Review: Secrets of the Demon by Diana Rowland

Filed in 4 Stars , Diana Rowland , Review , The Needy Lover Posted on June 20, 2013 @ 12:00 pm 2 comments

Format read: ebook purchased by reviewer
Series: Kara Gillian, #3
Release Date: 4 January 2011
Publisher: DAW
Number of pages: 310 pages
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo


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 Thoughts:

So, it’s official–this series just keeps getting better and better. Secrets of the Demon continues to build upon the first two books of the Kara Gillian series–Mark of the Demon and Blood of the Demon–following in the same tradition of combining police procedural with paranormal intrigue and a dash of romance.

Though a direct second sequel, this book is can function well enough as a standalone title, no easy task to carry out. Relevant background information is presented quickly and strategically, setting aside enough time to properly orient new readers without slowing down the story. A happy side effect of this is that it’s possible to read Secrets seamlessly after a long hiatus from the previous titles, particularly due to the subtle inclusion of little inside gags and innocuous references. Even for a not-so-long hiatus, the background info is not overwhelming or tedious for fans.

More than ever before in this series, there’s an infusion of the main mystery/procedural with paranormal elements. In the first two books, Kara was the key that brought the supernatural to her police work, as something that was vaguely helpful to her cases. Here, the supernatural is cropping up everywhere, enough to provide a true challenge to her in every aspect of her life. As always, the mystery element provides an entertaining brain tease. The red herrings are subtle yet diverting, and there’s enough balance of investigation and action to keep things interesting. The standout element in my mind, though, is still how convincingly the author can merge subgenres. You get a legit procedural along with unique UF/PNR.

Speaking of subgenres, the PNR aspect is back and in full effect! Even so, while I thoroughly enjoyed the romance, I personally found some difficulty in reconciling the extremely perceptive Kara with the clueless, vaguely doormat behavior she at times exhibited as part of the love…shape (is it a triangle? A straight line? A wavy line?!). This is someone who catches the most subtle of behavior in others. The unapologetic, hardworking, committed badass. So for me, some of the pendulum-like inner musings and “wait, so does that mean he likes me?” moments were slightly confounding. That said, the feeling did fade with time. And in any case, Kara carries a story very well and is fun to watch develop.

Both major and minor characters are very well fleshed out in this tale–In fact, at times, the secondary characters provided the best laughs and the most vigorous nods of agreement. Sarge and his dry wit…Jill and her sage advice (you go, girl!). The author takes care with all characters…and she takes her time.

Boy, does she ever take her time. ^_^ I must say, reading this book and this series is a lot like watching the show Lost–you simply *must* resign yourself not finding out major secrets, or else you’ll drive yourself to the limits of frustration and back. (Though, I guess with a title like Secrets of the Demon, I guessed we’ve been warned.)

As has become a hallmark for this series, the last act is thrilling, addictive, and quite unexpected. And overall, Secrets of the Demon is quite a lot of fun, with plenty of content to make you want to reread, and enough juicy teasers to have you pining for the next installment. Sure, you can read this book without having tried the first two… but you’ll be hard pressed to stop at the end of this tale.

. . .

Verdict: With Secrets of the Demon, it seems Diana Rowland has settled into her characters and storytelling style, and is showing she’s got a master plan for the series. Still, it’s a very accessible book for newcomers. All signs point to this being a series that gets better with every installment.

I give Secrets of the Demon 4 stars!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

About Alisha

Alisha, the bespectacled and ever nerdy California girl, simply won't leave home without a book in hand. She loves language learnin' and is working toward becoming a bonafide grammar ninja. On any given day you'll find her haunting local libraries or baking scores of cupcakes and sweet treats.

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  • aurian June 25, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Great review Alisha, and one day I will read this series!

    • Alisha June 26, 2013 at 8:26 am

      Thanks, aurian! I hope you do–it’s definitely getting better with each new installment!

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