Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rosy's scrawled book recommendation: Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland

Mark of the Demon
Diana Rowland


Book 1 of the Kara Gillian Series
When Homicide Detective Kara Gillian finds traces of arcane power on a body, she quickly realizes that this is no ordinary murder. The serial killer known as the Symbol Man is a nightmare that Beaulac, Louisiana thought had ended three years ago, but now he's back for an encore and leaving every indication on the flesh of his victims that he is well-versed in demonic lore.
However, Kara is a Summoner of Demons, and may be the only cop on the city's small force who can stop the killer. Able to see and interact with a world most people can't, Kara must draw on her skills as a police officer and master of the arcane to stop the Symbol Man from killing again and possibly summoning something even she can't control.
But with a demonic lord of unearthly beauty and power haunting her dreams, and a handsome yet disapproving FBI agent dogging her waking footsteps, she may be in way over her head.




Rosy's Scrawlings on Mark of the Demon
I picked up this book when Diana Rowland made her debut and I have to say I fell in love with her writing straight away. The reason I picked up a book was obviously not the cover. If you've read some of my previous posts you'll know I had to hid this a bit when out and about. Although I must say that the cover is very tastefully done compared to many others out there. So, from my lack of interest in the cover you can also guess what snagged my attention was not the romance factor. At all. Nope, what did was reading that Kara was a police officer and so was Diana Rowland. This is what snagged my attention: 

"She has worked as a bartender, a blackjack dealer, a pit boss, a street cop, a detective, a computer forensics specialist, a crime scene investigator, and a morgue assistant, which means that she's seen more than her share of what humans can do to each other and to themselves. She won the marksmanship award in her Police Academy class, has a black belt in Hapkido, has handled numerous dead bodies in various states of decomposition, and can't rollerblade to save her life." - from her bio.

I thought, out of all the crime writers, the writer that worked as a cop has to have produced something awesome. And I was right. The book was awesome and luckily for me, it had just the right blend of crime, paranormal and romance to keep me happy. I gave nary a flinch at the rosey romance or grunt of disbelief at the character's reactions. I have to say here, when romance is included I do love and almost need the romance to be a bit darker and not of the usual plot lines otherwise my brain over-analyses and I just can't take it. This romance met my high demands though and was a pleasant surprise.

For me, I loved the crime aspect first as I could peek into the world of an American cop, although through paranormal blinkers, and got a small glimpse of what a crime scene can really be like. Demons are always a hit, who can say no to an enigmatic character you just can't figure out. No woman, if the massive fan numbers of Eric Northman can be believed (and they can). What I loved the most of the paranormal aspect of this book was that the demons aren't exactly the religious type demons you usually see in so called dark or paranormal romances. These have a dimension of their own that isn't Hell but rather another pretty world, don't go by names like Azazel or whatnot, don't have uber-buff bodies and great black wings and so on and so forth. While there are demons as you'd imagine non-human looking demons to be there isn't much to ring of old religious visions, except maybe the division of the demon world into kingdoms (but then so is the human world and most others in fantasy writing). After the demons came the magic, which was also powerfully written, so much so that some of the most memorable scenes are of how the magic works. The magic is always described in action too which has left me with images of glowing symbols popping to mind every time I think of this series of books.

Does it sound like I can't say a bad word? I can't really. Only the cover needed a little hiding because yes, you caught me, I was reading something a little romantic with the cover of a romance story. Reading romance is mostly out of character but I do occasionally run across an author who writes romance the way I like it and because it is rare I tend to collect them. For me, romance isn't nearly enough. The substance of the rest of the story has to be either great fun or rather intriguing to carry it, and preferably of another genre. In The Mark of the Demon, Diana Rowland blended it all just right and I sat there in my comfy chair with my tea just short of boiled and found myself in another, highly addictive world. Luckily no bears popped up to send me running.

I now buy Diana Rowland's books as soon as I hear of them. Converted in one hit.

I'd suggest this book to: women who love romance and paranormal features blended with their crime stories, or any of the other combinations I could put those genres in. Women interested in a fun and yet challenging read. Women, really...

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