Tour’s Books Blog

January 15, 2011

New Paranormal UF and a Paranormal Romance

The third installment in The Kara Gillian series is another really good combination of police mystery and UF.  This is becoming a favorite series of mine.

  • Title: The Secrets of the Demon (Kara Gillian Book #3)
  • Author:  Diana Rowland
  • Type:  Paranormal UF mystery with ongoing personal story
  • Genre:  Louisiana police procedural with supernaturals
  • Sub-genre:  A police detective is also a demon summoner tried to solve a series of deaths that has political consequences
  • My Grade: B- (3.8*)
  • Rating:  PG-13
  • Length and price:  Full novel 90,000 words for $7.99
  • Where Available:  Available at most bookstores
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased from online bookstore

In book 1 of this series, Kara made a deal with a Demonic Lord for help getting her aunt’s soul back in her body.  That agreement tied her to Lord Rhyzkal and required her to summon him at least once a month.  Demons are not inherently evil, but adhere to a strict and unbending code of honor.  When summoning a demon, an agreement is reached between summoner and demon and each side must abide by the agreement.  Having an oathbound summoner, as Kara is to Lord Rhyzkal, is a matter of great consequence in the Demon realm and the summoner is treated with great respect because of the association.  But it would seem Kara’s gifts, much enhanced by learning from Rhyzkal, is bringing her unexpected danger as well.

In Mark of the Demon, we met two FBI agents, Ryan Kristoff and Zack Garner.  In Blood of the Demon, Kara’s closer association with Ryan and Zack leave her questioning what they really are.  Some of those questions are answered in Secrets of the Demon.

Secrets of the Demon opens at a Goth club in New Orleans with loud music and a threat to the lead singer of the band due to take the stage.  With the ‘Task Force’ trio of Kara, Zack and Ryan, is New Orleans Detective Marco Knight.  Kara had summoned a 10th level demon, a zhurn.  A note threatening Lida Moran, the niece of a politically connected businessman in Beaulec, causing the Task Force to be there when Ether Madhouse performed.  The ending was amazing when a huge ‘mudman’ golen type creature grabs Lida and runs from the building to the river.  The zhurn races after carrying Kara, but Zack beats them all with a kind of inhuman speed.  Lida is rescued and the 4 cops are left wondering if this was real or a stunt.  But the most disturbing part of the night is when the zhurn offers to become her guardian because of a threat from the demon realm.  That was more unnerving than the arcane construct ‘golem’ creature.

Oddly, Lida seems determined to minimize the attack.  Her uncle, Ben Moran is one of Beaulac’s movers and shakers who lives in a huge house on the banks of a lake commanding hundreds of feet of shoreline – and Kara wonders if he hides earth elemental powers too.  They start looking around and before long bodies start turning up.  Kara, Ryan, and Zack all feel very strongly that he is in some way responsible, especially after he pressures the new mayor to drop the investigation.

Since the crime ‘officially’ took place in New Orleans, the crew keep right on investigating.  Then the bodies start piling up.  Roger Peeler, Ether Madhouse’s drummer and a full time fitness instructor, calls to report a missing client.  Kara goes to check on things and also ask Roger questions about the band.  They end up at at Victor Kerry’s rather undistinguished office.  Kara finds his body in the shrubs – many floors below.  But she also finds dirt in his office and dirt on his shirt and there’s this residual feeling of some kind of power, strong, but different.  Convinced this wasn’t a suicide, Jill, her friend and the town’s multi-tasking expect, thinks she’s right.  The medical examiner finds a (OK, this error drove me crazy) a broken “thyroid” bone in the throat. [STOP RIGHT HERE.  Diana Rowland was a CSI at one point in her career, so I must assume she knows the ‘thyroid’ is a gland in the neck.  When killing by strangulation or a blow to the neck, you break the hyoid bone.  Now just to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind, I did check online, so feel free too get details off Wikipedia or some other source.  I assume some stupid automated spell checker/proofreading program changed the word to the WRONG WORD.  Very annoying and a really rather unforgivable error.]

