The One Where Wench Merit Made Wench Beta Read a Book
Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland
In the middle of October, I still hadn't even read the book that was recommended to me, so I knew I had to gear up and start reading soon if I was going to live up to the challenge.
So time is quickly passing by, Christmas is coming with all its wonderful and fun preparations, a book I've wanted to read since Wench Merit recommended it to me is waiting among the way-too-many books that are on top of my TBR list (which continues to grow bigger and bigger), and I've got too little time to spare for reading, but I've got a challenge to meet and my time is running out. How can I possibly make my deadline?
Apparently, for me, by getting the flu.
Yup, being stuck in bed... feeling miserable and bored to death while everyone else is working, or at school, or doing fun stuff, or even being home making all that noise, talking about their day, laughing, watching TV, playing the piano like my 14 year old daughter does, and making all those wonderful sounds you love and take for granted but can't bear at the moment... opens a little gateway for this book-lover to have the perfect excuse to do nothing but to get lost in another world and forget from time to time just how miserable she feels when enjoying the company of her books and the worlds they take her to.
And today here I am — the book has been read, a review has been written, and it is still 2013. Mission accomplished, woohaa!
Why Kara Gillian for Beta?
Here's what Wench Merit had to say about that:
Oh boy! It has been such a long time since I recommended Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian #1) for Beta. Luckily I still remember why. It was a short time after I finished reading book 5, Touch of a Demon, and was utterly "under the influence". When presented with this challenge, it was the first series/story that came to my mind, a great plot and interesting characters whom I enjoyed and loved very much. You can read my review of this series here.
Read after the jump to see what I thought about the book! And I'll try not to spoil anything!
A Quick Summary
When Homicide Detective Kara Gillian finds traces of arcane power on a body, she quickly realizes that this is no ordinary murder. The serial killer known as the Symbol Man is a nightmare that Beaulac, Louisiana thought had ended three years ago, but now he's back for an encore and leaving every indication on the flesh of his victims that he is well-versed in demonic lore.
Diana Rowland's website
However, Kara is a Summoner of Demons, and may be the only cop on the city's small force who can stop the killer. Able to see and interact with a world most people can't, Kara must draw on her skills as a police officer and master of the arcane to stop the Symbol Man from killing again and possibly summoning something even she can't control.
But with a demonic lord of unearthly beauty and power haunting her dreams, and a handsome yet disapproving FBI agent dogging her waking footsteps, she may be in way over her head....
In the beginning of the book, we learn that Kara Gillian has had two major milestones in her life occur: the first, she has been promoted to Homicide detective at the Beaulac Police Department, and the other, she's just become a full summoner of demons, after summoning a reyza, which is a twelfth-level demon.
A body is found after being horrendously tortured and murdered. It bears the same symbol that a serial killer, called the Symbol Man, had marked his victims with. Three years ago the Symbol Man had killed thirteen people, but all of a sudden the killings had stopped, and he disappeared and was never caught or heard from again. Now it seems he has started again, and Kara, who studied the Symbol Man case files after being promoted to homicide detective, now has the most knowledge about the case. She is made the lead detective in the case by her captain, much to her surprise yet excitement, but much to some of her co-workers' chagrin. She's going to make damn sure that she's "gonna get this fucker", and one of the main questions she has is why has the killer resurfaced now.
And as it turns out, being a demon summoner and knowing a thing or two about demons and their world, which isn't a common knowledge in Beaulac, Louisiana, turns out to be a great asset to the investigation of this case.
At the age of fifteen, Kara finds out that her aunt is a summoner of demons. Her aunt later becomes Kara's mentor, after a demon confirms her suspicion that Kara has the ability to be a summoner. Kara isn't very sociable and never has any visitors except her aunt — well, being a demon summoner might have something to do with that — thus, she lives a lonely life, which she is very well aware of. She has a bit of a low self-esteem issue regarding her physical aspects... which makes me think that some of it might come from her month in foster care.
I think Kara Gillian is a very likable character with whom you can sympathize. She loves her job as a cop and loves being a demon summoner. She's smart, witty, determined, brave, and sassy, and she doesn't let people throw her off balance easily.
Here is one of my favorite scenes that made me want to high-five that gal. A couple of guys at work are complaining about her getting the case, and they try to convince themselves she got it by sleeping with the captain, without realizing that she can hear everything they're saying:
"Hi, guys!" I chirped as I reached for a coffee cup. "Whoo boy, do I ever need a hit of java right now." I gave them both an extra-cheerful grin as I poured the coffee. "All that work fucking the captain in order to get all the good cases is wearing me right the fuck out!" I saluted the two with my coffee cup as they stared at me. "Y'all should try it sometime!" Then I leaned forward and lowered my voice. "But you two should probably practice on each other first so's ya don't embarrass yourselves. I mean, I know it's been ages since either of you has fucked anything other than your hand."
There are several side characters whom I like already: Aunt Tessa, Jill the Crime Scene Technician, who probably comes closest to being called Kara's friend, even though they've never met outside work, and Dr. Jonathan Lanza, the forensic pathologist.
Then there's FBI Special Agent Ryan Kristoff, who at first comes across as stand-offish and disapproving, but later starts to get more interesting. He and Kara form some sort of a buddy relationship with a hint of chemistry. He is nice on the eyes and has a sense of humor, but other than that I don't quite know how I feel about him yet. I'm pretty sure there's something 'demonic' for Kara to find out about him in the books to come, which he might find out at the same time. But whether it is a good thing or not, I guess I'll have to wait and see.
And let's not forget about Rhyzkahl, the "demonic lord of unearthly beauty and power", who comes into Kara's life when she unintentionally summons him, and who haunts her in her dreams. He is as enticing as he is terrifying, and that is an interesting-but-dangerous mixture, so I don't know what to think about him yet either.
All in all, Mark of the Demon is a well balanced combination of Urban Fantasy and crime fiction that doesn't lose its pace. After a while, even though some things were predictable, I found out that I didn't have it all figured out, so it kept me guessing to the end and I loved that. There is one thing I am worried about, since I'm not a big fan of love triangles — I have a feeling the books might head that way, but that remains to be seen.
Kara has a great narrative voice, I like her and her spirit very much, and I look forward learning more about her and the demons. And while Diana Rowland answers a lot of questions in this book, she leaves some unanswered and creates new ones that keep me hooked and curious to read more. I want to thank Wench Merit for recommending this to me. I will for sure be reading the next one and hopefully enjoying it as much as I did this one!
So, Saucy Readers, have you discovered Kara Gillian? Did you, like me, find the first book intriguing enough to keep reading the series? Or if you haven't read it, are you convinced to give it a try? I hope you'll share your thoughts below.