Jenna Black, Devil Inside

Posted August 1, 2011 by Kathy Davie in

The Devil Inside (Morgan Kingsley, #1)The Devil Inside by Jenna Black
Series: Morgan Kingsley, 1
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First in the Morgan Kingsley urban fantasy set in an alternate Philadelphia in a world where demons can legally possess willing hosts but illegal possessions result in exorcism or burning.

The Story
One reason Morgan chose to embrace a career as an exorcist is her terrible fear of being possessed. Helping other people is a minor point for Morgan is no hero. Then after a horrible misadventure in Topeka, reinforced by unexplained attacks at home, Morgan’s worst horror is confirmed. At great cost to everything in her life. Her best friend. Her brother. Her boyfriend. Her coworker, Adam White. Her home. The terrible cost to Domenic when his demon-possessed body must be exorcised in spite of his defending himself from a terrible, vicious attack. Morgan’s fear for herself, the sleepwalking, the notes her night self is leaving for her. The messages those notes are telling her…they can’t be true. They just can’t. The frame someone is working against her.

The Characters
Morgan Kingsley is a professional exorcist. A career very much despised by her family. A family over the moon with Andrew’s life choice as a willing host and firefighter. Brian is Morgan’s very loving boyfriend. A good lawyer with a healthy family background who believes that people are essentially good. Andrew Kingsley is Morgan’s brother and chose to be a willing host to a demon. Raphael to be exact.

Lugh has just succeeded to the demon throne and is in an excellent position to enforce his plans to make it illegal for demons to possess anyone but willing human bodies. Raphael and Dougal are Lugh’s brothers planning a coup against him for his radical plans. A coup that has a great chance of success with Andrew’s help.

Adam White is hosting a demon and he’s the head of the Special Forces branch of the Philadelphia police department in charge of rogue demons. Domenic Costello is Adam’s boyfriend and a firefighter who chose to act as a demon host because he wanted to utilize the demon strength and healing abilities to help people.

Val March is/was Morgan’s best friend since high school.

The Spirit Society is an organization, which has something to do with the Higher Powers, as they refer to demons. Morgan’s family is a proud supporter of the Society. God’s Wrath is a militant, anti-demon hate group, which specializes in arson and burning demons and their hosts alive in the Cleansing Fire of God.

My Take
I do like Morgan’s general kickass attitude. I just wish it didn’t come with such a stupid mouth. She’s rather like Anita Blake in her squeamishness for all that she’s a defiant, leather-wearing wiseass who doesn’t think before she spews her prejudices. I don’t object to her character having issues, pathetic as they are. I just wish Black were a little smoother in her characterization. Her stupid self-absorption shows in that, despite Lugh repeating that he was shoved into her body the night that Andrew hit her, she never connects the dots, constantly running off at tangents.

There’s an odd kink in Adam’s reactions to Morgan. He is very much a dominant who prefers men and he loves using the whip on Domenic but he just can’t seem to stop flirting outrageously with an outraged Morgan. I can’t tell if he is so outré with Morgan because it makes her angry or if it’s just his personality. He seems awfully forgiving for the dumbass, hurtful decisions Morgan makes. Lugh is certainly winding Morgan up.

As for Andrew. I was all ready to stone the bugger for his betrayals and now I’m curious as to what happens in The Devil You Know.

The Cover
I guess the cover is appropriate although I didn’t know leather pants could possibly fit that tight! Nor is it surprising that Morgan’s back faces us so we can see the hilt of her sword tattoo. I’m guessing the burning brand represents the blazing bonfire at the end. The title, The Devil Inside, is accurate enough as there is a devil inside. Inside a lot of people.

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