Mark of the Demon
by Diana Rowland
Edited by Anne Groell
Cover Artist: Juliana Kolesova
Review by Beth Slater
Bantam Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553592351
Date: 23 June 2009 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Kara Gillian achieves full Summoner by successfully calling a level 12 demon without letting any of her co-workers on the police force know about her summoning abilities. In Beaulac, LA, someone having any kind of supernatural abilities would not be looked upon as blessed, and Kara did not want her fellow detectives to suspect her of having any connections to this case that they had long considered cold. Hoping to use her occult skills to capture the killer she reads up on the case file immediately before another body is found with the same markings. With Kara as the only detective in the squad familiar with the case, her chief throws them all a curve ball and gives the newbie the case to head up. Thoughts a whirl but unsuspicious Kara is determined to prove her metal to her co-workers and her captain without giving up her secrets.
Hoping to enlist the aid of one of the lower demons while the moons were still in a viable position, Kara prepares her house and room for the summoning and is astounded when a different demon arrives--a demon named Rhyzkahl who breaks her wards and protections. Prepared to die, Kara runs her preparations thru her mind trying to think where there may have been an error but comes up with none. Suddenly she realizes that her captor, for she is no longer the one in control, has switched from fury to seduction. All the time watching for a catch, she cannot help but fall victim to his expert wiles and unearthly beauty and power.
The next day she is shamefaced when approaching her aunt, her tutor and scholar in all things occult, to question her about the demon that appeared. She also will be asking about the Symbol Man Killer because her aunt was present during the first spree, and she wants her firsthand impressions. But her aunt is more intrigued by the appearance of a Demon Lord on this plane, a Lord whom, last seen, had left a bloodbath behind him along with some orphans, all because of some inexperienced summoners. Whether through luck or happenstance, Kara is given a task force for the Symbol Man Killer cases and through this she meets FBI Agent Ryan Kristoff; someone who, much to her surprise, doesn't dismiss the occult theory out of hand. Someone who is willing to follow the lead of a rookie detective who's following her gut. Whether Rhyzkahl will help them or let them live through the experience is the final question.
Rowland has brought a remarkable debut to the world of urban fantasy with her world of Summoners and Demons. Introducing the demon world as one similar to our own, while not unique, is something not often done even in fantasy. I definitely feel that character development should come along as the series develops and there are plenty of avenues for the author to follow. Great debut--I look forward to more.