4 stars: Demon City by @morganrichter #paranormal #horror #review

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Demon City

Written by Morgan Richter

Genre(s): Urban Paranormal, Horror

In her follow-up to WRONG CITY, Morgan Richter once again takes readers inside a treacherous, alluring version of Los Angeles, where enigmatic supernatural forces manipulate the oblivious inhabitants from behind the scenes.

Felix Dockweiler—former model, current entertainment reporter, and the star of such films as "Frat Party USA"—yearns for fame at any cost. A callow young Omaha native struggling to make an impact in image-obsessed, celebrity-driven Hollywood, Felix torments, exhausts, and starves himself while chasing after a goal that always lies just out of his grasp.

Felix’s fragile status quo is disrupted when a seductive yet violent pair of fire demons blaze into town and rack up a body count while hunting down his troubled younger brother, Michael. As the temperature rises and out-of-control wildfires threaten the city, Felix’s own search for Michael takes him from Hollywood parties to Skid Row flophouses and all points in between.

To save Michael, Felix pursues a dangerous alliance with Sparky Mother, a charismatic and unfathomably powerful entertainment mogul with more than a few skeletons in his closet. Meanwhile, Felix’s attempts to secure the job of his dreams begin to look more and more like a negotiation for his mortal soul.

J. Hamlet's Review

A quick and entertaining supernatural thriller

Demon City is an entertaining, quick read full of relatable characters and supernatural schemes. As an intriguing but not particularly flattering portrait of LA, it starts with Felix. A midwestern dreamer with body and food issues who made his way to the entertainment capital of the world, Felix hasn’t seen a lot of success.

Other than a few modest acting jobs, Felix is stuck battling with another intern for a permanent job as a correspondent on a gossip show that makes TMZ look classy. Felix knows he’s too soft and lacks the killer instinct to get ahead in the entertainment journalism world. He pulls too many punches and gets too squeamish when it comes to asking people about their sex tapes, definite weaknesses in the cutthroat world in which he's found himself.

After a rough day at work, Felix goes to see his roommate’s band play a gig at an LA club. Things take an odd turn when he meets Claire, a mysterious woman who’s a little too interested in him. Trying to lure him away, Felix knows something about Claire isn’t right, and when he tries to run, she burns him with her touch.

Things only get uglier from there for Felix, with his brother mysteriously coming to town, Claire and her similarly fire-touched friend Nicky chasing him, and an ever-sinister spiral of connections tying Felix’s job to a mysterious, faustian figure known as Sparky Mother.

Urban fantasy that uses the setting itself as a character is tricky, which is why Demon City’s choice of Felix as the main POV character is a wise decision and ultimately a successful one. He’s someone who only knows pieces of what's happening to his life and that proves effective as depths and angles that Felix couldn’t imagine are taking place all around him.

The author, Morgan Richter, puts together a lot of thrilling sequences as Felix tries to escape the web of intrigue and danger ever encroaching on him and his brother. As more and more layers of LA’s supernatural underworld are revealed, the author weaves a compelling combination of the surreal and the mundane to make this vision of LA believable and intriguing.

The pages really fly by. I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys contemporary urban fantasy and magical realism, especially when splashed with a little dark humor. The characters are relatable and dynamic, though some key ones enter a little late in the game and we barely get to meet them.

Demon City is a sequel to Wrong City, volume 1 of the Wrong City series. I hadn’t read the first book, but had no problem following this one even though there are some clear connections to events in that book, so don’t worry too much if you haven’t read it. More likely you would simply get a little more out of this second installment.

If there’s one thing I would criticize this book for, it’s that it seems to take a bit of a detour right before the epic climax to rope in some characters that are apparently from the first book that feel more like an exposition dump than a logical development in the plot. All the same, I plan to check out the first in the series and look forward to the next one. Morgan Richter has put together a compelling fictional universe while keeping it light and entertaining.

Disclaimer: Book provided by the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.