Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian Series #1)

Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian Series #1)

by Diana Rowland

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Overview

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. . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553592351
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/23/2009
Series: Kara Gillian Series , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 318,237
Product dimensions: 4.14(w) x 6.96(h) x 1.02(d)

About the Author

Diana Rowland has lived her entire life below the Mason-Dixon line, uses "y'all" for second-person-plural, and otherwise has no southern accent (in her opinion.) She attended college at Georgia Tech where she earned a BS in Applied Mathematics, and after graduation forgot everything about higher math as quickly as possible.

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.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


I could hear the intruder breaking into my house.

Unfortunately, it was in the same instant that the demon appeared before me.

The sound of shattering glass upstairs disrupted my focus for only a fraction of a second, but it was enough for the arcane portal to shift from my control and leap away from me like an untethered water hose. I made a frantic grasp at the portal, cold sweat breaking out under my arms as I struggled to wrench the power back into place. My heart slammed in my chest as I fought the uncontrolled energy, seizing each strand to bind and anchor it. My technique was raw and inelegant, but I didn't give a crap. I was only interested in surviving, not in how pretty it looked.

It felt like an eternity, but it was merely several frenzied seconds before I had the wildly fluctuating potencies settled and calmed. I cautiously loosened my hold as I took several deep, ragged breaths, struggling to slow the mad galloping of my pulse. That had been far too close for my peace of mind. If that loss of focus had come just a few -seconds earlier, I most likely would have been ripped apart—either by the maelstrom of the arcane portal I'd opened in the basement of my house or by the claws of the demon I'd just summoned through that portal.

I exhaled a shuddering breath, finally releasing my hold on the portal as I looked with no small amount of triumph at the massive demon on one knee before me, his head lowered and his wings tucked along his back. He had remained utterly still throughout my battle with the portal, and I silently thanked whatever powers existed that I had already sealed the terms with him before losing control. I could feel a grin spread across my face. I'd done it. I had summoned a reyza, the highest of the twelve levels of demons.

I was officially a -full—fledged summoner.

The sharp crack of more glass breaking spoiled my reverie. My grin shifted to a scowl. A burglar. Just great. If I went upstairs to deal with the idiot, I would have to abandon my ulterior motive for summoning the demon. And summoning a reyza was worth more than a few wordly possessions. Besides, my wordly possessions weren't worth very much.

But the demon snapped his head up at the sound. "Some-one intrudes on your demesne," he growled, deep voice res-onating powerfully through the basement. Before I could take a breath to give a response or command, the demon bounded up the heavy wooden stairs of my basement, bursting through the door that exited into the main hallway of my house.

"Son of a bitch!" I swiftly anchored the potency that I hadn't yet grounded. Well, so much for that plan. My legs shook as I staggered up the stairs after the demon, and I snarled at the fatigue that slowed me down. I was used to feeling somewhat drained after a summoning, but this was more than I'd expected.

I heard a panicked shriek coming from the front of my house and I took off in that direction, forcing my wobbly legs to move. Okay, I managed to summon him. Now can I control him? The shriek of terror abruptly spiraled upward as I lurched down the hall.

"Kehlirik! No harm!" I shouted, commanding the demon with my voice even as I exerted mental pressure on the arcane bindings.

I rounded the corner to the living room, panting for breath and grateful that my house was "cozy" instead of palatial. I wasn't sure if I could have made it much farther without falling on my face. I made a quick mental note: Get more rest before summoning a -twelfth—level demon!

The demon snarled and turned to me, holding a -rail—thin, gibbering man by the collar and looking insanely incongruous against the muted -sage—green walls and cherrywood furniture in my living room. One wingtip brushed the computer on my desk, and I resisted the urge to grab that wing and yank him away. Probably not a good idea when I still wasn't certain if the demon would abide by my will.

"You should let me slay him, summoner," the demon said in a deep voice that sounded like rolling boulders. He held his captive dangling above the floor with no apparent effort and no strain showing in his heavily muscled body. He towered over me, his head topping mine by several feet, with leathery wings the color of burnished copper extending several more feet beyond that. In a house with -eight—foot ceilings, the demon would have been forced to crouch awkwardly and tuck in his wings in order to fit. For-tunately for him, my -Acadian—style house had the traditional -fifteen—foot ceilings designed for the subtropical climate of south Louisiana, where high ceilings helped keep houses cool.

I took a deep, steadying breath. The demon wasn't resisting my control. One less thing to sweat right now. "No, Kehlirik," I said carefully. "Our justice works differently in this sphere. But I thank you for your aid." The demon's captive had ceased his shrieking, at least, now reduced to whimpering moans. I rubbed the sudden gooseflesh on my arms, still horribly unnerved at how close I'd come to disaster. Just a few seconds earlier . . . I threw off a shudder and forced my attention back to the present.

