Monday, February 28, 2011

Secrets of the Demon by Diana Rowland (Kara Gillian, Book 3)

Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: DAW; Original edition (January 4, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0756406528
ISBN-13: 978-0756406523

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?


Even though I can say that the Kara Gillian series is "wordy", like my English teacher would say, it lets you enjoy every stickin' detail that the author could possibly squeeze out of this murder-mystery supernatural-romance. Indeed, it does contain more expletives and explicit sex scenes than I've encountered at such an early point of a series, but it adds so much to the southern Louisiana charm. As precisely outlined in book 1 and 2 of the series, Kara is thrown into completely new territory with the arcane powers running a muck in her small town of Beaulac. It's thrilling to go through the procedures of detective work right along with her because you can practically feel how she's finally getting the hang of being a homicide detective. Exhilarating though it is to watch her jump through hoops to catch the killer, Rowland doesn't let it interfere with the true gut-twisting roller coaster romance that Kara has between Rhyzkahl, the demonic lord and Ryan, an arcane-tainted FBI Agent.

As I was saying about the wordy thing, it is something that a lot of authors--with their complex Urban Fantasy stories--fall into: repeating the previous books' details in a not-so-subtle way. Some do it magnificently, merely reminding you of details one might have missed in the book before, and others fall a little flat, as in "I knew that already, get on with the current happenings!" It drives me a bit batty sometimes because I feel like I have to skim most of the book in order to get to the real essence of it. However, with Secrets of the Demon--as well as Blood of the Demon--Rowland was able to keep me entertained immensely otherwise, with all the crime-solving and personal-life strife that Kara slugs through. This third installment really cleaned up a bit and was marginally shorter and more precise than the second. It definitely felt like Rowland answered some long overdue questions that were subtly present in both book 1 and 2, mostly speculations pertaining to the two FBI agents in Kara's life.

Rowland does seem to follow a pattern with each installment in the Kara Gillian series, one that's vaguely noticeable if you read the book consecutively. It's an addicting thrill to find out who the murder is at the end, but I always seem to be skimming the final action scene because I would be too lost with all the baggage that surrounds it. It would definitely draw back from the initial punch I imagine is intended every single time that the murderer is confronted. Then, of course, comes the minute epilogue that Rowland concludes with at the very ending that leaves you craving for the next book in the series, because she does answer the last conflicting nuggets that are left tickling the back of your head, but it really leaves you with only more questions that could only be answered through the gradually growing series.

I greatly anticipate the fourth book in the Kara Gillian series, if only to see where exactly the big unveiling at the end of Secrets of the Demons leads to.

Grade: B-

This quote begins with a very important question. The "unveiling."

I asked, pleased that the question came out calmly and smoothly, and that none of my inner turmoil had been revealed.
I felt his shudder. "Kara, I am oathbound," he replied, barely above a whisper. "I cannot answer that."
I pushed off the post, blood roaring in my ears as I walked back inside. "It's all right, Zack. You just did."