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The Devil Inside (Morgan Kingsley, Exorcist, Book 1) by Jenna Black
Review by Carolyn Frank
Spectra Mass Market  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553590449
Date: 27 November 2007 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Morgan Kingsley is an exorcist of demons, a very good one, but one with a major problem: she's got a Devil Inside. Actually, he is a demon prince, engaged in a battle for the throne of the Immortal Plain. In this urban fantasy based in a modern day Philadelphia, demons can take over human bodies, either legally by mutual agreement or illegally by force. The otherwise non-corporeal demon then provides the host human with supernatural strength and self-healing, while the human mind is shunted aside. But Morgan doesn't like demons, doesn't want anything to do with demons besides driving them out of humans, and doesn't really know how she ended up housing one.

From Jenna Black:
I found the term "urban fantasy romance" a fascinating and telling way to label the genre of The Devil Inside. There is a significant blurring of the line between urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and many urban fantasies are shelved in bookstores' romance sections. As a romance author, it was important to me to include romance--including romantic conflicts and sexual tension--into The Devil Inside, and I believe readers of my paranormal romances will enjoy it. However, The Devil Inside is not a romance, at least not by the traditional definition, which includes a "happily ever after" ending. I sincerely hope the Morgan Kingsley series will appeal to readers of both urban fantasy and paranormal romance, but if I were to put a label on its genre, I'd probably reverse the terms and call it a "romantic urban fantasy."

A tall, take-no-nonsense, although quite emotional, young woman, Morgan believes she has a fine life: her own small house decorated to her tastes, a thriving business providing a service she believes in, and an even taller handsome lawyer boyfriend, Brian. But when she comes to find Lugh, the demon prince, has taken up residence inside, her life falls apart. Although for some reason no one can or will tell her, her mind does not. Alone of everyone who has ever hosted a demon willingly or not, she can close down her demon's powers.

With the sometimes unwilling assistance of Adam, a demon who is the head of the Philadelphia Special Forces addressing issues of rogue demons, and Dom, his equally tall and good looking boyfriend, Morgan strives to understand what is going on. Muddying the waters is her older brother, Andrew, who willingly hosts the demon Raphael.

As all of the major characters are tall, good looking, single young adults, sex is a significant element in the tale: sex alone, sex in couples, straight sex, gay sex, vanilla sex, mild S&M sex. All are portrayed from Morgan's viewpoint, and for the second half of the book, that's all she is, a viewer. But the portrayals are, at heart, romantic with erotic overtones, so reader is led to believe that demons are as good for romantic sex as vampires are known to be.

Although these demons have their own passions, their own sense of right or guilt, and their own political controversies, they act and interact with with people, just as any other group of slightly different aliens, humanoid or not. Although non-corporeal in nature, these demons do have personalities, and for most of the demons with whom Morgan is involved, rather engaging ones at that. Clearly, in the urban fantasy romance universe, this book sets out to prove that sexy demons should be the next big thing.

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