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REVIEW: California Demon by Julie Kenner

Dear Ms. Kenner,

California DemonI love Carpe Demon, last year’s prequel to California Demon, so I was ready when this one went on sale. Though it took the Waldenbooks clerk a couple of minutes to find where her co-workers had shelved it, I was able to go home happy. My credit card balance will haunt me in a few weeks with all the purchases I’ve made this month but I’ll worry about that tomorrow. ;)

In last years Carpe Demon, Kate Connor is a retired 4th level Demon Hunter when a sudden demon infestation and attempt to take over the world (or just SoCal) takes place. Reluctantly Kate heads back into the fray and saves the world. Now she’s been doing demon hunting duty for a few months. One of the places she routinely checks is a local retirement community since demons love to take over human bodies at the moment of death (you know all those miraculous medical miracles in the media? Most are actually demon infestations) and where’s a better place to find dying humans than there?

While chaperoning a field trip of senior citizens to her daughter’s school,
she discovers a new demon. Kate quickly takes care of him but afterwards, she discovers what he was after at the school. A book, which in the right demon hands and with the right sacrificial victims, will unleash two bad ass demons from their millennial imprisonment in hell. Well, %$#@!

Once again it’s up to Kate, along with retired demon hunter Eddie, her priest Father Ben, and her neighbor Laura, to head off disaster and keep the world safe. But who is the head demon and when will events which are already in motion culminate? Who is the new teacher at her teenage daughter’s school who reminds Kate so much of her murdered first husband? Will Kate’s second husband ever be home again while he campaigns for the local DA office? And where is her toddler’s sippy cup and Boo Bear?

I enjoy this fast paced series with evil demons galore. You’ve done a good job with the world building, quoting Backyardigans lyrics, and detailing the typical mother-teenage daughter tensions. Kate does use a lot of sarcastic humor at the beginning of the book which gradually levels off to a more manageable amount. While the books are told in first person, you show, through the facial expressions, comments and other actions, the thoughts and feelings of the secondary characters. As Publishers Weekly says, imagine Buffy grown, married and with a teenager and toddler while living in suburbia. I figured out where the final showdown would take place but you kept me guessing about a few other things.

A note to readers:the focus of these books is more the paranormal and Kate’s relationship with her family as a whole than romance. I do like the relationship between Kate and her daughter, Allie. It feels like you’ve been in the “Mom, please don’t embarrass me in front of my friends or the cute guy I have a crush on” trenches already. I like the open way the book ended and can’t wait to see how Allie reacts to Kate’s explanations. B for you.

~Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

5 Comments

  1. Cece
    Jun 20, 2006 @ 20:25:16

    I keep meaning to pick her up. Guess I better get on the ball!

    ReplyReply

  2. Jayne
    Jun 21, 2006 @ 06:43:34

    Cece, you might want to find one of her books you’re interested in and try just that one. I like this Demon Hunter series and her Givenchy/Manolo series but have heard comments from other readers that they haven’t liked one or the other. She also has another paranormal series with Aphrodite in the titles that I haven’t tried. Again I know of some who liked/disliked it too. In other words, don’t glom everything yet. ;)

    The Givenchy/Manolo books are more romantic suspense and have more romance in them than the Demon Hunter series (at least so far…). Carpe Demon and California Demon (I kept singing the Mama’s and the Papa’s song in my head the whole time I was reading it!) are paranormal suspense with the heroine already in a stable marriage.

    ReplyReply

  3. Cece
    Jun 21, 2006 @ 08:51:54

    Thanks Jayne! I’m not a huge stickler on the romance thing (obviously LOL). Have you checked out “I’m the Vampire, That’s Why?” by Michelle Bardsley? I don’t think it’s out yet but sounds similiar (single mother gets turned into a vamp).

    ReplyReply

  4. Jay
    Jun 21, 2006 @ 13:44:20

    I think Julie Kenner is one of those authors who really is getting better with time. Her earlier books are kinda iffy (at least for me) but everything since The Givenchy Code (all three of them lol) have been golden.

    ReplyReply

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    Apr 26, 2009 @ 22:08:31

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