A throbbing growl came from the demon's throat. "He is a thief. Worthless. He has no honor." He crouched and dropped the man to the floor, then pinned the intruder down with one foot. He tucked his wings behind him, clasping wickedly clawed hands together in front of him. A thick, sinuous tail curled around his legs, tip twitching in indication of his mood, and a dark and spicy scent surrounded him, foreign and wild. Crouched, his head was level with mine, and I was relieved that I could stop craning my neck to speak to him. This was only the second reyza I had ever seen, and I was still shocked at how large they were.

"It is . . . different here," I said, even though I heartily agreed with the demon's assessment of his captive. "I'm going to have enough trouble explaining away his talk of winged monsters."

"If I slay him, he cannot speak of winged monsters," Kehlirik replied, with undeniable logic. Then his broad nostrils flared as he snorted, "Not that I am a monster."

I had to smile. "No, reyza. You are no monster." Though the demon was monstrous in appearance—flat nose set in a bestial face, a wide mouth accented with curved fangs, and a thick ridge crest that swept back over his head and down his spine—I knew far too well that he was anything but a monster. "But it would be more difficult to explain a dead body," I continued. "Murder is a serious offense here."

He bared his teeth, lips curling back from the wicked fangs. "No body would be found, summoner. But I will respect your desire." He inclined his head to me, then spread his wings, somehow managing not to knock any of my pictures off the shelves. I looked at him in uninhibited delight. I'd spent almost ten years studying and training, carefully guided by my mentor and aunt through the summoning rituals of each level of demon, gradually working my way up to working solo. A solo summoning of a reyza was considered "graduation," and here I was with one in my living room.

I crouched to get a look at the -wide—eyed man beneath Kehlirik's foot, unconsciously echoing the demon's posture. Pale and skinny with scraggly hair that stood out from his head, the intruder was probably in his early to mid thirties, though I knew that my estimate could be off by about a decade. Heavy drug use tended to age a person, and I could easily peg him as a meth or possibly crack user. He also had the distinct sour odor of someone who hadn't paid close attention to hygiene for quite some time, and I found myself shifting slightly closer to the reyza, whose scent was far more appealing.

"Wow, did you ever pick the wrong house tonight," I said. Then I had to laugh as a realization hit me. "Wait. I bet you're the one who broke into those two houses up the highway last week. Am I right?"

The man whimpered and shook his head, his eyes wild. "No! No, not me! I . . . I thought this was my buddy's house—"

Kehlirik snarled down at the man, causing him to yelp in terror again. "I'm not stupid," I informed my intruder. "Don't insult me again."

The man began to shake with sobs. "OhGodohGod, pplease don't let it eat me! I'll never do it again, I swear. I just needed enough to buy a rock. Oh, God!"

I shifted my regard to the demon. Kehlirik rumbled low in his throat, returning my gaze with eyes full of intelligence and cunning. I was ridiculously tempted to screw with my burglar and ask the demon if he was hungry, but I wasn't completely sure that Kehlirik would realize I was kidding. I was fairly positive that demons had no taste for human flesh, but it was probably best to not test the issue. There were plenty of unknowns when it came to demons.

I stood, shaking a slight cramp out of my leg. I really couldn't allow the demon to kill him. The guy was a drug addict and probably had a rap sheet a mile long, but I doubted that any of his offenses were of the capital variety—most likely nothing more than theft to support his habit. Besides, I was supposed to be one of the good guys.

Oh, well. There was no doubt that he was going to babble about what he saw. I would just have to trust that no one would believe any ravings he might have about winged monsters.

Besides, it was his own damn fault that he'd picked my house to break into, on a night that I'd summoned a demon.

A deliciously wicked compromise occurred to me. "Reyza, I do not wish this one slain, but perhaps you could do me a service."

The demon's eyes glowed a ruddy orange in the dim light of my living room. "Name your desire, summoner."

With effort, I kept my face composed. "I would have him punished for his intrusion, yet he must be returned to me physically unharmed."

The demon inclined his head gravely, but I was fairly sure I could see amusement in his eyes. "It will be done, summoner."

I barely had time to step out of the demon's way before he snatched up the pathetic man and bounded out the front door. I followed, pausing just long enough to grab my cell phone and handcuffs off my desk. I exited onto my porch just in time to see Kehlirik leap into the air with my erstwhile intruder firmly grasped in clawed hands.

I let out a snicker and sat on the front step. I listened as the panicked screams faded into the night sky, then dialed the number for the St. Long Parish Sheriff's Office.

"Hi, this is Detective Kara Gillian with the PD," I said when the dispatcher answered. "Could you please send a patrol unit to my home address? I have a -ten—fifteen on a 62R here." A -10—15 was an arrest, and a 62R was a burglary. Though I worked for the Beaulac Police Department, I lived outside the city limits, which meant that if something criminal happened at my house, it was sheriff's office jurisdiction.

"A 62R . . . Kara, someone broke into your house? Way out there?"

I recognized the woman's voice as a dispatcher who'd previously worked with the PD. Slightly pudgy with harshly dyed red hair, but I couldn't remember the woman's name to save my life. "Yeah, but all he managed to do was break a window by the door."

