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71 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Debut That Will Blow You Away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Detective Kara Gillian is a bit of a loner because of her secret life as a demon summoner. It's hard to get close to someone when you have a summoning circle drawn on your basement floor and you leave your candles and tools laying around for anyone to see. When not summoning demons, Kara works as a Detective for the Violent Crimes unit. She is recently promoted out of...
Published on July 8, 2009 by Rachael

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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland
"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...
Published on July 15, 2009 by jjmachshev


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71 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Debut That Will Blow You Away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, July 8, 2009
This review is from: Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian) (Mass Market Paperback)
Detective Kara Gillian is a bit of a loner because of her secret life as a demon summoner. It's hard to get close to someone when you have a summoning circle drawn on your basement floor and you leave your candles and tools laying around for anyone to see. When not summoning demons, Kara works as a Detective for the Violent Crimes unit. She is recently promoted out of Property Crimes and is very excited to be working some homicide cases.

During a summoning to complete her Summoner Training, the wrong Demon comes through the portal and into Kara's house. He doesn't seem all that bad, especially when he shows Kara what she's been missing from not having a man lately. But after her encounter, Kara realizes what a huge mistake she has made and that this Demon is not one to play around with. When he starts invading her dreams and the line between reality and dreaming is confused, Kara starts to regret ever doing the summoning in the first place.

A serial killer dubbed The Symbol Man killed thirteen people when Kara first joined the police academy. He was never apprehended and now three years later, he has begun his killing spree once again. Kara has always been interested in the case since first sensing arcane power around one of the deceased bodies. She has studied the case files and is the most educated on The Symbol Man out of everyone in the police force. So when Kara is given the lead on the case for her first job in Violent Crimes, she is thrilled to be given such a big opportunity to prove herself as a Detective.

The FBI has joined forces on this case and with them comes a gorgeous but obnoxious man named Agent Kristoff. Kara works side by side with him while trying to keep her knowledge of the occult under wraps so everyone doesn't peg her as a crazy satanic worshipper.

When the case turns out to definitely involve the world of the occult, Kara is at a crossroads on what to do. Does she keep her occult knowledge and position as a demon summoner a secret and try to solve the case herself or does she put her trust in a member of the FBI in the hopes that he doesn't think she's a lunatic? If Kara doesn't entrust in someone for some help, more people could end up killed. Will Kara's decision turn deadly or will she solve the case and come out alive?

Mark of the Demon is a delightful collaboration of genres including urban fantasy, suspense, romance and police procedural. Debut author Diana Rowland takes everything that I love in a book and puts it all together to write an outstanding novel. Take a dash of Charmed mixed with some Dexter and you have Mark of the Demon.

Mark of the Demon demands to be read in one sitting and is impossible to put down. There are some graphic scenes in this book so it is definitely not for the faint of heart. I enjoy the gritty and grimy aspects and was indeed shocked and scared while reading this book and it's not easy to scare me! Mark of the Demon is a breath taking, heart stopping, white knuckler thriller that grabbed me by the throat and didn't let go! Run and get this book when it releases June 23rd. The next book, Blood of the Demon is due out January 26, 2010.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rowland's Demesne is Urban Fantasy at its Finest!, August 20, 2009
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Beaulac Homicide detective Kara Gillian likes her chocolate donuts a little too much for her waistline. She's short, a bit socially inept, tactless and a bit crude, and as persistent as a terrier with a bone. She's not terribly beautiful, isn't terribly strong physically, and she hasn't ever had a boyfriend stick around longer than three months. Her childhood wasn't a walk in the park, and she dealt with personal trauma in not always the best ways. She's smart, and dedicated to her job as a cop, oh - and she's got a nifty ability to summon demons from the demon plane.

She's also the shining star of Diana Rowland's exciting debut novel, Mark of the Demon.

Sarcastic and witty, Kara is just flat-out-fun to read, and she's so refreshingly real and layered, such a nice change from the leather-clad, kick-ass, superhuman, biker-type heroines of most urban fantasy series that I found myself pitching headfirst into this book, unable to put it down until the wee wee hours of the morning, after finishing every delicious page.

