.
It’s a case with roots in the arcane, but whose evil has flowered among the rich, powerful, and corrupt in Beaulac, Louisiana. And as the killings continue, Kara soon realizes how much there’s still to learn about demons, men, and things that kill in the night—and how little time she has to learn it.
Kara Gillian’s life has settled down now that the dust has cleared from her recent disappearance. After a month long leave she’s back at work and trying hard to cope without her Aunt Tessa. But, she soon discovers the body of her coworker and fellow officer dead of apparent suicide which unleashes a fresh wave of arcane horrors.
Only she can see the mysterious rending of his essence, or life force, from his body leaving her to question if in fact he wasn’t murdered. Soon other bodies begin piling up with their essences ripped away just as unnaturally from their bodies, each escalating in its grotesque violence. Unable to fathom what creature could be capable of consuming essences Kara is once again in need of help only a demon can provide.
But, it’s not only the odd murders have her thoughts buzzing. It would appear her aunt applied a thick layer of the deadly wards to protect her library where she keeps all of her books on the arcane, a room where Kara is certain the answers to how to return her aunt’s missing essence as well as clues to what could be doing this new round of killings. Unable to open the wards, she invokes the help of a reyza demon, but when the wards come down all hell begins breaking loose in the city as mysterious creatures begin showing up seemingly stalking her, or is it Agent Ryan Kristoff htat's being stalked?
Anxiously looking for answers she seeks the council of Lord Rhyzkahl who comes with his own price-be his personal summoner.
In this second novel in the Kara Gillian--Demon Summoner series by Diana Rowland, we are once again catapulted into the world of the arcane. But, it’s not the overly supernatural world of other series. This one pulses with the mundane reality as we know it with a slight tinge of the paranormal, where demons are able to summoned to offer aid and knowledge by those proficient at shaping and controlling essence. Though demon is contextually synonymous with Hell, these creatures aren’t evil…exactly. But, neither are they good. They are restrained by a strict honor system, but in this novel we are shown how flexible that system is by Kehlirik, a reyza demon Kara has summoned in the past. While he doesn’t exactly betray her, he also doesn’t take it upon himself to mention a dangerous mushy portal in the library she has asked him to un-ward, a portal that would give him honor and prestige in his own realm. It was something of an eye opening experience, both to her and the reader, to finally see the mercenary aloofness of a demon we were beginning to consider an ally and friend and it leaves you to consider the creatures that are being dealt with. While not exactly brimming in good will towards them, I still really enjoyed the addition of the lesser demons in this book. It added another layer to the story by portraying demons in a less hellish light that was both interesting and refreshing leaving me hoping for even more summonings in the next installment to learn more about them.
The character progression is once again superb in this novel. With lot of emotional snags causing chaos within the characters lives. It gives the sense of believability to them as if the characters could literally step from the pages. While the angst of Kara’s relationship with Ryan is still ongoing and ambiguous in nature it adds yet more suspense to an already suspenseful detective mystery. But, to Kara and the reader, he still carries a big question mark over his head. We are given few clues to what he is or why he is known in the demon realm, but we definitely know that he is more then he appears. Something hinted at by Rhyzkahl on more then one occasion. But, along with these stalwart characters, we are introduced to more of the people surrounding Kara, people she didn’t even realize she could count as friends. Jill returns this time to discover Kara’s secret and Zack also brings some surprises of his own. All are instantly likable and three dimensional without having to be truly indoctrinated into who they are or what their histories are. I was left with the impression of knowing them while still being intrigued by all that I don’t know.
However, while I loved most of the aspects of this novel, this mystery is a little more chaotic then Rowland’s debut novel of the series. The characters are easily confused as we don’t have much knowledge of them and we never really meet many of them. Essentially they are figureheads of the community with the label ‘suspect’ attached to them and most end up with their essences devoured viciously anyway. But, the mystery itself is still tangled and delightfully surprising even without being able to immediately identify suspect A from suspect B.
Despite what little trouble I had with the book, Rowland delivers a true page turner that utilizes urban fantasy with a whopper of a police procedural. Filled with twists and turns on every front even the ending will have you begging for more.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Scars.
Advisory: This book contains some sexual situations