The dispatcher laughed. "Bad choice of houses!"

You have no idea, I thought. "No kidding," I said instead. "Good thing the noise woke me up."

"All right, I'll get a unit out there."

I set the phone down and clasped my hands lightly around my knees, looking up at the moon that shone full through the barest sheen of clouds. A languid breeze twined through the dark trees, rustling needles and bringing a deep, rich scent of earth and pine to me. I hugged myself against the slight chill, listening to the faint buzz of a mosquito and the song of a nearby cricket. A satisfied peace stole through me, an -almost—Pavlovian response to my environment. I'd lived in this house my entire life—with the exception of one terrible month after my father was killed by a drunk driver. I was eleven and had been placed in foster care until my aunt Tessa could return from Japan to take over as my legal guardian. My mother had passed away three years before that, from ovarian cancer that had gone undetected until it was far too late, and there were no other relatives—or even close friends—to take me in, a fact that had not pleased my aunt at the time, especially since the one time she'd met me before I'd been in diapers. But she'd done what she could to lessen the upheaval for me, despite her reluctance to take on the enormous responsibility of raising a preteen kid. She'd moved into this house with me instead of yanking me out of the only home I'd ever known, knowing that in time I would find more comfort than grief here.

I was nearly thirty now and finally beginning to realize just how important that comfort was to me. I loved it out here, far from town and other houses. I lived on a -seldom—traveled highway, my driveway was long and winding, and the nearest neighbor was well over a mile away.

It was the perfect house for someone who required privacy.

And it wasn't until I was fifteen that I'd learned my aunt's ulterior motive for the decision to raise me in this house. My aunt Tessa was a summoner of demons, and the basement of this house was an ideal place for a summoning chamber.

A few minutes later, the demon swooped down to land neatly in front of me, dangling his -ashen—faced prisoner by one ankle. "I believe he is suitably cowed."

Too bad I couldn't give this treatment to all my arrestees. We'd probably have fewer repeat offenders, I thought as I handcuffed the unresisting man. I left him whimpering softly on the porch with his hands cuffed behind his back, then returned my attention to the demon. "My thanks again, Kehlirik."

The demon slowly sank into a crouch. "Summoner, this was the first time you called a reyza unaided, yes?"

I gave a wary nod. Had I screwed something up?

He snorted, flaring his nostrils. "I did not think that you called me for the sole purpose of thwarting an intrusion. Had you another desire for this summoning?"

