Kate Conner has been hunting demons, vampires and the like since she was a teenager. When she grew older, she married another demon hunter, Eric. Kate and Eric decide to retire from hunting and move to San Diablo, a place with no demon problems. They settle into an everyday life with their daughter, Allie. When Allie was young, Eric died. Kate married Stuart, County Attorney wannabe, had another child, Timmy, and kept her demon hunting past a secret. That’s all about to change in “Carpe Demon” by Julie Kenner.
The story opens with a demon crashing through Kate’s kitchen window and attacking her. He warns Kate that she will die when his master’s army rises. Kate has no time for the demon’s dire warning. She has a dinner party to prepare for. She kills the demon, stuffing he body in the food pantry.
Ms. Kenner gives the reader a crash course in demonology and demon lore. She explains that one of the ways to tell if someone is a demon is by their breath, which is always bad. At the dinner party Kate is hosting with Stuart to meet and greet possible supporters in his campaign to become County Attorney, Judge Larson arrives with foul breath. He avoids the holy water with which Kate tries to douse him, leaving her convinced that he’s a demon.
That evening Kate calls the Vatican to speak with her old friend, Father Corletti, head of the Forza Scura which oversees the demon hunters scattered through out the world. Father advises Kate that she must handle the local demons on her own, as there are not many new recruits to become hunters, and the mortality rate for existing hunters is high. Father Corletti advises Kate that they have placed an alimentatore, a mentor, in San Diablo to help her. She is to meet her alimenatore the next day at St. Mary’s Church. Kate drives to St.
Mary’s the next afternoon, but is unable to find anyone that appears to be waiting for her. Outside in the courtyard, Kate encounters Judge Larson. Believing him to be a demon, she tackles him and eventually has him kneeling on the ground where she gives him a kick in the kidneys. Wanting to kill the demon, Kate pulls a toy from her purse that has a point on the end, which she intends to stick in Larson’s eye, when he reveals that he’s her alimentore.
Larson confirms what Father Corletti told her: Goramesh, one of the high demons, is coming to San Diablo, and Kate must kill him. Larson asks Kate to go to the archives of St. Mary’s, and try to locate information so they can figure out what Goramesh wants in San Diablo.
As demon attacks increase, circumstances begin to point Kate to people she knows as possibly being demon possessed. She feels her life may spin out of control. Taking her concerns to Father Corletti, Kate learns there is another demon hunter in the area, old and feeble, living at a secluded nursing home. While Kate feels an old hunter won’t be of much help, she realizes any help is good help, and goes to see retired hunter Eddie. Eddie holds some surprises, one of the first of many in Kate’s quest to rid San Diablo of Goramesh and his henchmen.
“Carpe Demon” starts out slow in spots, but once the pace picks up it becomes a can’t-put-it-down page turner with a good twist at the end. “Carpe Demon” is a fun folic.