An awesome blend of cop thriller and paranormal mystery, Mark of the Demon is exquisitely detailed, richly plotted, and well-paced. Her characters are human, with histories that aren't always pleasant, and personalities that sometimes match. FBI Agent Ryan Kristoff in particular was a yummy treat. Sometimes he was a total fed, sometimes he was like a goofy kid, and never did that dichotomy seem out of place or undefined.

Rowland's life experience truly gave an absolute air of legitimacy to the police stuff and her imagination blew me away on the paranormal stuff. Her demons and the world in which they inhabit, glimpsed only briefly but so beautifully, are a breath of fresh air in a literary world gasping for it. Rowland does a totally kick ass job introducing you to them and to the world in which Mark of the Demon exists. It rocked MY world and made me rock with laughter. It made me ache for the girl who suffered a childhood trauma and fell down a path of self-destruction and cheer for the woman who pulled herself off that path and doesn't let her past define or cripple her, or use it as an excuse to be horrible to everyone around her (or to herself). There was strength of character in Kara Gillian, and I appreciated it. And there were such DELIGHTFUL teasers in the book, hints of what'll be further fleshed out (I hope) and explored in the next book, Blood of the Demon, to be released in February of 2010. I. Can. Not. Wait!!

The only small criticism I have for the book was an early scene following the accidental summoning of Rhyzkahl, a demon lord. The subsequent scene seemed out of place and out of character, and the deeper I went into the book the more out of character it seemed upon reflection. I just don't see how Kara could go from being terrified beyond human comprehension and certain of her death to getting it on with the singly most destructive creature she'll ever meet, no matter how beautiful. I understood the compulsion bit, but when Rhyzkahl ceased that, the rest seemed jarringly out of place. As a result, that scene seemed sort of gratuitous and unnecessary.

That being said, I would like to caution those readers who like their violence or description of crime scenes to be glossed over. Rowland pulls no punches and hides no horror. It would be a shame to miss this book, but it may be necessary for you. That's not a criticism, as I happen to like the gritty reality of it and understand the necessity, but not everyone will or does.

Mark of the Demon gets a 4.5 stars (and a big HELL YEAH) from me. Highly recommended and MUCH appreciated! Enjoy!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland, July 15, 2009
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This review is from: Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian) (Mass Market Paperback)
"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.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank goodness for surprises!, February 7, 2010
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This review is from: Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian) (Mass Market Paperback)
I have to admit, I am a urban fantasy snob. I have authors I love (Patricia Briggs, Jeniene Frost and Rachel Caine) and those I just like. Lately, I have been restless and unfulfilled. My favorite authors and finalizing their next installments of novels and I have desperately looking for new material. Unfortunately the results have been less than stellar and have left me totally disillusioned. So, I decided to take a chance on Mark of the Demon and boy, was I pleasantly surprised. I loved Ms. Rowland's writing style and the quirkiness of the main character, Kara Gillian. It was refreshing to see that the Gillian was not only strong but embraced her vulnerabilities as well. For once in a very long time I did not know who the killer was until the very last minute and was totally shocked and surprised.I waited to order the second book, Blood of the Demon, until I knew for sure that I was going to like the book. Now, I cannot wait to get my hands on it! Thanks Ms. Rowland! I needed a good read and boy, did you supply it and then some.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars refreshing new urban fantasy/suspense novel, May 3, 2010
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I won't go into the plot, because other reviewers have already done that.

This book exceeded my expectations. The female lead is a refreshing change from the usual wise-cracking, kick-ass, smarter-than-everyone-else lead characters that are common in this genre. Kara is realistically drawn - she's intelligent; an excellent and hard-working detective, though she recognizes her inexperience and weaknesses and is smart enough to seek out help when it's needed. She has a sweet tooth for doughnuts, and suffers the physical consequences of the indugence just like the rest of us.

The author must have some law enforcement experience because the crime scene, forensic, and medical details in the book are spot-on. At times, however, I thought there was a little too much technical detail that didn't seem necessary to move the story along.