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Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian Series #1) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 175 reviews.
CarolynC More than 1 year ago
This book was so entertaining and fascinating! What a great read - I was bummed when it was over. Charlaine Harris describes Mark of the Demon as a cross between a police procedural and an urban fantasy, and I think that's apt. Main character Kara Gillian is a newbie police detective by day, reclusive demon summoner on certain nights. Much to the dismay of the other detectives, she's been assigned to lead big case--a serial killer! ** 1. Interesting & realistic details** I enjoy learning new things and getting nerdy little details in books. Rowland spent time as a cop, a crime scene investigator and even in forensics, so she really delivers - not on the dry details, but the way real people behave in that world. I loved getting the view of a smart, sensitive woman making it in a male dominated profession, how the different people work a crime scene, the way the cops kid each other, the little things they know about each other, autopsy room biz and more. ** 2. The odd involvement of a comic book artist and his work in the plot ** I won't say much about this, except it was cool. And whenever I thought I had the relationship of the comic and the comic artist to the plot figured out, I was wrong. ** 3. Excellent hero/subtle romance balance ** Some people found this book to be a love triangle, some feel it's clearly not a love triangle, and I'm in the 'not a love triangle' category. I felt there was one appropriate hero, and he's evolved through the book in a way that really satisfies me, and also makes me look forward to more from this pair. ** 4. Demon world ** Again, great details. The whole demon thing was well thought out, but not overly labored. One little detail I thought was so charming - Rhysel, a minor, part-animal demon Kara frequently summons, enjoys Barq's root beer as an offering. ** 5. Clothes ** I love the way clothes make Kara feel real and even vulnerable. For example, one time cops come to her home and see her in her demon summoning outfit, and they think she's in her pajamas, and actually, her summoning outfit is sort of like simple silk pajamas. (She doesn't get into the "whole flowing robes thing.") At another point Kara is feeling vulnerable about the investigation and getting all this push-back from male detectives and handsome Fed Ryan, so she puts on a spiffy-looking detective outfit instead of going with her usual casual look. The highly professional suit is a kind of armor against the flak she's getting, but she also looks good in it. ** 6. Villain backstory ** There's a whole villain backstory, and I rather enjoyed how it made sense when you got to the end. In retrospect, I enjoyed ruminating on his it lined up with the morality/amorality of the demon world. Rowland's next comes out next spring. I can't wait!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently found these books and have started reading one after another. I find the characters very interesting and the stories fresh with each book. Mrs. Rowland has written a great leading character in Kara Gillian and has made her likeable, relatable, and completely strange all at the same time. New characters are added along the way that all bring something new and refreshing to the table. I highly recommend this series and look forward to reading more.
harstan More than 1 year ago
On her first homicide case, Beualac police detective Kara Gillian needs help capturing a serial killer who has murdered thirteen taking their souls with him. Instead of other cops, she uses her inherited occult skills as a demon summoner to conjuror up a minor demon to help her stop the Symbol Man. However, the mage is stunned when her ritual brings her demon lord Rhyzkahl. At the next murder scene the wastewater plant, Kara senses a trace of magic, but before she can follow up, she is stunned when FBI Agent Ryan Kristoff arrives. She needs his help, but also fears the price she will pay to bring in a killer thought dead three years ago; as Kara knows Ryan's touch burns her soul. This romantic police procedural fantasy is a fast-paced thriller starring two fascinating lead characters who each understands catching the Symbol Man comes before their personal desires. The investigation is top rate as paranormal clues are as important to solving the case as the mundane (poor choice of words with what happens to the victims). Sub-genre fans will welcome Diana Rowland into the fold as the author brings a fascinating twist to forensic science and police work with the exhilarating magic murder mystery MARK OF THE DEMON. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mark of the Demon is a stunning display of Diana Rowland’s in depth knowledge of law enforcement, the psychology of the criminal mind, and the decomposition of bodies. The novel is rife with details, twists in the plot, and believable characters. I will definitely be picking up the next one in the series. *Originally posted on goodreads
Wendy33 More than 1 year ago
This is Ms. Rowland's debut book and well, I LOVE IT. For being a first book, it's highly well-written. The characters are wonderful, the plot is tightly-focused and I'm so looking forward to the following book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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pacey1927 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just want to squeal about how much I adored this book. It has been on my TBR shelf for years, literally. On a whim, I pulled it off the shelf and I can't emphasis how glad I am to have done so. This book is the first that I have read that really does a top notch job of mixing police investigation/CSI type storytelling with the paranormal. The story is about Kara Gillian who gets the lead on a murder case which echoes a previous case from years ago. Is it the same killer or a copycat? But Kara sees something on the bodies that most people wouldn't see. She sees the Arcane or magic. Kara has certain 'extra' abilities. She can summon demons and bind them to do her bidding for a price. Adding to the drama, Kara accidentally summons a Demon Lord Rhyzkahl. Rhyzkahl does something very...surprising when he visits Kara.For starters I absolutely adored Kara. She was smart and funny and just normal, very girl next door (who can summon a demon). She has a little more pudge than she'd like. She is smart as a whip and caring and loyal. I also wasn't a big fan of Rhyzkahl, although I am not sure whether I was supposed to be or not. I did really like Ryan, the FBI guy. But I liked him for the same reasons I liked Kara. He was just an average guy in very non-average circumstances. And he is handsome and witty. The mystery was hard to figure out and there were more than a few breath taking twists and turns. Overall I was spellbound.I can seem to go on and on in reviews about books that I don't care for but with books I enjoyed as much as I enjoyed this one its more difficult to write a review. I don't want to give a single surprise away. I knew nothing about "Mark of a Demon" other than what was on the back blurb. I can just encourage others to read this one because it is written well, has delightful characters, and shocks and thrills along the way to a very satisfying conclusion.
