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The Devil You Know
Jenna Black
Dell Spectra, 305 pages

The Devil You Know
Jenna Black
Jenna Black has traveled all seven continents, and is a Life Master in Bridge. She lives and writes in Pittsboro, North Carolina.

Jenna Black Website
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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Nathan Brazil

'Even though he can't control me as well as most demons control their hosts, Lugh does have full access to my thoughts and memories. He knows when I'm aroused, no matter how much I might want to hide it.'
The Devil You Know is book two in an on-going sequence. Normally, like everyone else, I'd start at the beginning, but occasionally I like to jump in and see if a title still makes sense. The publisher describes the goings on here as; "The beautiful. The bad. The possessed." What that translates to is a somewhat camp, demons and damp knickers pot boiler, featuring possessed exorcist Morgan Kingsley. A woman who is one of the few humans with an aura stronger than her possessor. In this world, possession is rather common, it seems. As the story opens, Morgan has recently become aware that her entire past, including her identity, might be a lie.

There's a demon war in the offing, and Morgan, whose possessor is Lugh, the King of Demons, is being hunted by a murderous rogue demon named the Hunter. As seasoned readers will surmise, original names in this world are clearly not considered to be important. The demonic plan, Morgan discovers, is to create human vegetables to live in. (No jokes about TV audiences.) Morgan wants the demons gone, but it's a wish that cannot be fulfilled until Lugh's brother has been dealt with. The mad demon on her trail wants to pick her brains, perhaps literally, in order to discover the location of the exiled demon king. Also getting in Morgan's way are an ex-boyfriend, her brother and parents, plus her own rampant lust. Lugh, it must be remembered, is not a physical character, but a mind-rider. This aspect could have been quite confusing, but the author does a reasonable job of bringing new readers up to speed. Although, it's really no substitute for actually reading the first novel in the series. Some books within series are clever enough or engineered enough to also work as stand-alone titles, but The Devil You Know is not among this group.

It's an easy read, and will feel numbingly familiar to anyone who has previously scratched beneath the surface of the genre. There seems to be a chunky niche market for kick-arse female leads, who aren't adverse to a bit of "how's your father." Then a bit more, with a side order of anti-social behaviour excused by the character's past. Readers who are hot for girls with murder in their eyes will be pleased to know that Morgan Kingsley's modus operadi is to kill first and ask questions later. It's a philosophy which I found juvenile, and quickly boring. Indeed, the story contains so many formulaic elements, it could have been written by a committee. There's the harder-than-nails female lead, the crudity of instant sex, a gay Special Forces director and his boyfriend to please the PC brigade, abusive behaviour dressed up as entertainment, and great dollops of designer violence. Ultimately, if you lap this kind of thing up, Jenna Black's work will not disappoint. If, on the other hand, what you want is something with edge, subtlety and freshness, then it may be wise to look elsewhere.

Copyright © 2009 Nathan Brazil

Nathan Brazil
If Nathan Brazil were dyslexic, he'd be the dog of the Well world. In reality, he's an English bloke who lives on an island, reading, writing and throwing chips to the seagulls. Drop by his web site at

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