The world the author created was interesting, basically the real world with a bit of a supernatural bend recognizable to only a few people. I enjoyed her descriptions of the demon realm and the various demon types, though found it was repeated a few times in the book.

Kara is a summoner, and an issue I have is I don't quite get her compulsion to summon. It wouldn't bother me, except she tries to explain it in the book & I don't think she did it well. It's very dangerous, could result in not only death for her but dire consequences to the whole world if a demon gets lose, yet she does it b/c she can? For more knowledge of the arcane? To help with some cases? I found her nonchalance about this unsettling, especially considering her dedication to law enforcement and protecting others. Though, if she didn't summon, there'd be no book. I'd just have liked a better explanation - something that would make the risk involved feel more acceptable.

Overall, an enjoyable book with engaging characters, and a plot that meshes together quite well urban fantasy and crime drama, with a small dash of romance.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing!, January 8, 2010
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This review is from: Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian) (Mass Market Paperback)
I was out of Jim Butchers & sick of Laurell Hamiltons. This was a crisply written detective story with a good plot & an effective twist - halfway in I felt a little disappointed at the predictability of the plot & then later found that I had predicted wrong. Very nice.

The author did a great job of trafficking in the supernatural without succumbing to triteness, partly due to the extensive technical realism (the author has real life experience in police work & forensics) & the down-to-earth qualities of her characters.

I do admit to wishing there was a little more substance to support the twist at the end & am puzzled by one (just one!) apparent loose end, but these are minor issues compared to the overall enjoyability of the storytelling. I think this was a very well done book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This paranormal thriller kept me guessing until the end, July 11, 2009
This review is from: Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian) (Mass Market Paperback)
Plot Summary: Recently promoted homicide detective Kara Gillian has been fascinated by the unsolved `Symbol Man' serial killer ever since she detected arcane energy on one of his victims. Kara is a demon summoner, and she can sense the leftover resonance from the killer's death magic. While trying to summon a lower demon for some questions, Kara accidentally meets Rhyzkahl, who is unlike any demon she's ever met. His angelic beauty and deadly temper cannot be controlled or contained, but he may be able to help her solve the case. Meanwhile Kara must hide the supernatural evidence from FBI agent Ryan Kristoff, who is either a pain in the rear, or the perfect partner for a gal with paranormal powers.

It's kind of hard to believe that this is a debut novel by a new author, but the `about the author' blurb cleared things up. Diana Rowland has had just about every kind of law enforcement job, from police detective, to forensics specialist, to morgue assistant, that it's no wonder that her portrayal of police work feels absolutely authentic. I imagine she had to work a bit harder at getting her paranormal details in line, but her effort has paid off, because it all meshes beautifully into an urban fantasy thriller that kept me guessing until the very end.

I was all smug at one point, because I thought I had it figured out, but no, I was wrong. Thank goodness, because the surprises and red herrings elevated this book from orange powder mac-n-cheese to homemade baked macaroni with gruyère. The creature Rhyzkahl was an unpredictable character, and I'm grateful that Rowland didn't make him safe or tame in any way. Demons shouldn't ever be boring or mundane like us weak-kneed mortals, and I say thank you for this wild and dangerous vision.

My only criticism is with the diluted romance. It reminds me of so many male/female cop relationships on various TV series, where the partners are flirty but it's all empty innuendos. It's like Scully and Mulder, Bones and Booth, or Scarecrow and Mrs. King (I just dated myself with that last one). Granted, in an urban fantasy I'm hardly surprised to see a slow build up, but right now I'm only feeling luke warm about love-interest Ryan Kristoff. His boyish teasing is too close to reality, and he reminds me of real guys I've met before. That's not a good thing. When it comes to the hero, I definitely want fantasy, not reality.

Still, these are minor issues that might smooth out down the road. Speaking of which, I smell a sequel coming... "Blood of the Demon" is coming in the Spring of 2010. I think it's gonna be good.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Decent First Book of a UF Series, February 20, 2011
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My top reasons to read this book:
1. Demons should be self-serving and I really got the feel that these other planer demons were. :-)
2. Kara, the leading protagonist, is likable.
3. There were 2 explicit scenes, but romance was not the focus of this novel.
4. There were cool descriptions of the murdered victim's bodies.
5. Just enough unanswered questions to feel like the novel was complete unto itself, but left you wanting to read the next book.
6. Kara is a demon summoner - way cool! The process was described in enough detail to keep me glued to the pages. I have a preference with books with demons.