Shrike58 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The friend who lent me this novel commented that one of the fine things about it was how well grounded in ordinary life it is. Detective Kara Gillian is just a normal policewoman, except for the small matter that she has the vocation of calling demons. Yes, the core of the story is about how she inadvertently calls a demon lord, and thus finds herself sucked into an ever accelerating series of serial killings, which tie into a family inheritance of a past summoning that went very wrong, but that the story is so well-grounded in lived-in detail that the sense of place and way of life almost overshadows the fantasy elements. This is not to mention that the costs involved in dealing with the looming menace are very high indeed, and very poignant. The interesting question will be whether the author can one-up this book, having obviously poured so much of herself into it.
amf0001 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anita lite. She's a demon summoner and a cop, she loves being a cop, she's after a serial killer yadda, yadda, yadda. It just feels so familiar, there was nothing new or fresh here, though it wasn't badly written and I didn't dislike the main character. It just if the plot is going to be so derivative, the way its told has to be exceptional, and this was just average.
kcaroth1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a combination of mystery, forensics, and police procedural with demons and serial killers thrown in.The main character, detective Kara Gillian, is a strong woman and a good cop but with enough vulnerability to be an intereresting character. The storyline has a good balance of action and development of the relationships between the characters. Every once in a while, I felt like there could be a little stronger editing because a similar discussion, description, or feeling would appear more than once. All in all, though, this was really enjoyable, and I expect that this talented first time author will only get stronger in subsequent books.
dearheart on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Detective Kara Gillian is put in charge of The Symbol Man serial murders because she¿s the most knowledgeable about the cold case. The killer is suddenly active again. She¿d been interested since she¿d been able to get near that last body when she was a patrolman 3 years ago and could tell that arcane magic had been used. She¿s the leading expert because she¿d read up on the file in the last few weeks after being transferred to her current position. Kara has a little secret. She¿s a demon summoner and very knowledgeable about the arcane, something she can¿t share with her fellow officers or they¿d think she was nuts. Only her Aunt Tessa, another summoner, is aware of this gift. She doesn¿t have much time to solve the case when she realizes what the murderer¿s goal is and that she needs to stop him by the next full moon.Demons get summoned for favors or knowledge. When Kara does a summoning, she doesn¿t get the one she wanted. Instead she gets a Demon Lord, and they hate to be summoned. For some reason he doesn¿t kill her, adding another dimension and more clues to the situation.This is an Urban Fantasy Mystery with the bulk of the story devoted to the mystery and police work and only a small portion devoted to the metaphysical. There are enough twists in this story that will leave you guessing who the bad guy is.This is the first book for this author who has her own police and forensics background. It¿s also the first book in a series featuring Kara.
PaulWood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you like urban fantasy, you'll love this book.If you like hard-boiled traditional mysteries and don't mind a dash of paranormal thrown in, you'll love this book.If you like fluffy paranormal romances, this book might be a bit much for you, unless you're willing to think a little.This is an excellent story. The plot is deep and intriguing, with enough clues to make you think you can help solve the mystery. Even so, you'll come across several "I didn't see that coming!" moments. The main character is a strong young woman, common in urban fantasies, but fleshed out into a real character with a history and believable emotion. The techniques and procedures are very well described; the author has drawn from her police background and has taken the time to get the details right. Overall, a very entertaining read. Where's the sequel?Highly recommended.
jjmachshev on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Mark of the Demon" is more paranormal mystery with hot sex than a paranormal romance with mystery. Make sense? The is Diana Rowland's first book about a brand new detective in soutern Lousiana who also happens to be a demon summoner. Her very first case turns out to be one that has ties to her family's past and also introduces her to one smoking hot demon lord!Kara is a small-town cop and a demon summoner. When her first case turns out to be the resurgence of the 'Symbol Man' killings after a three year hiatus, she's not sure whether to be excited or overwhelmed! She quickly determines the killings have an arcane purpose and that means she's likely the only local detective who can solve this case. But first she'll have to deal with an amorous demon lord, a suspicious FBI agent, and a very high body count.The author had to take the time to set up her world, its rules, and her cast; but once she had that fleshed out, I was drawn into the mystery of who was killing and why. I won't give away the solution, but I was a bit disappointed by the sleight-of-hand required from the author to produce the killer. If you like to 'solve' while you read, you'll likely have problems with this one. If you just like an exciting, gritty, urban fantasy mystery with some pretty hot sex thrown in...then you should pick up "Mark of the Demon" by Diana Rowland.
