The Devil You Know
by Jenna Black
Review by Carolyn Frank
Dell Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553590456
Date: 29 July 2008 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Morgan Kingsley is a demon hunter with a difference, she has a demon inside her own head. In this version of our world, demons can be invited to take over people's bodies, providing demonic strength and self-healing. Unfortunately for Morgan, who would rather have no demon at all, she's been trapped into hosting the usurped king of the demons. As her world continues to spin wildly out of her control, she eventually comes to prefer The Devil You Know more than the unknowable alternative.
This is the second book in a series starring Morgan Kingsley, and the reader needs to have read The Devil Inside in order to have this book make much sense. As opposed to the earlier book, this one is more focused on Morgan's coming to understand her past, and so is much less sexy and fun. The main characters, both human and demon, are much more three-dimensional but the plot is much less intriguing.
All of the other major characters in the book are male: her brother Andy, the head of the branch of the Philadelphia police department addressing demon-related crime Adam, her somewhat ex-boyfriend Brian, the demon king inside her head Lugh, and the sociopathic demon sent to kill her (and Lugh). Except the demon hunter, all are the tall, good-looking variety that grace the covers of most romance novels, but are provided with somewhat more depth of character. Such males enables some sex to insinuate itself into the story, but this is no paranormal romance novel.
As each of them wants something from her, Morgan spends most of her time being convinced or coerced into actions and decisions she would rather not be part of. In the process she does learn why she is the way she is. But as she is not a particularly optimistic or intelligent or intriguing person, she is not a very compelling leading character.
The demonic perspective provides a rather different view of our world, which is refreshing. And the internally consistent framework in which these demons exist and interact with humans is extremely well thought out. If you enjoyed the first Morgan Kingsley book, then you would probably enjoy this book as well.