Shy, self-conscious Evie Douglass tries to stay under the radar, especially when her nemesis Meredith Peterson, aka The Death Starr, is anywhere around. Meredith and her bitch posse of skinny girlfriends have tormented Evie since the seventh grade, calling her names like The Whale and Thunder Thighs.
Evie tries to stay invisible, but that’s not an easy thing for a plus-sized gal to do in a small town like Hannah, Alabama. She finds it doubly hard to avoid Meredith’s wrath once she takes a job at the lumber mill. You see, Meredith’s husband is Evie’s new boss. Translation: more torture time for The Death Starr.
Evie thinks things couldn’t get much worse until the morning she finds Meredith’s bloody body sprawled across her desk. Typical Meredith, she gets herself dead mere days after a very public scene in which Meredith accuses Evie of having an affair with her husband. Worse, the murder weapon is found in Evie’s car.
Suddenly, Evie is the Number One suspect in a sensational murder case. But she’s got bigger problems. Hannah is infested with demons—soul sucking, body snatching creatures of evil—and, for some reason, they want Evie. The only thing standing between Evie and death or possible possession is a hunky blond demon slayer named Ansgar.
Ansgar is a Dalvahni warrior, a supernaturally gorgeous race whose sole purpose is to hunt down and capture rogue demons.
Evie could almost swear that Ansgar is interested in more than demons. He seems interested in her. Ridiculous, of course, because he’s sex on two legs and she’s…
Well, she’s Whaley Douglass.
To add to Evie’s troubles, Meredith doesn’t even have the decency to stay dead. She shows back up as a ghost and she’s more of a beyotch than ever. Meredith has deathnesia—she can’t remember who killed her—leaving Evie to solve the mystery herself, or go to jail for a murder she didn’t commit
Y’all. I love this book so hard. Let me tell you all the ways I love this book. But first, let me give full disclosure.
DEMON HUNTING is set in LA, my birthplace and home for years. Lest you be confused, that is Lower Alabama. The Alabama-isms are all over the book. My favorite was probably the one where Aunt Muddy is bitching about her sister trying to throw the perfect wedding on a football Saturday: “Nobody’s going to miss the Alabama game for a wedding, for God’s sake. We’ll be lucky if the priest shows up.”
This is truth. I know. My wedding was a Double-Home-Game-Football-Saturday. For both Alabama and That Other Team in the state. We had giant TVs set up in dedicated football watching rooms at the reception.
Now, aside from the hyperbolic vernacular that made me feel like I was home, there were lots of other things to love about this book. It’s the second in a series, apparently, and it reads kind of like Alyssa Day’s Warriors of Atlantis books except with a sense of humor. There is this race of super-alpha hottie men who serve for millennia to protect humans from demon-kind. They are Mr. Spock-like in their literal interpretation of everything said to them, which leads to some hilarious misunderstandings in the land of expressions like, “Well, I’m fine as frog hair split three ways! Thanks for asking! How’s your mama and ‘em been doin’?”
The book opens with the murder scene of Meredith, Hannah, AL’s resident bitch from hell. I know her. Well, maybe not her, but her ilk. She was prom queen or homecoming queen or something, graduated high school, went to 13th grade at Alabama where she pledged Tri-Delt, Kappa, or ADPi with a bunch of other girls from her hometown so that she could date boys from her hometown who joined SAE, KA, Sigma Chi, or something similarly acceptable. Then, when they graduated, they could move back home and get married and repeat the whole vicious cycle.
Meredith might be dead, but she isn’t done being a bitch and proceeds to haunt Evie, her presumed murderer. Except Evie didn’t do it. And Ansgar, the immortal hero of this book, is determined to keep Evie safe from all harm, including a judicial railroad. Evie has the hots for Ansgar but can’t shake the feeling they’ve met before, and, also, what would a steaming hunk of manflesh like him want with her? Angst ensues. But it is sandwiched neatly into a lot of humor.
There is a random crazy dude stalking chihuahuas, an “alligator” chihuahua (don’t ask me, I don’t know either) who seems to be the focal point of his rage, a possum-for-the-mayor’s-pet that gets mistaken for a chihuahua, and the cherry on top:
An incident with a past-her-prime ex-stripper, a trailer, and an ill-advised albeit creative application of bacon grease.
That last bit earns a book four stars all by its lonesome. The description of overprocessed hair looking like Spanish Moss took it over the top. I liked DEMON HUNTING IN THE DEEP SOUTH so much that I am off to Amazon to find the first one.
WORLD BUILDING: 5 Stars. Simple, clean, easy to understand, but still allows for quirky characters. The author is in complete control here, no world-getting-away-from-her nonsense.
PLOT: 2.5 Stars. This was the lowest scoring portion of this book, in my estimation. Not because the plot was lacking but because it folded neatly in with what I expected. Which, honestly, is fine with me as far as the storytelling is good.
MC: Evie gets 4 Stars for sure. I only dinged her for forgiving the hero with less groveling than I would have liked.
ANCILLARY CHARACTERS: 5.0 Stars. Okay, I know this isn’t a real thing. But seriously, hers were so good I thought they deserved their own score. Think Charlaine Harris, how she has fully realized characters even in the bit parts? You know? How she does that? Well, Lexi George does it, too. There were several minor characters who did not distract from the story at all but were interesting enough that I would read a whole book about them.
So, with the understanding that my Five Star Standard in PNR/UF is Patricia Briggs or Ilona Andrews, I’m giving this book 4.5 Stars. And I’d add this caveat: If I wasn’t such a sucker for the slow burn of a series with one MC and possible spin-offs, it’s likely I’d have scored this higher. I just adore the extended sexual tension and unfolding characters in a series that you can only get if the MC is the same throughout.