Night of Demons
by Tony Richards
Cover Artist: Don Sipley
Review by Colleen Cahill
Eos Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061474675
Date: 01 November 2009 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
It is not only on cold, dark nights that we could use a little literary chill; hot summer evenings are also a great time for the shivers. Night of Demons, the newest book from Tony Richards, again takes us to Raine’s Landing, a small Massachusetts town trapped by a witch’s curse; just the thing for a bit of a buzz. It is not surprising when an insane killer enters the beleaguered town, but when he gets his hands on an occult artifact, all hell breaks loose, almost literally.
At the end of Dark Raine, Ross Devries was warned that more trouble was on its way. The town was barely over its last supernatural visitation, but the curse on Raine’s Landing, while supposedly keeping all outsiders away and locking in all those born there in its borders, does seem to attract some dangerous elements. Ross, perhaps the only citizen of the town who has never dabbled in magic, is called on to look at what seems to be a murder/suicide, but with odd points. He and his sidekick Cass Mallory are still reeling from the appearance of a Boston Police Detective Lauren Brennan who is not only the first good person to be able to resist the “go away” commands of the curse; she is also the image of Ross’ missing wife.
Brennan seems able to withstand the curse because of her almost obsessive drive to find Cornelius Harlon, a serial killer known as “The Shadow Man”. When one of the bodies from the recent killing not only gets up but starts attacking people, it is clear something bad is happening. It turns out Harlon not only stumbled into Raine’s Landing, but he has killed one of the most power adepts there and now has a mysterious device, one that actually almost makes him into a shadow. While this is bad enough, things only get worse when an embittered woman joins forces with the killer and begins to release the dark in people, allowing the worst inner demons loose on the town.
As with Raine’s Landing, the first book about this embattled community, there is more going on than simply monsters, fighting, and death. Richards is not writing horror but dark fantasy, and without a lot of gory scenes; this book is more about people facing terror then body parts being displayed. It is very easy to like Ross, Cass, and many of the others trying to survive in a very unpredictable environment. Bboth of the main characters have lost their families due to magic and are attempting to prevent others from suffering similar fates. Neither is perfect, in either conquering the attacks from dark magic or in dealing with the emotional fallout from the wounds they receive, both past and present. They do, however, show intelligence and determination in dealing with something that could easily wipe out their town.
There is no reason you have to read Raine’s Landing to enjoy this work, and it is easy to find copies of both books, just in case you do want to go for it all. Richards has once again captured the dark wonder, mighty struggles and the ability of even average people to deal with supernatural challenges, all of which brings heart to these books. I recommend Night of Demons, especially for those looking for a dark chill on these hot summer nights.