Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian #1) by Diana Rowland
Publisher: Bantam/June 2009
Kara Gillian Series
Cop and conjurer of demons, she’s a woman in danger of losing control—to a power that could kill….
Why me? Why now? That’s what Beaulac, Louisiana, detective Kara Gillian was asking herself when an angelic creature named Rhyzkahl unexpectedly appeared during a routine summoning. Kara was hoping to use her occult skills to catch a serial killer, but never had she conjured anything like this unearthly beautiful and unspeakably powerful being whose very touch set off exquisite new dimensions of pleasure. But can she enlist his aid in helping her stop a killer who’s already claimed the lives—and souls—of thirteen people? And should she? The Symbol Man is a nightmare that the city thought had ended three years ago. Now he’s back for an encore and leaving every indication on the flesh of his victims that he, too, is well versed in demonic lore.
Kara may be the only cop on Beaulac’s small force able to stop the killer, but it is her first homicide case. Yet with Rhyzkahl haunting her dreams, and a handsome yet disapproving FBI agent dogging her waking footsteps, she may be in way over her head…
Mark of the Demon is the first book in Diana Rowland’s Kara Gillian series and after reading and loving My Life As a White Trash Zombie, I was eager for more of Rowland’s work. Kara is a brand new homicide detective in Beaulac’s tiny police force. She’s also a summoner. That would be a summoner of demons. When trying to summon a lower demon, she accidentally brings through something else; a beautiful creature named Rhyzkahl, who seems to know her every dream and desire, and doesn’t hesitate to offer to satisfy those desires. When a horribly mutilated body is found, and Kara is called to the scene, she knows it’s the work of The Symbol Man, and is shocked when she’s put in charge of the investigation. However, she’s determined to get to the bottom of this shocking, brutal killer and will stop at nothing to find him.
Mark of the Demon took me back a little to the early days of Anita Blake, and that’s a good thing. I loved the combination of serial killer thriller and urban fantasy, and Kara is a very likeable, strong protagonist. She’s spent most of her life keeping people at arm’s length (especially men), lest they find out her secret life as a summoner and student of the arcane. So, you can imagine what happens when not only Rhyskahl, but a handsome FBI agent comes into her life. The added pressure of being the head of a major task force only adds to Kara’s stress, but our girl can take the heat, no doubt. I really enjoyed the author’s unique take on demons and I’ll look forward to learning more as the series goes on. Taut prose and fairly fast pacing round out a great start to this series. I’m actually glad that I just now started it, since I can read the next three straight through! Mark of the Demon is a must for any urban fantasy fan’s shelves!