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Surviving Demon Island
Jaci Burton
Bantam Dell, 368 pages

Surviving Demon Island
Jaci Burton
Jaci Burton grew up in Missouri, but spent a number of years as a California girl. Now she's back in the area she loves to call home, this time Oklahoma, where she lives with her husband and her stepdaughter.

Jaci Burton Website
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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Charlene Brusso

It's about 14 degrees Fahrenheit outside my window today, in the middle of a bone-freezing February, but everything about this paperback paranormal, from the orange-yellow tinted cover to its Hollywood-influenced casting and desert island setting, just screams, "Summer Beach Read!" Gina Bliss is the top female action film star in the world (think Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft), a black belt with a killer body, a face with a regular role in a million male fantasies, and an attitude the size of Hollywood itself. Gina lives for competition, but there's one role she won't play. As she's told her despairing agent more than once. "Blech. I don't do romance… I'd rather kick a guy's ass than kiss it."

Just off a demanding film schedule, Gina's ready for a vacation, and what better way to kick back than by accepting a role on the latest Survivor clone, 'Surviving Demon Island'? This show requires a trip to a secret tropical island where the contestants must use all their guile and smarts to hunt down the demons in a kill-or-be-killed scenario. The last man -- or woman -- standing is the winner. Gina, of course, is determined to be the winner.

Little does she know (cue spooky music) the demons on the island are real, and this contest is actually the start of a war which will determine the ultimate survival of the human race against the minions of Satan.

Oh yeah, and there is a romance subplot here as well. Gina's foil is the reality show's "trainer," ex-Navy Seal Derek Marks, the kind of guy who thinks he invented Macho. He wears a lot of black, smokes a cigar, and rubs Gina the wrong way right from the start. Of course, they're destined to fall for each other -- if they can stay alive when the demons come out of the jungle. To get a feel for the plot mix, toss network TV's Survivor in the blender with dashes of The Da Vinci Code and The Omen, fold in some sweaty sex scenes, and add a hearty helping of the Left Behind series. Regular dark fantasy/horror readers will find the demonic bits a little tame, even predictable, but if you're in the mood to break up a long winter with something spicy, this is a fun read. (A sequel, Hunting the Demon, is due out in the fall of 2007.)

Copyright © 2007 Charlene Brusso

Charlene's sixth grade teacher told her she would burn her eyes out before she was 30 if she kept reading and writing so much. Fortunately he was wrong. Her work has also appeared in Aboriginal SF, Amazing Stories, Dark Regions, MZB's Fantasy Magazine, and other genre magazines.

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