Night of Demons
by Tony Richards
Cover Artist: Don Sipley
Review by Harriet Klausner
Eos Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061474675
Date: 01 November 2009 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
He is known as the Shadow Man, a serial killer who wantonly murders entire families. The Boston Police Department thought they finally had him, but he somehow escaped. He believes he hears voices of the Old Ones who tell him he is doing well in their efforts to bring about the Apocalypse. The Shadow Man, Cornelius Hanlon, rides the back roads of Massachusetts until he enters Raine's Landing, not on any map and protected by ancient magics that should have been able to keep this twisted serial killer out.
Raine's Landing is not your typical New England village, but was founded as a haven for witches before Salem's infamous trials. However, in some ways the town is cursed as those born there can never leave. Outsiders who make deliveries forget the place exists once they leave. Cornelius breaks into the home of adept Lucas Tolburn who is working with the magical Wand of Dentiere. The practitioner tries to use the magical weapon on the intruder, but instead Cornelius kills Lucas and takes the wand. Believing in magic, the serial killer works with the sentient artifact which turns him into into mist that enables him to take over any body he chooses.
Cornelius enters the body of a married man and kills his wife and children before he seeks other victims. Lucas' granddaughter Millicent wants the wand; when she meets Cornelius she sees the artifact tied to the killer. She uses a spell that ties her to the wand, which enables her to turn into a mist. They unite on a killing rampage.
Former town police detective Ross Devries who lost his family to magic is asked to investigate the evil that has penetrated Raine's Landing. Boston cop (Lauren Brennan) is able to enter the town because of her commitment to catch Cornelius. She explains what she knows of the Shadow Man. After the initial shock of a town filled with witches, she and Ross confront the mists who will destroy the town, perhaps the Commonwealth and the country if not stopped now.
In many ways Night of Demons is cast driven in a good vs. evil confrontational sense. The Shadow Man is a psychopath who discovers magic and is joined by an evil companion Millicent; insanity is a legal excuse as this pair of lunatics simply relishes murder and mayhem mindful of Manson and his family.
Though he has visions Ross seems almost out of place in Raine's Landing as an archetypal champion who never uses magic but works closely with those who do when he must in order to bring an insane practitioner to justice before the individual can cause havoc to the town. He represents hope in spite of a magic user having abducted his wife and children to another plane; he still thinks they will come back to him one day.
Cassandra adds to the mix as an obsessed person on a quest while the townsfolk enhance the workings of the major players. They seem genuine and most use magic only a little or not at all. Fans of Laurell K. Hamilton and the Sookie Stackhouse novels will thoroughly enjoy this enthralling and evocative novel
The irony of this exciting horror fantasy is that the good is represented by two non-practitioners. They are the last barrier against the growing supernatural power of the mists; enabled by either the Old Ones or the wand. This urban fantasy horror thriller will appeal to fans of differing sub-genres as a riveted audience will finish a Night of Demons in one sitting.