Tynga on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kara is working on her very first homicide investigation, it's not a usual case, but Kara isn't a usual inspector either. Her town is the victim of a serial killer. Everyone thinks he is a lunatic satanist, but she knows better. The murderer is using the Arcane - a magical energy used to summon demons and friends. Gillian is leading her investigation by 2 fronts: Forensic and Arcane, unfortunately she can't share the latter aspect if she doesn't want everyone to think she's crazy and remove her from the case.This book is a perfect mix of CSI and UF, and both aspect of the book get the credit they deserve. Let me explain =) While I'm not an inspector, I've been to autopsies before, and I was pleased to see that most of the description was fairly accurate, and the intrigue for the culprit was a secret until the very end, I never saw the blow coming. On the Fantasy side, Diana created a very believable world, with good descriptions of the summonings, creatures and the Arcane altogether.If I had to point one not-so-good aspect, I'd go with the sex scenes description. There's only 2-3 of those, they aren't a big deal really, but I was disappointed in them. You know they happened, but they happen so quick, you barely get a rough description and it's over. Overall, Rowland did a great job in her first novel, a very interesting bland of CSI and UF, the end was very exciting and I find myself wondering how everything will wrap-up in the second installment.
cmbutler79 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting book but I didn't love it. I gave it 3 stars because the detective/crime portion was well-written. However, the rest of it seemed thrown in as an after-thought to make it sexy. Kara (the main character) is a confused sort of individual. She is insecure (which is fine, very humanizing) but she accidently summons a demon lord who she is convinced will kill her. Her paralyzing fear turns to sexy fun when they knock boots instead. Right- then she spends the rest of the book trusting said demon then emphatically denying that he could desire her in anyway. Confused? Yup, so was I by this point. She spends a lot of the book commenting on how lonely she is and how she is a cop who cares...etc., etc. The crime aspects of the book were very well done and if this author decides to write a mystery novel, I'd definitely read it. Otherwise her books are not for me.
elnice on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My thoughts...This was a very dark story that kept me guessing until the very end. The plot could be described like an episode of CSI, from the crime scene workers to the medical coroner giving autopsies. The heroine, Kara, is placed as lead on a murder investigation to find a serial killer who has recently restarted his killing spree after a lengthy hiatus. She has the abilitly to summons demons which helps her detect the presence of arcane on the victims. Diana Rowland did a phenomenal job of building suspense and creating suspicion. I really did not know who to trust, who was honest, and I was truly surprised by the ending. Overall, the plot was faced paced, full of action, and at some points left me gasping at some of the horror revealed. The characters were all lika-able, even the ones we shouldn't trust. The main character Kara was a loner. Her abilities kept her apart from people, which I think made her a poor judge of character. I was frustrated at times at her ease of revealing her secrets to a virtual stranger, but I account that to her need for interaction and companionship. She had two male companions, both of which kept me suspicious. My favorite character was Kara's aunt, who was very quirky. Overall, I found all of the characters interesting. The cons...The middle of the story dragged a bit for me, but there was enough of a mystery to keep me interested. Readers with a low tolerance for violence should be warned that some of the scenes are very graphic. Overall, I enjoyed the story. I am not a fan of Demons. Of all the beings in paranormal stories, they scare me the most. That being said, Rowland had a very unique take on them. They were not portrayed as being horribly evil, no more evil than the humans at least. They were not described as beings from Hell, but rather from another plane. The next book in the series, Blood of the Demon, has already been added to my wishlist.
nickeemattos on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mark of the Demon is dark, sexy, fare where the heroine doesn¿t always get her way and the chase is filled with longing as well as plenty of twists and turns. For those fans of Kim Harrison¿s Hollows series, Mark of the Demon will instantly be a hit. Guaranteed. And those fans who might hunger for a Rachel Morgan demon ¿lurve¿ connection with Algaliarept or Minias, or Morgan Kingsley and Lugh from Jenna Black¿s series, then feed your desires with Mark of the Demon. Kara Gillian leads dual lives: that of a homicide detective in her small Louisiana parish, and a demon summoner. When Rhyzkahl, one of the most dangerous demon lords to cross into the earthly plane steps casually out of her summoning portal instead of a lower level luhrek demon, Kara knows she is in trouble. Big trouble. But what could have been an impending gory death for the tricky summoner, morphs into something sensual and extremely dangerous.As Kara heads the team on the Symbol Man serial killings, she comes to realize that there is a definite connection between Rhyzkahl, the recent ritual mutilations, and a powerful unknown rival summoner who is leaving a trail of bodies a mile-wide. Shackled with an FBI agent she doesn¿t quite trust and yet is attracted to, Kara finds she has few allies in which to solve one of the grisliest crime sprees to hit her region in years. Stumped, Kara tries to tentatively solicit information from Rhyzkahl with potential devastating consequences. She finally comes to realize what ¿playing with fire¿ means when toying with a demon lord.Rowland gives readers what they secretly crave: wicked non-stop action, diabolical sensuality and danger. As well as a sinister deadly demon force to be reckoned with in Rhyzkahl, and the possible means to tame him through Kara Gillian. One can only wonder what Rhyzkahl has planned for Kara in BLOOD OF THE DEMON (out February 2010). We hope it¿s equally good and BAD!
Squeex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Now I typically don't dig on romance in my UF or paranormal, but I made an exception here. There is plenty of action, demons, and a hunt for a serial killer that made this a superb mixture of urban fantasy and police procedural, so a wee bit of HOT romance scenes didn't put me out at all. It probably also helped that Diana Rowland can write superb HOT romance scenes.This was an excellent mixture of UF and a thriller with the hunt of a serial killer. Neither the paranormal story or the thriller mystery got lost to the other, the complemented the other. I am not sure I've read one like this before. And I really hope the next in the series, BLOOD OF THE DEMON, is more of the same. What I dug even better was the ending...the WTF?? moment when the killer was revealed...whoa....did NOT see that coming at all and I liked that!Five whoa beans.....
