Morgan Kingsley, exorcist, returns in this third installment of the Morgan Kingsley series. She lives in a world in which demons are a part of everyday human life. Hosting a demon means gaining incredible strength and powers for rapid healing, but there's just one tiny catch: you sit in the back seat while the demon drives, and you are powerless to control the actions of your body. And should the demon leave or be exorcised, the host is often left irreparably brain damaged.
Morgan was raised in a family that believes hosting demons to be the ultimate sacrifice for the good of society - as those who host can become ideal police, firefighters, rescue workers - any activity for which strength and healing are a bonus. But Morgan could never seriously consider hosting a demon - the idea of allowing another being to take control of her body, her life, her actions was repellent to her. So she became an exorcist, exorcising illegal demons, those who take over unwilling hosts. Spoilers may follow - if you are interested in this series, check out my review of the first book, The Devil Inside.
In this installment Morgan is approached by a distraught mother, whose son is a member of a extreme group that is against demons and everything about them. Upon returning from a vacation with her husband, the woman discovers that her demon-hating son has suddenly decided to host a demon. She believes he was coerced, but the proceedings appear to be legal and binding. Morgan reluctantly agrees to look into the matter, and while at first she believes the young man must have had a change of heart, sudden death threats, attacks on her life, and new information that comes to light reveals a different story. Meanwhile Lugh, the demon she's still hosting, is growing more and more determined to have control in her life. She is dismayed by her attraction to him, as he appears to her in her dreams, but she is growing to respect - and perhaps even care - for him. He needs her help, and she is going to need to learn to relinquish some of her control in order to help him (and ultimately get rid of him) - even though that goes against her every instinct.
This series has definitely grown on me, with its interesting and unsual premise and atypical cast of characters. The complexity of the characters increases the tension, as Morgan has ambivalent feelings about many of them, making it hard for her to decide whom she can trust. I can't help but wonder as I read, however, why, if all it takes is the brush of skin on skin for a demon to change hosts, is Morgan stuck hosting Lugh when no one is happy about it? Why don't they transfer him to a different host? Maybe I missed something along the way.
I find the idea of an alien entity in one's body, controlling one's movements while no one else is any the wiser, to be very creepy. Especially during those times when I find that I've arrived at my destination with no memory of the drive there. While I was reading this book I came across an article in Discover magazine: "Could an Inner Zombie Be Controlling Your Brain?" I had to laugh (and give a little shiver). At any rate, I did enjoy this installment, which takes Morgan further into a dark world of demon politics and power plays, putting her into dire situations in which difficult decisions must be made. I look forward to continuing her story in the fourth book, Speak of the Devil, which is to published in fall 2009.
Books in the Morgan Kingsley series:
1. The Devil Inside
2. The Devil You Know
3. The Devil's Due
4. Speak of the Devil (forthcoming)
The Devil's Due (#3 in the Morgan Kingsley series) by Jenna Black (Dell Spectra, 2008)
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Darque Reviews: "As the storyline moves steadily forward, Ms. Black fills the pages with more deliciously dark and dangerous action than ever."