Deja Demon

Julie Kenner
2008, Urban Fantasy
Berkley, $14.00, 326 pages, Amazon ASIN 0425221903
Part of a series

Grade: B-
Sensuality: N/A

Deja Demon is the latest in Julie Kenner's series featuring demon-hunter and suburban mom, Kate Connor. I found this entry - one that I don't feel would stand alone well - to be a much darker read than 2007's Demons Are Forever, which I reviewed earlier this summer. And, be warned, if you've not read previously in the series but plan to, you might want to skip this review, which reveals sequential information.

Based on her recent success, Kate is promoted to level five demon-hunting status by the Vatican. Demons aside, things are getting very complicated in Kate's life. Her teenage daughter is focusing more of her attention on training to be a demon hunter, pleading with Kate to be included whenever possible. Kate is also having problems with both of the men in her life. Her husband, Stuart, is acting suspiciously and, with demon-hunting taking up more of her time and getting ever closer to her home, Kate knows she must soon tell Stuart about her secret life before he discovers the truth for himself.

As if all that weren't enough, David/Eric, a rogue demon hunter who is also the soul of her dead husband in the body of a high school teacher, is pressuring Kate to give him more access to their daughter and to her. Kate has feelings for both Eric and Stuart, but has no time to sort them out since her suburban town has been invaded by hordes of demons and zombies intent on killing her and her family.

Kate battles demons and zombies non-stop, with relatively few breaks. Her children face danger numerous times, and some of the scenes during which her young son watches her fight them left me a little uncomfortable. I know it would be unrealistic if the two sides of Kate's life never intersected, but it left me worried about her son.

There were fewer humorous moments in this book than in the last one, though I appreciated that the author included a few in order to provide a break from the action scenes. One moment involving zombie body parts and a political dinner in Kate's home stands out in particular for me. I would have appreciated more humorous scenes and a few less battles.

Kenner also includes some flashbacks to Kate and Eric's teen years as demon hunters. They interested me and rendered insight into their past relationship. That being said, though, this isn't a romance series and the focus is solidly on Kate and her point of view. Even so, I sympathized with Kate's conflicted feelings for both the men in her life.

I have no idea what the future holds for Kate or any of the people in her world. While I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as the one before, I will definitely pick up the next installment, to see what happens.

-- LinnieGayl Kimmel

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