Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Blood of the Demon by Diana Rowland
From the author's site:
The serial killer known as the Symbol Man has been dealt with, the demonic lord Rhyzkahl is no longer invading her dreams, and Detective Kara Gillian is doing her best to get her life back to normal after being kind of dead for a while.
Unfortunately, there's little about Kara's life that is ever normal or simple. As a skilled summoner of demons, she's hoping to use her arcane abilities to retrieve her aunt's essence and restore it to her body. But when Kara discovers that FBI Agent Ryan Kristoff is somehow known to the demonkind--and not in a good way--old doubts surface and new problems emerge. Moreover, her investigations into the deaths of several seemingly unrelated victims reveal disturbing links to the arcane, with unsettling similarities to her own situation.
But matters get more complicated when she discovers other links between the victims, leading her into a morass of political corruption. And it doesn't help that Rhyzkahl has asked her to be his own summoner, a commitment that could have quite a few advantages and plenty of pitfalls. Politics--whether among humans or demons--is a dangerous game with very high stakes, and Kara is learning that lesson the hard way.
The demon was little more than a mist of fog and teeth, barely visible to normal sight. It coiled in slow undulations in the backseat of my Taurus as I drove through the night, the tires of the car humming on the asphalt in low rhythmic counterpoint to the movement of the demon. The nearly full moon draped my surroundings in silver and shadow, making even this deserted highway running through a rank swamp look beautiful. There were no other headlights along this stretch of road, but this was little surprise since there were no houses or businesses out here—nothing but swamp, marsh, and the occasional patch of dry ground that pretended to be woods.
I could hear the demon murmuring softly to itself in hunger, and I stilled it with a nudge of pressure on the arcane bindings. It would feed soon enough, but I needed it to complete the agreed-upon task first. I’d dealt with this type of demon many times before and knew that the creatures were far less useful after a feed—preferring to coil in sated comfort rather than hunt.
I continued to drive until I felt the change in the demon—a sudden tension as if it had perked up its nonexistent ears. I pulled over to the side of the highway, then walked around to the other side of the car and opened the back door. It felt a bit absurd to cart a demon around in the backseat of my car, but I couldn’t exactly perform a summoning out in the middle of the swamp. I was limited to summoning demons in the prepared diagram in my basement.
Murmuring again, the demon slid out in eager anticipation of a hunt. The demon was an ilius—a third-level demon, about as intelligent as a dog but a thousand times better at tracking. It was little more than a shifting fog, visible in my othersight as a coil of smoke with teeth that flashed and disappeared like a teeming mass of vaporous piranhas. Without othersight—a sense beyond the senses that revealed more than the mundane world most people were able to see—it was essentially invisible, except for the deep feeling of unease it left in those it touched.
I opened the paper bag and pulled out the baseball cap, allowing the ilius to twine around it and fill itself with the scent, the feel of the one I sought. “Seek,” I said, and reinforced the spoken command with mental pressure. The demon shimmered in my othersight, then sped away across the grass and through the trees like an arcane zephyr.
Read more here.