Saturday, December 19, 2009

Night of Demons, (Eos Dark Fantasy), by Tony Richards

“Night of Demons” is the second installment in the dark fantasy series of Raine's Landing, a town forever cut off from the outside world. Ages ago, the original Salem witches settled there, then cursed it so no one could ever leave, lest they reveal their location to those who feared them. Veiled by magic, those passing through barely notice the town, newcomers don't stay long and soon forget their visit, while most are compelled to stay away completely.

Evil has threatened before; however, and now it looms again. Something dark prowls the streets, a malevolence from without that has infected an already damaged mind within. While those versed in magic can protect themselves, Raine's Landing is also home to thousands of regular people. Two of those are former cop Ross Devries and Cassandra Mallory, a gun-toting Harley-riding maverick with a knack for tackling the supernatural. United by their devotion to their fellow townspeople, bonded by shared scars, Devries and Mallory have often worked together to protect Raine's Landing from supernatural threats. They stand ready to do so again.

This threat is different, however – powered by an insane mind and a corrupt soul twisted by years of abuse. It works beneath the skin, finds the darkness in everyone, and gives life to people's hidden demons. Having lost both their families to magic, with everything they cherished ripped away from them, both Devries and Mallory are far more appealing targets than they are threats, making Raine's Landing's fiercest protectors two of their weakest links.

“Night of Demons” is well written and entertaining. Utilizing a split narrative that transitions back and forth between Devries' first-person narrative and the third-person omniscient narratives of supporting characters, Richards avoids the common downfall of bogging his story down in only one perspective. Perhaps the story's only downfall: it's simply just one more offering of “urban fantasy” in a “boom” genre, just another story following in the footsteps of much better series, such as the “Dresden Files” and others. Richards' handling of the craft rises above this, however, and urban fantasy fans are sure to enjoy.

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