Night of Demons, Tony Richardson, EOS, ISBN 978-0-06-147467-5, $7.99, 390 pgs.

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This is the second book in what will likely become known as the Raine’s Landing series. The town of Raine’s Landing is a peculiar place just a couple of hours outside of Boston and set deep in the woods of New England. Created by witches from Salem, the town is protected from outsiders by some heavy-duty spells that generally keep people out and quickly convince those who manage to get in that they don’t want to stay. This continues to keep secret the fact that many of the town’s members continue to practice witchcraft. Ross Devries has lived in Raine’s Landing his entire life. Pretty much everyone in town has. He’s an ex-cop who lost his wife and child and who sometimes still manages to get involved in police work because he has a nose for supernatural trouble, even though he doesn’t have any supernatural ability.  His partner is Harley riding Cassandra Mallory, who has suffered similar losses and never goes anywhere without her arsenal. This time they will have their hands full as a serial killer, Cornelius Hanlon, also known as the Shadow Man, manages to get into town and almost immediately hook up with some nasty sorcery, which only makes him more powerful and more dangerous.  When Cornelius begins to wield his new power people begin to die with regularity and it soon becomes a question of who is controlling who; Cornelius or the thing he has become a part of.  And then, Lieutenant Detective Lauren Brennan from Boston arrives, which only makes things even more complicated.

Tony Richards has created an interesting environment for his characters to inhabit.  The closed community of Raine’s Landing, inhabited by witches and warlocks as well as the normal people who are born there, is basically a place where anything can happen.  And yet there are fairly rigid rules, as one would expect from any insular and secret society.  So, to have this community invaded by not only a psychopath serial killer but the singularly minded cop who has been hunting him, is problematic in any number of different ways and Richards takes full advantage of these complications as well as the more human complications internal to his characters brought about by loss, desire, loneliness, self-pity and need.  There’s also plenty of corruption, family secret keeping, insanity, and more than a few twists to make things even more interesting.

I found Night of Demons to be an interesting read.  Richards’ style is engaging and he’s managed to create a very interesting universe.  He’s also not playing all of his cards in the first couple of books so there seems to be plenty more stories to be told here.  While the events portrayed are certainly fantastic in nature, Richards tempers them by utilizing ‘normal’ characters as his main story telling vehicles.  It would certainly have been easy to make the protagonist one of the magic users but this way Richards is able to use his main characters as counterpoint to the action, establishing a base of normality against which the fantastic community can be measured.  This is certainly a well thought out device and it works well in this situation.  I liked Night of Demons, found the book to be fast paced and enjoyable, and I look forward to seeing more from Tony Richards.

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About damnaliens
Writer, reviewer, home provider to the Damnaliens

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