Monday, August 09, 2010

The Demon in Me by Michelle Rowen

Eden Riley has been working as a psychic phone friend, but she's a phoney, or so she thinks. When she starts exhibiting real psychic powers, it's quite a shock to her and gets her fired from her job, and into a new consulting job with the police, along with inheriting the 49% interest in a detective agency owned by her mother.

However, when she is at the Police station, she meets the handsome detective Ben Hanson, who she thinks looks rather like Brad Pitt. She is quite enamored of him, until there is an incident with an escaped psycho that Ben is forced to kill right in front of her. A dark mist floats up from the body that no one but she can see, and right into her.

Then, she hears a man's voice inside her head, and things rapidly go south. The voice belongs to a Demon named Darrak, and he's been imprisoned on Earth for over 200 years. He wants to go back where he came from, but there's a catch- he was cursed to stay on Earth by a black witch, and unless she removes the curse, he can't leave. He wants Eden to help him find the witch so he can leave.

She, on the other hand, is so freaked out by the voice in her head that she calls in a pair of exorcists, a mother and her son. They insist that the demon inside her is dangerous, and must be gotten rid of, but by the time they have gotten there, Eden feels a small bit of sympathy for Darrak and isn't sure that she wants him gone. In response the two exorcists attack her, and she's only saved by the timely arrival of Ben Hanson, who sees the son choking Eden and runs the both of them off. Realizing how much she likes Ben, Darrak offers her a deal. Help him get back home, and he'll help her land Ben. Eventually, she agrees.

Even though Darrak is angry at her for trying to have him exorcised, he leads her through getting ready for a date she made with Ben. They also discover that Darrak can be apart from her and appear to have his own body during the day, but at night, he will be drawn back inside of her to become a voice in her head. That freaks her out a bit, but she has no choice but to live with it. However, every time she goes to sleep, she wakes up in Darrak's arms, being embarrassingly intimate with his body.

At the same time, Darrak starts backing out of his deal to help her with Ben, claiming that he isn't right for Eden, that he has too much mental and emotional baggage for her. Eden disagrees, of course, but Darrak finds out that he can control parts of her body, making able to trip a waiter who is being rude and snobbish towards her, or slap Ben when he tries to kiss her. This really annoys Eden, who attempts to step up her efforts to try and find the witch Darrak needs to find. But her partner in the Private Eye Business is going out of business and doesn't have time to help her, because he's going broke... until a bunch of Supernatural Clients, drawn to Eden by her Darrak-supplemented aura. start paying lavish sums to make her take their cases.

But even when she finds the witch that Darrak is after, the woman has become a famous author known as the "Love Witch", and is dispensing relationship advice to women. Eden, who has slept with Darrak, discovers a bunch of new information about him that he never told her, and which makes her question everything he's said and his truthfulness. Plus, the return of the exorcists, who want to rip Darrak's spirit from Eden's body- but for what reason? And trying to persuade the Witch to free Darrak to return to the place where the Witch originally summoned him from make Eden's life very, very complicated. Especially when she finds out that she will be dead in only a couple of years if Darrak stays attatched to her the way he is.

What's a girl to do? Can Eden get separated from Darrak before he kills her, and who is lying to her and who is telling the truth? Can Eden discover the true facts, or has she already damned herself to a life with Darrak prowling around inside her head until he kills her?

I was expecting this book to be another sort of romance, but it is actually urban fantasy, and the first in the series. From that, you can probably guess some of the plot details, but I wound up feeling a lot of distaste for the story. I wasn't at all enamored of Darrak, and when he started being pushy about Ben, my sympathy for his situation completely dried up. Basically, he got traits of Alpha assholishness that just made me want to puke. I felt like saying, "Yo, Eden is an adult, and can make her own choices, even if you think they are a mistake, you don't get to interfere in her life like that."

At that point, I was ready to see him gone, and Eden's deciding to have sex with him because her body parts were interested in him just felt like a betrayal of her character to me. At that point, I really lost all interest in the characters and just wanted to see Darrak get gone out of her. I kept reading for that reason alone.

But, as you can probably guess, that didn't happen by the end of the book, and I walked away feeling utterly disappointed in the whole story. It's like Michelle Rowan wanted to set up a situation like in the Kim Harrison books, but while I can root for and feel sympathy for Kim Harrison's characters, I did not feel the same for Eden and Darrak. As you can imagine, I will not be picking up any more books in this series, and I am not proud of the fact that I read to the end of this one. In fact, if you have any sort of self-esteem and ability to make your own choices, I would advise you quite strongly not to pick up this one. I not only ended up with a bad taste in my mouth, but I ended up despising both main characters. Avoid.

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