Forbidden Magic

Moving Target

Wicked Magic

Demons Not Included
by Cheyenne McCray
(St. Martinís Press, $7.99, R) ISBN 0-312-94960-X
Being an avid paranormal romance reader, I was excited to begin reading Demons Not Included by seasoned author Cheyenne McCray; unfortunately, my initial impressions were wrong and this book is going into the ďnot a keeperĒ pile.† My hope is that this is a setup novel for what I hope will be a great series and the author is trying to get in as much background information as possible in the first book.

Nyx Ciar is a half-human/half-dark elf private investigator that works to keep humans safe in the dangerous city of Manhattan.† By day she is a normal human female, by night she turns into a blue-haired/amethyst-colored dark elf or Drow.† Working side by side with her partner Olivia, (who is a human ex-SWAT team member) Nyx patrols the streets at night to rid the city of the evil species of otherworld beings that prey on innocent human lives.† Part of an elite force of nighttime otherworldly species known as Trackers (which also includes shape-shifters, elves, and sirens), Nyx not only solves cases by day, but makes Manhattan a safe place to be at night.†

Working with local police helps the Trackers to hide paranormal crimes while keeping humans blissfully unaware of the danger they are in.† This is where Nyx meets human cop Adam Boyd; she is immediately attracted to him but sheís been wounded in a past relationship with a human and she is wary to begin another.††

An unknown Demon force begins killing both human police and Trackers in Manhattan, and Nyx and Adam team up to put a stop to this evil.† About the same time that all of this excitement is happening another otherworldly being appears out of nowhere to assist Nyx in her nightly Demon patrols; his name is Torin and Nyx canít seem to get a grasp on what or where he came from.† Her boss is insistent that she allow Torin to tag along in her investigation and before long he becomes her shadow during her nightly crime watches.† Slowly killing off Trackers, the Demon force appears to be almost unstoppable and with each crime a new symbol is left burned into the ground.† Nyxís team has to solve this crime and destroy the Demon before its victims are too many to number.

While I liked the premise, there is nothing in this book that I would classify as romance - just Nyx hooking up with her boss and pining for Adam from afar but being too scared to make a move on him.† There are a few references to some kinky stuff and the sex scenes are quite vivid.† The plot synopsis on the back of the book would lead readers to believe there is going to be a romance between Nyx and Torin but his limited part in the book is never a romantic one.† The book is more focused on the search for the Demon than any actual romantic plot and the romance seems to get lost in the shuffle.† I found myself reading just to find out if they caught the bad guy in the end, not because I cared about any of the characters in the book.

Perhaps because this is the start of a new series for Cheyenne McCray, the broad range of people, places and things in the city of Manhattan is often clogged with too many details.† Keeping track of all of the otherworldly beings and their crazily uncommon names almost requires a reference guide.† McCray provides a short index at the beginning of the book, but it really doesnít help to clarify much detail into the differences in species.† There are so many characters in the book (most likely a setup for many novels to come) that it is difficult to focus on the main plot.†

Another negative is the constant name brand dropping that seems to bog down every phrase.† Constantly listing fashion brands like Dolce and Gabbana, Versace and Prada made me want to pull out my hair.† Instead of a phone it was an XPhone, and her car was a Corvette or a Jeep; eventually I had a hard time focusing on the plot because I was inwardly fuming from all of these brand names.† I donít know if this is an attempt to draw in the chick-lit crowd or the author just loves name brands, but it certainly didnít work.†

Overall I can't recommend Demons Not Included if you want a paranormal romance.† It didnít have the romantic plot I generally find in a good romance and even the general Demon slaying plot wasnít all that interesting.† My hope is that this is just a clunky attempt at a setup for much better future novels of the same series.

--Joelle Kollasch

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