***** If you haven’t read the first books there may be mild spoilers for them in this review. *****
The Premise: Kara Gillian is now part of a special FBI task force along with her duties as a homicide detective at the Beaulac, Louisiana, Police Department. Along with FBI special agents Ryan Kristoff and Zachary (Zach) Garner, the team investigates a threat to the lead singer of local band Ether Madhouse. The team doesn’t think the threat is real, until Lida Moran is snatched by some creature during her band’s last song. Kara knows that there was no demon, but there is some kind of magic in Lida’s abduction. Magic that she senses again during a murder investigation. As more people begin to die, Kara must find out the connection between the band and the murders, and in the meantime, her life continues to be complicated by her special association with Demon Lord Rhyzkahl and her confusing relationship with Ryan.
My Thoughts: I was surprised to see that the cover art for this third book is so different from the first two, but then I remembered that this series has changed publishers. It’s not bad, I could do without the bit of bra poking out or the thing behind Kara, but in person the background is less overpowering.
This is not a series that should be read out of order, and I think that although the third book does a lot of catching the reader up to what has happened so far, it can’t really cover the subtle progression of Kara’s relationships to those around her. For that alone, I highly recommend reading books 1 and 2 before reading this one. When you read all three books you can appreciate more where things have been and where they’re going. This is especially true of the ongoing love triangle. I have to say that in the first two books when it comes to Kara’s relationship with Ryan and her relationship with Rhyzkahl, I’ve been pulling for Ryan. This is based on the fact that I didn’t trust Rhyzkahl at all. In this book however, I’m surprised to find myself wondering if Kara’s relationship with Rhyzkahl could be deeper than I thought. It doesn’t help Ryan’s case that he’s been very judgmental about Kara’s relationship with Rhyzkahl when he really has no right to be. At this point things could go either way, and I never thought I’d say this, but I think I may be happy with either, as long as Kara makes a choice she’s happy with. I’d love to see a deeper relationship with EITHER of the two men here.
As for Kara’s other relationships, she continues to develop friendships all around and she’s learning that she’s not as alone as she thought. From her Sargent, to her Aunt’s boyfriend, to her best friend Jill, Kara’s circle is growing and I’m happy to see it. I like the way that these secondary characters have developed over the books, each revealing a little something more in each progressive volume, and each unique. The banter between Kara and the others usually works too, but I have to say that there are a couple of minor missteps. Mostly this was in feeling like although Kara was supposed to be in her late twenties, she sometimes read as older, and a little behind on the times. I was thrown out of the story by the over-use of “bitch” and “chick” whenever Kara spoke to Jill (it’s not like I don’t fondly call my girl friends this, but sparingly, not every sentence), and by a random “for the win” (fine, I’m being nitpicky on that one, but still).
The investigation in this book and the otherworldly connection to it was not exactly demon-related, and Kara spends more time using her mundane police skills over her arcane knowledge to solve the case. The case is a big part of the plot but I felt more drawn to the longer running story ARC – what Kara’s relationship with Rhyzkahl means and who Ryan really is. Next to that, the murders didn’t feel as strong, and when the person behind it was revealed, it was almost an unbelievable surprise, but overall I felt pretty satisfied.
Overall: A really good continuation to the series in terms of Kara’s involvement with the demon world and with Rhyzkahl and Ryan. My interest in the murder investigation was overshadowed by my interest in Kara’s developing relationships, but I got what I wanted from the longer running story arc, so I was happy. After finishing Secrets of the Demon, I’m dying to find out what happens next. This is an urban fantasy series that has police drama, romance, sex, and friendship, but also: humor. There’s just the right dose of banter and irreverence to keep things from getting dark.