Going through Vic’s stuff and talking with Roger convinces Kara this is really wrong.  There are things missing from Vic’s office, as if someone were trying to erase signs of illegal activity.  While Kara is alone at a the crime site, something starts to happens and she starts running.  Her Sargent pulls up and screams, “Get in!” and drives away.  He spends much of the book trying to pretend he never experienced what just happened.

After Vic’s death, Kara, Ryan and Zack start digging and bodies start dropping.  Two more times Kara experiences that frightening ‘attack’ and it’s Zack who saves her, revealing what he is in the process.  This story has several mysteries within in, including who and what Zack and Ryan are, what is Marco Knight, and who – and what – killed all these people.  The answer is as much accident as anything, and provides an unusual fight scene.  The person responsible for the golems and the one responsible for the crimes both have odd, but fitting, ends.  There is a second proofreading atrocity abut 2/3rd’s of the way through.  Honestly, publishers should ashamed.

Was Secrets of the Demon worth$7.99?  You bet.  You get all the entertainment you could possibly want, a decent mystery, lots of paranormal events to be explained, and finally we’re getting somewhere on Ryan – what he is at least.  I’d like to see more of Marco Knight in future installments.  Recommended for paranormal mystery buffs.

******************************************************************

  • Title: A Certain Wolfish Charm
  • Author:  Lydia Dare
  • Type:  Paranormal historical romance
  • Genre:  Typical Regency with werewolves
  • Sub-genre:  A Duke shirks his guardianship duties till confronted by his ward’s Aunt, then he fights his attraction to her
  • My Grade: C (3.2*)
  • Rating:  PG-13
  • Length and price:  Full novel 90,000 words for $6.99
  • Where Available:  Available at most bookstores
  • FTC Disclosure:  Acquired through a book swapping site

This slight and amusing Regency blends a slight paranormal aspect into the classic style tale of a determined, dedicated woman trying to get a young man’s guardian into his life, and accidentally gets him into her own as well.

Lilly Rutledge came to Maberley Hall to care for her young nephew when her sister and brother-in-law, the Earl of Maberley were killed in a carriage accident.  Oliver’s official guardian, Simon Westfield, Duke of Blackmoor, has been delighted to leave her to it and just sends money each time she writes him.  But money is not what’s needed.  Oliver is 12 years old and due to start Harrow, but the sweet and gentle boy she’s raised for 6 years has suddenly grown taller than she is, with shoulders like a man and voice that sounds more adult than child – and an appetite like a small army.  Moody, brooding, and difficult, Lilly is at her wits end and that blasted Duke needs to step in and give Oliver some adult male guidance.

Simon Westfield is restless.  It’s more than just the usual restlessness he experiences near the full moon, it’s a longing, one that finally sends him from the pleasures of London to his estate.  Only he doesn’t get rest, he gets a very annoyed Lilly Rutledge who it tired of being fobbed off with excuses and money and demands he take a hand in raising Oliver, the son of one of his old friends.

Like most Regency romances, this one is built on ‘She’s better off with someone else, not me’ and ‘the blasted man can’t see the truth.’  Of course, the fact that Simon can’t seem to keep his hands off Lilly is a real problem.  The writing style is suited to the story and makes none of the pretenses that drive me batty with some Regency.  The dialogue is clever and Lilly is confident woman who is frustrated and confused by the Simon’s mood swings.  That he and Oliver are keeping secrets from her makes her even more annoyed with them both.  The story doesn’t sink to silly melodrama – a common problem – but stays on an even keel throughout.

The core plot is a well used trope with just a little lycanthropy thrown in.  It is entertaining, fun, fast moving, and has enough charm to it to make it work.  Whether that’s enough to make a good series remains to be seen.  Not a lot of period detail, but enough to give it a sense of time and place.  For those fed up with gown details and such, that too is minimal and the authors lets the characters carry the day.  Insubstantial fluff, but fun fluff.

Is A Certain Wolfish Charm worth $6.99? For Regency romance fans who like early Jayne Ann Krentz, with some paranormal elements, yes.   The paranormal aspect does not overwhelm things and Simon and Lilly are fun to watch.

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