Book Review: Diana Rowland’s Mark of the Demon

Posted January 5, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Diana Rowland’s Mark of the Demon

Mark of the Demon


Diana Rowland

urban fantasy in Paperback edition that was published by Bantam on June 23, 2009 and has 370 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include The Wild Side: Urban Fantasy with an Erotic Edge, Blood of the Demon, Secrets of the Demon, Sins of the Demon, Touch of the Demon, My Life as a White Trash Zombie, Dangerous Women, Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues, White Trash Zombie Apocalypse, Fury of the Demon, How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back, White Trash Zombie Gone Wild

First in the Kara Gillian police procedural urban fantasy…yup…about a detective who summons demons to helps solve crimes in Beaulac, Louisiana.

My Take

I do like Rowland’s twist on demons. That they are simply an alien life form that has existed well before Christianity turned them into evil beings. Admittedly, you do want to be extremely careful when in conversation with one! Honor is their be-all, end-all. Which makes conversation even trickier.

Wouldn’t the police like having someone who could “put the fear of God” in a small-time crook? LOL, I so enjoyed the results of Kehlirik’s “discussion”! I like the way Kara handles the chauvinist detective in her squad too. Just throws it right back at ’em.

Kira’s relationship with Jill is perfect with all the teasing they throw back and forth. Jill and her quips about Kara and her spare time; Kara poking at “take some pictures, measure some stuff, maybe throw some fingerprint dust…”

All in all, Rowland introduces everything about her series very well. We meet the characters and learn how they interact with each other; Rowland does leave plenty for us to discover later, though. Her introduction of the demonic side is well done and well integrated into the story.

It’s difficult for Kara to investigate this case as there is so much of the arcane involved and she can’t tell any of her fellow law enforcement officers about the clues she’s picking up.

I did get to wondering about all the time Kara takes off to sleep during the day on this case. I kept waiting for her captain to call her on it. For all the danger that Rowland tells us Kara is in, I didn’t get a sense of any great tension. A few blips here and there with lots of sex thrown in — Kara’s attitude about the sex was curious. She’s absolutely terrified of even hinting at it with Ryan, but throws herself into it with Rhyzkahl with, for her, wild abandon. Kara does not have a lot of willpower where he is concerned. And she’s incredibly naive when it comes to Ryan.

Okay, WHY is Kara so hesitant about calling Ryzhkahl at the end. She’s worked out the logic of it and she keeps putting it off!! WHY???!? I mean, duh… If it was meant to be a tension-building moment, it didn’t work. It just irritated me.

Well, in spite of my whining and whinging, I actually enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to the next in the series, Blood of the Demon.

The Story

She’s summoned a reyza, a twelfth level demon when some idiot decides to burgle her house. That’s when Kara learns about the latest victim of the newly revived Symbol Man.

Recently transferred into Homicide, Kara has been delving into old files. It’s why she is so familiar with the Symbol Man case, leading Captain Turnham to put her in charge of this latest victim. Little does Turnham realize how smart a move it is, for Kara is uniquely qualified to dig deep and find clues no other detective could possibly discover.

Wanting help with the arcane aspects of the case, Kara summons a lower-level demon. And something goes wrong. It gets worse when the FBi begin to suspect her of being the Symbol Man. And yet worse, when Kara thinks she can play a Demonic Lord.

The Characters

Kara Gillian is a detective by day with the Beaulac PD — newly promoted to Homicide from Property Crimes — and a demon summoner by night, under the covers. Lucky for her, she has a house set out in the middle of ten acres. Lots of privacy for summoning. Ellyn Pazhel was Tessa’s older sister and she married Marcus Gillian, leaving Tessa on her own. Aunt Tessa Pazhel became Kara’s guardian when her father was killed, and then her teacher when she realized the talent Kara had.

Kehlirik is the twelfth level demon she summons. Who owes her. Rysehl is a fourth-level demon she intends to summons and pay off with Barq root beer, but it is Rhyzkahl, a Demonic Lord, who shows up instead. The same one who tore family members to pieces. An interesting guy, he’s obviously incredibly powerful, very sensual, and wants Kara to trust him. What I want to know is why. What’s up his sleeve??

The Beaulac PD
Captain Turnham is her boss. Jill Faciane is the crime scene technician and friends with Kara. Detective Cory Crawford is a recent transfer with reams of experience in homicide — “prepare to be astounded by his brilliance”. Boudreaux, Pellini, and Wetzer are the other Violent Crimes detectives. Dr. Jonathan Lanza is the forensic pathologist for the St. Long Parish Coroner’s Office. Carl is the morgue assistant with a very dry sense of humor. Eddie Morse is Chief of Police. Scott Glassman is content to remain a street cop.

St. Long Sheriff’s Department
Deputy Justin Sanchez was partnered up with Kara before he transferred to the Sheriff’s Department. Detective James Harris is supercilious and self-important.

Agent Ryan Kristoff, a.k.a., Obnoxious, is FBI and, along with Special Agent Zach Garner, a.k.a., Surfer Boy, have worked arcane ritual magic murder cases before.

Reverend Thomas discovers one of the bodies. Greg Cerise is a graphics artist who writes and illustrates his comic drawing the homeless people who visit the outreach center with which Reverend Thomas is heavily involved. Mark Janson is a victim as are Belle and Michelle Clelland.

Nora Dailey is a bigoted, obnoxious neighbor and I hope the landlady finds a nice Hispanic gay couple to move into her house next.

The Cover and Title

The cover is softly dark with a translucent overlay of runes covering the dark background and Kara’s upper chest, shoulder, and neck. She’s wearing only a green pendant with a sun-shape in its center on a chunky green and gold-beaded necklace.

The title is all about the Mark of the Demon which Kara acquires, somewhat unwittingly!