BookAddictDiary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Southern Louisiana cop Kara Gillian isn't just the newest addition to the violent crimes team, but also a summoner-in-training who summons demons in her basement. When a spooky serial killer named The Symbol Man returns to ritual killings after a three year absence, Kara must unwravel the mystery and find the killer before he take more lives. Meanwhile, an unexpected demon comes through during one of Kara's summonings and as she tries to figure out the demon's identity, the murder case becomes increasingly tied to the paranormal and the strange demon Kara summoned.Fast-paced and filled with great dialog, Mark of the Demon was an easy read that combined police procedural with urban fantasy. I read this book in two days -I couldn't put it down. The plot has some unique elements, the suspense is there, and the characters aren't bad either.While overall an enjoyable book, I couldn't help but constantly ask why summoners went through all of the difficulties and dangers of summoning a demon. The book doesn't really give an answer for that, it looks like summoners call demons just for the heck of it -which makes me wonder why anyone bothers with all of the dangers of summoning. The solution to the crime also seemed a little like it came out of left field -particularly the identity of the killer. The ending also seemed somewhat contrived, and I was hoping that the ending would be just a little more satisfying.Readers who enjoy paranormal romances with stronger romance elements will find Mark of the Demon somewhat light on this front due to the relative absence of a romance subplot, but the book has plenty of steamy scenes with a mysteriously beautiful demon that surprises both the reader and Kara.If you're looking for a fun paranormal read that feels like CSI: Louisiana Demons, then Mark of the Demon is a great choice. It's a wonderful beginning to what's sure to be an enjoyable series -can't wait for book 2, Blood of the Demon in February 2010!
les121 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Imagine an episode of Law and Order with otherworldly creatures thrown in and you¿ll have Mark of the Demon. I like Law and Order and I generally like books with otherworldly creatures, so, naturally, I liked this book. It wasn¿t a perfect story, but it was a unique blend of the police procedural and fantasy genres. It was also refreshing to read a book without the typical ¿urban fantasy kitchen sink¿ (a mixture of almost every supernatural creature imaginable). The setting and characters were well drawn and realistic. My only major complaint was that the mystery was too easy to figure out. Overall, it wasn¿t outstanding, but it was entertaining enough for me to want to read the second book in the series.
FantasyDreamer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kara Gillian just had two major milestones in her adult life occur, one she has just become a full fledged summoner of demons, after training for over 10 years under her mentor, who is also her aunt. Summoners are born with the ability to summon demons, it is not something that just anyone can pick up and start practicing. The other major milestone, Kara has recently been promoted to homicide detective, after working her way up the ladder at the Beaulac Police Department, in Beaulac, Louisiana.Kara has only been a homicide detective for a few weeks, when the infamous Symbol Man makes a reappearance. Three years ago the Symbol Man had murdered 13 people, marking all of his victims with an unknown symbol, then he just disappeared as if he didn't exist. Since getting promoted to a homicide detective, Kara had been studying the the Symbol Man case files because she suspects a connection to the realm of demons. Kara is surprised when she is made the lead detective in the Symbol Man case by her captain, his reasoning to her, she is the only one familiar enough with case, the previous detectives having retired since the case went cold. But unbeknownst to Kara's captain she is the perfect person for the job because of her knowledge in arcane practice of demon summoning.A task force is formed for the Symbol Man case, and one of the team members is, nice on the eyes but standoffish, FBI Special Agent Ryan Kristoff, who Kara immediately gets off on the wrong foot with. She doesn't know if he will help or hinder her work on the serial killer case. In the meanwhile, the sexy and dangerous Demonic Lord Rhyzkahl, who Kara had accidentally summoned, is invading Kara's dreams in a very sensual and distracting way. Kara has her work cut out for her as she tries to figure who the Symbol Man is and prevent anyone else from becoming his next victim.I've been wanting to read this book since I first found out about it, and I went to great lengths to my hands on a copy of Mark of the Demon as soon as I possibly could. I was not disappointed. If I could have, I would've read this book from start to finish in one sitting but silly, mundane things like work and family got in the way. [impish grin:]Diana Rowland did an excellent job setting up her paranormal world of demons, which is a very different from what I have seen so far in the Urban Fantasy genre. The demons in this world can be both beautiful and scary, physically and in personality. They are bound by a very strict code of honor, that you don't dare disregard, not even for one moment. And if you do, you won't live to regret it. These demons are also very ambitious and in constant battle with each other in their realm. The lines between right and wrong are far different for them compared to what a human's ideas of the same.She has made Kara, a flawed, witty character that you can sympathize with, she is not perfect by any means. Kara has insecurities, that I think any woman would have trying to work in male dominant work force and the personality traits of a person who grew up with a somewhat reclusive and eccentric aunt. But she doesn't let her doubts get in her way, Kara can give as good as she gets with plenty of sass to boot.Mark of the Demon is Diana Rowland's debut novel as a published author. Throughout the story you can see evidence of author's real life experience as a detective and a morgue assistant, she weaves these truths into her story with vivid details. She had me guessing with each new clue and just when I thought I had it all figured out, I found out I was wrong. By the end of the book a lot questions are answered but she leaves you with enough enticement that you want to read the next book. I would describe this book as CSI meets the paranormal in gritty, passionate detail with a sizzling, suspenseful outcome. I will pursue the next book Blood of the Demon, as doggedly as I did Mark of the Demon.