My top reasons you won't enjoy this book:
1. Gosh, if the FBI are this goofy and gullible we need to petition the President to do a massive fire and rehire!
2. The Scooby mystery had an "Old Man Jenkins" reveal at the end. Really, there weren't really any real clues leading up to the reveal of the mysterious evil doer identity.
3. There was a lot of procedural police sluething that was laborious for me.
4. This is my biggest complaint: There were several unbelievable moments. For example: Kara has this big secret that she is a demon summoner - a secret she has kept from everyone and the world for many years. She practically tells the FBI agent as soon as she meets him and also a murder suspect that she just met. Why would she do that? I understand that it moves the plot, but I wish she wrestled a bit with her conscious before she blabbed.
5. This is a minor complaint about the classification of UF books these days... she works in a pretty small town, but this is still "urban"?
6. Supporting characters live to serve Kara. Her aunt meets this criteria in every way.
7. There wasn't enough fantasy for me in this Urban Fantasy book.
8. I wish the "symbol" was described with more detail.
9. I shied away from this book for a long time because the cover looked like a paranormal romance. This is not a "paranormal romance" novel.

Overall, I felt this was a slightly above average book for a book 1 in a series. It didn't rock my world, but I will give her book 2 a second chance, since I am forgiving of book 1's. The detective element was too prominent for my tastes. If I had to compare it to another series, I would compare it to the Kittredge "Nocturne City" series. So if you love those, you might love this one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing read, February 26, 2010
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I have to say this is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It has all the best elements of early anita blake books, without going overboard on sex like laurel k hamilton has recently done. I would rank this book right up there with the best of laurel k hamilton, patricia briggs, and kim harrison. I can't wait for more great books from diana rowland.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Few Rough Edges But A Very Promising Series Debut, February 15, 2010
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This review is from: Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian) (Mass Market Paperback)
After years of working her way up from street cop, Kara Gillian is a newly minted police detective by day. By night she embraces her family heritage as a "summoner" by summoning demons to her basement arcane workshop. After years of work she is finally ready to complete her training by calling up and binding a demon of the highest level. Unfortunately something goes wrong with the ritual, and instead of a demon, a demon-lord steps into her basement. Surprisingly, instead of killing her immediately, he contents himself with a sensual encounter and informs Kara that in the future she may "call" him rather than "summon" him and he will come.

Still somewhat shell-shocked from the encounter, she next learns that the local serial killer whose arcane traces she felt as a street cop has started striking again and if he is not stopped, the consequences will go well beyond simple loss of life.

Kara's story is told in the first person, and is often vividly described (the author has worked in a morgue, so the autopsy scenes seem very unsparing and true to life). All the book's write-ups describe it as a combination of police procedural and urban fantasy, and I believe that was the goal, but I have to say that the police narrative is a little bit shortchanged, and was one of the factors causing me to give the book 4 instead of 5 stars. In particualr, Kara seems to operate in a very free-wheeling manner, keeping her own hours, rarely checking in at work, doing paperwork, or coordinating with her serial-killer-taskforce. For that matter, we never get a clear picture of why summoners call demons other than that they can. I'm left almost with the feeling that it's a hobby like being a HAM radio operator. There is a bit much co-incidence as well, with 30 year old events dovetailing too neatly into the present. Still this is a very good start to a series, and the author has obviously left open possibilities similar to Richelle Mead's Thorn Queen/Dark Swan books for Kara to be involved in events both in our world and the demon land.

A SPOILER HERE

I did feel it was a bit odd that Kara never confronted the demon lord over his murder of her grandmother, or re-evaluated her tryst with him in the light of that information. Granted she never knew her grandmother, but he was the reason for that as well..
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Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian)
Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian) by Diana Rowland (Mass Market Paperback - June 23, 2009)
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