Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 60-65,000 words
Availability Kindle: YES Nook: YES Paper: YES
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Although born in England (she still has the accent to prove it) Linda Welch has lived throughout the western United States. She currently lives in a mountain valley in Utah along with her husband and dog. Along Came a Demon is the first of her Whisperings paranormal mystery series. Two others, The Demon Hunters and Dead Demon Walking, are currently available in both paper and electronic formats. For more, visit her website.
Tiff (don’t call her Tiffany) Banks can see the dead. Not their bodies and not everyone, but what she calls the “shadows” (kind of like a ghost) of those who died a violent death at someone else’s hand. These shadows are stuck at the place of their death until the killer dies or is brought to justice. At times Tiff can view what happened when the person died, as though it is through their eyes. She can also converse with them. Additionally, Tiff can detect beings among us who look human, but are actually paranormal. Although she calls them “demons,” these beings are not all the same. Tiff’s gifts are valuable in solving murders and she tries her best to help the police. This book involves the murder of a woman who lived in the apartment building next door to Tiff.
In the last year or two I’ve probably read more books with some kind of paranormal twist than I had all the remaining years of my life combined. I’ve been amazed to discover the number of ways authors have to give a novel a paranormal twist. Along Came a Demon is among my favorites. I was happy discovering they aren’t all glittery vampires.
As I evaluate the reasons Along Came a Demon was an enjoyable read for me several things come to mind. Part of it is the mystery portion. Ignore the paranormal part and this book is like a police procedural or private investigator mystery, which are genres I’ve read and enjoyed for years. Unlike the typical paranormal book, Tiff’s skills and the existence of paranormal creatures aren’t treated as if they are normal. Tiff assumes most people wouldn’t acknowledge or accept her talents or paranormal beings exist, so she hides the true nature of her abilities and the existence of the paranormal. This adds a different twist to the story. Hiding certain things like that, most notably two “dead” people who reside in Tiff’s house, adds plenty of humor to the book.
There is one thing about Along Came a Demon that was an issue for me, although it wouldn’t be for most readers. When a story is set in a specific non-fictional place, I’ll apply any knowledge I have of the area as I’m imagining what is taking place. If I read something that doesn’t fit, I notice. I found myself getting disoriented in the beginning of this book because it takes place in a very specific area of Northern Utah, with town and highway names that make it easily identifiable, yet Clarion, the town where much of the story is set doesn’t exist. Once I accepted that it was okay most of the time, but sometimes I still found myself slipping out of the fictional world into the real world I am familiar with.
Although the author lives in the US and uses corresponding spelling and slang (if any), there is one aspect of her English usage common to authors writing to UK norms. This is a tendency to drop certain words like “of” and “to” in some situations. An example from the book is “I needed to identify the killer so Mike and SLCPD could get everyone out the mall” instead of “… out of the mall.” This was infrequent enough that it shouldn’t be a concern for anyone.
No significant issues
Rating: ***** Five stars