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My Need to Read

I love to explore genre fiction, and while I usually go for books with a romantic thread running through it, I just love great character and world building. And since I can hardly stand to let go of my favorite characters, I like series.

Sins of the Demon - Diana Rowland (review originally posted at Book Lovers Inc)Well, where does one exactly begin? This latest book in Diana Rowland’s Kara Gillian series is one awesome piece of urban fantasy, building on earlier series entries to strike a wonderful balance between plot momentum and character development, between the standalone mystery and the series mystery, and between the arcane and good ole’ fashioned PD detective work.In my BLI review of the previous installment, Secrets of the Demon (check out the review here), I’d described what I felt was a little bit of a disconnect between Kara’s theretofore character type (strong, razor-sharp, badass detective) and her seemingly new behavior type (vaguely clueless doormat). None of that is present here–Kara takes many moments to ponder and muse upon a great many things–on life, love, trust, identity, crime, and everything between. But even if she has emotional whirlwinds here, I felt she was clearly her own person, and more importantly all of those facets of her character fit much more clearly here.This book features such a well-crafted mystery that’s not too easy to pick apart at first blush. It doesn’t just drive major plot points, but also reveals so much about the inner workings of book’s cast of characters–none more so than Kara herself. Though the series’ has three books prior to this, ever more is being revealed about Kara to the point that you wonder whether you know her at all (even as, funnily enough, she herself wonders the very same about the people surrounding her, friends and family included). The supporting characters all–to a one–present their own deep mysteries, some larger and more complex than others, but all fascinating.With each new Kara Gillian book, the crime solving does seem to involve the arcane more extensively–but the elements that make this series work so well as crime/mystery fiction is still present. Diane Rowland uses the red herring masterfully. Her twists and turns kept me guessing then reassessing my guesses (as a good mystery yarn would, mind you). There is, at this point, two layers of mystery going on in the series–that which can be considered standalone for the book, and that which is slowly building upon itself with each new installment. (I should note here that this book could be read as a standalone, but half the fun and thrill would be lost.)Now, Rowland ain’t in a rush, ya’ll. :-) This book reveals the the major plot developments at an easy pace. But at this point, I’ve come to appreciate the slower development of the overarching mystery like a fine sherry–richer the longer it develops. If you’ve read this series up to now, you’ll know how Rowland likes to end these books. So be prepared to run out and buy book 5 (and pre-order book 6) ASAP. ^_^. . .Verdict: This series seems to get better with every installment. Sins of the Demon works as a standalone, but shines when taken as part of the whole Kara Gillian series. Great characters, solid mystery. The world is easy to slip into, hard to step away from, and is a great example of a well-balanced urban fantasy.