Private Demon ties up neatly with If Angels Burn, the more-than, not-quite paranormal romance I discovered in the used book-bins of Booksale. I discovered this title first actually and couldn’t get into the book right away, probably because it was the second in a series. Continuity is very strong in this series, no matter who the central couple is currently. I recommend that this series be read in order to truly appreciate the excellent world-building, plot twists, and multidimensional characters. Dr. Alex and Michael along with other characters introduced in the first book are important to the overall plot, Alex specially as she may hold the cure to the Darkyn’s curse. Characters take turns enjoying the spotlight, but continue to develop their relationships in succeeding volumes. John Keller, a troubled priest and Alex’s brother, enjoys quite a lot of attention. I don’t understand why the author is building him up to this degree but maybe the reason will be revealed in future volumes.
Jaus could have used the services of Hitch.
Even if a reader finds the current focus not very likable it still pays to complete the series to follow the story of favorite characters. I was rather disappointed myself with how the romance in this volume turned out. I preferred Jaus over Thierry, and this isn’t a spoiler because blurb on the back cover makes it clear who gets whom. Before I go on further into the romance, here is a bit of a backgrounder on the Darkyn-Brethren mythos.
The Darkyn believes they were cursed 600 years ago. They died but they rose from their graves hungering for blood. Several tumultuous centuries followed where they sought to control their urges. Maybe their enemy, the Brethren, a secret organization of vampire-hating humans had just cause for their vendetta in the beginning. Now, they use their powerful Church, business, and government connections to abduct and torture Darkyn.
Thierry Durand and his family were the latest victims. In the previous volume he believed his wife tortured to death, driving him mad. In this volume, he seeks justice for a rape victim. His investigation leads him to the Brethren, and to the dying Jema Shaw. Jema works for a museum and part time as a forensic science expert for the coroner’s office. Her juvenile diabetes is taking its toll on her body and she may not live to see her 30th birthday. In love with her is Valentin Jaus, head vampire of Chicago. He has watched over her since she was a baby, since he found her lost and crying in his backyard. One of the Darkyn’s most powerful lord, he is strangely powerless when it comes to Jema.
Thierry also falls in love with Jema, as he enters her dreams to find out what she knows about the Brethren. By sharing dreams with one another the two somehow heal one another of past hurts and become very close psychically. To Jema, Thierry is a dream lover but after several dreams she suspects he is more than that.
Each of the Darkyn has a special ability, by the way. Michael can make one forget; Alex when she turned can sense the thoughts of killers; and Thierry can enter dreams.
I’ve already said I really liked this series overall. But I’ve got pet peeves, some of which I mentioned in my review of If Angels Burn. Here is another: for such powerful creatures the Darkyn are too easily abducted and infiltrated. Nevermind betrayals, it still should not be this easy. Surely, they would not have been able to establish strong power bases in many cities in Europe and America if smarts were not part of their package? Yet, again and again the Brethren outsmart them, people who don’t strike me as that smart to begin with.
To end on a positive note, I hear that Lucas and a cop are starring in the third volume. How interesting. Lucas is the Darkyn’s cold-blooded assassin. I wonder how hard he will fall when he falls in love. Dark Need, please don’t be hard to get.