Demons Not Included, the first novel of the new Night Tracker Urban fantasy series by Cheyenne McCray, is a no-brainer fun romp that is designed to carry readers from the first page to the last at blistering speed. And the book does exactly that.
McCray has been hitting several bestseller lists with her urban fantasy offerings, and this one is probably going to follow those earlier novels. The sexy, provocative cover caught my eye and the first-person narrative drew me in on the first page. I settled in and read the book over the course of two nights, easily flipping through the scenes and adventures.
The material is easily devoured and understood. McCray’s writing is nice and tight, and her dialogue is very natural. There are a number of well-drawn characters as well as situations and barbs swapped between the various story people.
Nyx Caer, the main character, is a half-Drow. She’s also a princess, which gives her some special standing in the Drow world, but – as it turns out – not much. Drow women are expected to be submissive. Nyx is anything but. She also splits her time as a human and a Drow, something that has very seldom happened to half-Drow. Of course, she’s beautiful either way, but in her Drow from she has amethyst skin and blue hair. Personally, I wish they’d put her on the cover in Drow form, but I suppose that’s coming.
Her days are filled with working as a private investigator specializing in paranormal casework. Her human partner is a tough female go-getter that loves the paranormal side of life. The PI side of things feels fun, not necessarily realistic because there’s so much paranormal activity as well as a nearly total disregard of danger even though several of Nyx’s paranorm friends end up dead. But I checked my willing suspension of disbelief at the cover and had a great time not worrying about the logistics of real crime scene investigation.
At night, in her Drow form, Nyx hunts dangerous demons and other supernatural creatures that pose a threat to humans as well as other paranorms. She has a lot of powers and I enjoyed the forethought that McCray put into their development and how they worked.
The fight scenes as a human and as a Drow are really well done. The author writes very visually and I never had a problem picturing any of the action in my mind. She’s graphic and quick, never one to loiter through a scene because she’s constantly piling new information into the mix.
The romance angle seemed a little heavy to me in this one. The unrequited love, hesitation over getting involved again after a bad break-up, and miscommunication between Nyx and her human don’t really get in the way of the action, but they are definite side-steps to the plot.
Demons Not Included is definitely light and entertaining, not something that will stay with a reader long after finishing the book. But there’s enough going on that I’m looking forward to the next book and I’m betting most urban fantasy readers will feel the same way.