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Secrets of the Demon (Kara Gillian, Book 3) by Diana Rowland
Cover Artist: Daniel Dos Santos
Review by Cathy Green
DAW Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780756406523
Date: 04 January 2011 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

The latest installment of Diana Rowland's urban fantasy series featuring Homicide Detective Kara Gillian picks up soon after the events of Blood of the Demon (reviewed in SFRevu's June 2010 issue). Kara's Aunt Tessa has recovered from her magically induced coma and is up and about, back in her home and still dating Kara's co-worker. However, given the secrets her aunt was keeping and Kara's close involvement with the Demon Lord Rhyzkahl, the two are not as close as they were before the events in Blood Of The Demon.

More by Diana Rowland: Kara Gillian:
* Mark of the Demon
* Blood of the Demon
* Secrets of the Demon
Secrets Of The Demon opens with Kara undercover at a club with a demon and FBI agents Ryan Kristoff and Zachary Garner. She's now assigned to a multi-jurisdiction task force investigating white collar crimes and financial malfeasance, where financial malfeasance is apparently code for “may have paranormal or supernatural aspects.” They're at the club because Ether Madhouse, the band that's playing, has been receiving death threats, specifically that the lead singer, Lida Moran, would be consumed onstage by a demon. An arcane creature leaps onto the stage, grabs Lida and runs off with Kara and her demon in hot pursuit. The creature jumps into the river, but the demon Kara summoned dives in and rescues Lida. The evening ends on an odd note when the demon Kara summoned offers to become her guardian, in part to curry favor with Lord Rhyzkahl, noting that there are those who envy the relationship Kara has with Rhyzkahl because of the advantage it gives Rhyzkahl in terms of accessing our world.

When Kara, Ryan and Zach start to investigate who would want to use an arcane construct to attack Lida and the rest of Ether Madhouse, Lida and her prominent family try to get the investigation shut down, claiming the incident was just a publicity stunt gone wrong. This merely serves to make Kara, Ryan and Zach more suspicious. Their suspicions are justified when people affiliated with the band and the Moran family start turning up dead, killed by arcane constructs, and Kara gets attacked by lightning bolts. Meanwhile, Kara summons Rhyzkahl, who as usual leaves her with more questions than answers and agrees to provide her with a protector, a demon named Eilahn, who disguises herself as a seriously hot chick. In order to make sure Eilahn can shadow and protect Kara, Ryan and Zack dummy up credentials to make her a foreign police officer assigned to the task force. The body count keeps rising and ultimately there's a major showdown at a landfill owned by the Moran family and a fairly dramatic game-changing revelation about Ryan Kristoff.

Secrets Of The Demon is an excellent addition to Rowland's series. It advances all of the plot threads that were raised and not resolved in the first two books of the series. The number of people aware of Kara's abilities increases over the course of the book, but this is a logical development given how big and noticeable the demonic incursions are. Also, the argument can be made that Louisiana is an area predisposed to believe in that sort of thing. Rowland does a good job filling out Kara's relationships with her friends and coworkers. I particularly liked Kara's friendship with her coworker Jill and the amusing banter when Kara shows up asking Jill's advice on golems, which she assumes Jill will know about because she's Jewish. Jill rightly takes her to task for this and notes that pretty much all she knows about golems comes from an X-Files episode.

The series is now being published by DAW, and as a result there is new, different cover art. The Daniel Dos Santos cover is gorgeous and more accurately reflects the book's categorization as urban fantasy. While the book works as a stand-alone novel and makes sense without having read the first two books in the series, new readers will want to read the other two books as well, as events make more sense in the context of the events of the first two novels. Rowland has said in her July 8th Big Idea post on John Scalzi's Whatever that she has a three book contract for this series. I am glad this is the case, as there are a number of game changing reveals at the end of Secrets Of The Demon and I'm looking forward to finding out where Rowland is going with them. Secrets Of The Demon is a fun, fast read and an excellent entry in the series.

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