Haven’t you always wondered what would happen if an inter-dimensional warrior followed a demon to a small southern town? Of course you have!
Normally I’m not big on trying new authors – there are already so many authors I love, it’s hard to consider adding to my never-ending list. So I will admit that my decision to read Demon Hunting in Dixie is based on a very brief description of the book – not even the full blurb – just something about demon hunting in Alabama. Since I live in the general vicinity, I’m intrigued. Because, let me say, demons roaming around in Lower Alabama doesn’t seem so very far-fetched. 😀
Addy Corwin is a florist in her hometown of Hanna, Alabama. Her family owns the local funeral home, but the idea of working there wigs her out. She is house-sitting for her Aunt Muddy, who is gallivanting around the world. Addy’s life is pretty typical – she runs her shop, takes care of her dog, hangs out with her best friend, tries to stay out of trouble with her mother, and still struggles with her high school nemesis.
So when her dog runs off into a scary section of woods during their late-night run, Addy follows her, fussing all the way. She expects to see a rabbit or a squirrel, not a creepy, black cloud thing that surrounds her. Before Addy is completely incapacitated, she hears a rumble nearby and the creepy thing releases her and disappears. The next thing Addy sees is a man appearing out of a glowing rectangle. The last thing she remembers before passing out is watching the new arrival draw a flaming sword and battle the entity. When Addy comes to, she is stretched out on her sofa. Must have been a dream, huh? Umm, not so much. The tall, very handsome man with the flaming sword is in Addy’s living room (now sans sword). Apparently, the creepy entity stabbed her before it disappeared but, Mr. Hot Guy healed her and is now watching over her.
Brand is a Dalvahni warrior. The Dalvahni’s purpose is to hunt the djegrali – AKA demons. Brand explains that the type of demon Addy encountered is one of the worst and that the demon marked her when it stabbed her. It will return to finish her off and Brand intends to stay with her and protect her. The Dalvahni do not experience emotions but, for the first time in thousands of years, Brand senses a strange internal disturbance in Addy’s presence. And he just might like it.
Accompanying Brand on his djegrali hunt is another Dalvahni warrior – Ansgar. While they are hunting for signs of the demon that marked Addy, Brand and Ansgar discover that Hanna might be the location of a prophecy foretelling the end of the Dalvahni. I smell a series in the works, don’t you, faithful reader? And a small southern town could totally be a hotbed of demon activity. Totally!
The main plot of Demon Hunting in Dixie is pretty straightforward. Girl meets boy; boy experiences emotions; they are stalked by an enemy; they eventually triumph over said enemy. However, the main plot is muddied by several secondary storylines that could have been left for another entry in the series (the storyline involving Addy’s brother, for example) or left out completely. The main subplot concerning Ansgar and Addy’s BFF, Evie, is interesting and fit well with the main story – and is left unresolved. So, hopefully, we will see them as a lead couple eventually.
I can see a lot of potential in Demon Hunting in Dixie. The world Ms. George is building is interesting and could be enjoyable to explore. Addy is an entertaining character (cliché spouting aside) – a bit Stephanie Plum-ish, actually. You know, if Steph were hunting demons with an immortal warrior and didn’t have any weird commitment issues. And the Dalvahni are an interesting group – what could be more fun than guys who can drink all the alcohol they like and not get drunk but feed them chocolate and they get completely loopy?
My main problem with the book as a whole is that there’s too much. Too much of everything. Too many secondary characters, too many subplots, too many words! As I mentioned earlier, I live in the South…I know Southerners like to talk a lot. But mostly, other than the accent, we talk like everyone else. This book is like an encyclopedia of old sayings/clichés/truisms/axioms – whatever you want to call them. It’s distracting and a bit odd, and the inclusion of all those phrases makes conversations too long, which makes scenes too long and makes the book feel too long and makes the pacing feel off, somehow.
Another quibble – Ms. George is a debut author and this is a trade-size paperback. That’s a high price tag for an unknown entity, especially in the current economic climate (and libraries probably tend to stick with known authors mostly, for the same reason). I don’t pretend to know what kind of decision process publishers go through when determining whether a book should be released in mass market vs trade size vs e-only, but I’m guessing more people would be willing to try someone new if it isn’t a big investment…
So, do I recommend reading Demon Hunting in Dixie? Sure, if you like your demon-hunting on the lighter side – it’s a refreshing alternative to some more angsty choices – I think you should sample it first, certainly. Even though there are flaws and marketing missteps, I like Ms. George’s voice. Some tighter editing, re-thinking the pricing and the series could become very popular.
A warrior, a demon, and the girl next door. . .
Looking For Trouble
Addy Corwin is a florist with an attitude. A bad attitude, or so her mama says, cause she’s not looking for a man. Mama’s wrong. Addy has looked. There’s just not much to choose from in Hannah, her small Alabama hometown. Until Brand Dalvahni shows up, a supernaturally sexy, breathtakingly well-built hunk of a warrior from–well, not from around here, that’s for sure. Mama thinks he might be European or maybe even a Yankee. Brand says he’s from another dimension.
Addy couldn’t care less where he’s from. He’s gorgeous. Serious muscles. Disturbing green eyes. Brand really gets her going. Too bad he’s a whack job. Says he’s come to rescue her from a demon. Puh-lease. But right after Brand shows up, strange things start to happen. Dogs talk and reanimated corpses stalk the quite streets of Hannah. Her mortal enemy Meredith, otherwise known as the Death Starr, breaks out in a severe and inexplicable case of butt boils. Addy might not know what’s going on, but she definitely wants a certain sexy demon hunter by her side when it all goes down . . .
Read an excerpt.