pollywannabook on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Review courtesy of All Things Urban FantasyMARK OF THE DEMON reads like Dexter meets the Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison (Dexter's sister Debra reminds me a lot of Kara). That's a dangerously good combination in my opinion. I foolishly read the second book in this series first so I did have a little more information going than I should have, but I still found the mystery gripping, the police investigation authentic, the demon mythology extremely well thought out and creative, and the romance seductive and scary in turn. On her website, Diana Rowland describes herself as an author of urban fantasy/police procedurals, which is a perfect description of this series. Having worked as a street cop, a detective, a computer forensics specialist, a crime scene investigator, and a morgue assistant give her a wealth of knowledge to draw from in creating a brilliantly believable character in Homicide Detective Kara Gillian. Where she got her knowledge of demonology is anyone's guess, but it¿s every bit as detailed and plausible.Rowland manages to weave together two very separate types of stories: the investigation and manhunt for a serial killer, and the uneasy romance/alliance between a demon summoner and the criminally handsome demonic lord she unwittingly summons. One a gritty and grim police procedural, and the other a supernatural and sensual and urban fantasy. The two could have felt very disconnected and yet the blended seamlessly. I already know the sequel (Blood of the Demon) is every bit as good as the this first book, and the third book (Secrets of the Demon) due out on January 4, 2011 is one of my most anticipated titles of next year.Sexual Content: A few moderately graphic sex scenes.
NovaStalker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Far too much swearing from every single character. Fair enough if there's a bad mouthed few but nobody can go two words without swearing. This book reads like something written by a teenager.
wenj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mark of the Demon isn¿t your average urban fantasy novel; instead it is a brilliant mix of police procedural and urban fantasy all rolled into one. The story itself is dark, focusing on a serial killer by the name of the Symbol Man. After years of being dormant, he returns to the lime light leaving a gruesome trail of bodies in his wake. Kara Gillian, a freshly promoted homicide detective, is given the lead on the case, but her investigative powers aren¿t the only asset she¿s bringing to the table. She¿s also a summoner, a caller of demons that can sense the arcane which permeates the victims. Unable to tell the other detectives about what she knows she is happy to discover when an FBI agent who is assigned to assist her in the case can also see the minute traces left on the bodies. Between the two of them they find that the real motivation behind the killings is more horrific and insane then they could have imagined.As if dealing with a lunatic serial killer isn¿t enough, Kara also has her own demonic problems, in the form of Rhyzkahl, a Demon Lord. Unlike lesser demons, Lords do not like being summoned into our sphere. As an honor bound species they feel that is the highest insult to their class and often kill the one guilty of such an offense. When a summoning of a lesser demon goes awry Kara comes face to face with her greatest nightmare, a very angry Demonic Lord. Only narrowly does she escape his wrath, but being the beautiful creature he is, she can¿t deny his pleasure. With a lingering offer to call him to her again, she is baffled and mollified by her stupidity and is only more stricken when Rhyzkahl begins showing up in her dreams luring her to call him, an act that would leave him unbound and free to terrorize and enslave our world.But, only as she begins to slowly piece together the mystery of whom the Symbol Man is and the horrible purpose to his murders does she begin to see how connected she really is, both by her past and by the Demon Lord that haunts her.The twining plots in this story really keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat until the very end. It¿s a well planned mystery that has a fast pace interspersed with romance and action. The worlds are well built, dismissing the Hollywood world of CSI and showing the sad and slow truth about homicide detectives and how crimes are solved. The arcane aspect of the plot is also made more real by the attention to small details, giving the reader information to help the world come to life. Briefly you are introduced to the demon hierarchy and the customs between summoner and demon, as well as the art of summoning the demons.In addition to the world being well built, the characters themselves are highly developed. Kara is a feisty detective, ambitious and hard working with a quick wit. But, she is also able to acknowledge and accept any flaws or short comings within her character which makes her seem more vulnerable. But, adding to her mettle, Diana Rowland also demonstrates her ability to let a character grow. FBI Agent Ryan Kristoff begins the story as an icy and standoffish personality. I had a hard time coming to like him until he began to thaw towards Kara and we find that he is much the same as her. Hiding his ability to use Othersight, a way of seeing the arcane, he also is cut off from the `normal¿ world. In the end, he is a very interesting character and the blossoming relationship between the two is tentative and more likable for it.And as with any great story, the conclusion of this mystery leaves you craving more-to understand the undiscovered talents of the characters and to continue to see how the relationship between Kara and Ryan evolves as well as how her relationship between the Demon Lord Rhyzkahl will change.
edstan76 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ok, this is the first of 3 books that was lent to me. And I should have written this review before I gave it back b/c now I can't refer to the book for names of characters and plot info. So this review will be a bit short.This book was great!!! It is the first book by Diana Rowland, and the first of the series. It also is a big cop procedural book. And where as we have too many of those tv shows, as a book its totally cool. Also as Ms. Rowland was previously a decretive with a Louisiana police department it totally shows.After I get caught up reading some of the other stuff on my bookshelf, I am going out and buying this and the second one. They definitely needs a re-read and own it to read it again in the future.(Oh and the main character Kara is a demon summoner. And she is investigating multiple homicides involving arcane powers used for summoning. There is another detective that finds her attractive as well as a demon lord. Oh and demons arent from hell. They are useful. Its the people summoning them that are bad and make them do bad things.)Read and enjoy.