"Carpe Demon" by Julie Kenner

Pros: Great job balancing demon hunting and mom/wife responsibilities; sense of humor is wonderful.
Cons: Some of the character’s justifications for her actions felt like a stretch.
Rating: 4 out of 5


Kate Connor is a typical suburban mom, taking care of her kids and supporting her husband’s run for county attorney. She’s put aside her career as a demon hunter, and is thoroughly enjoying life. But when a demon crashes into her house trying to kill her to pave the way for his master to carry out an evil plan, Kate has no choice but to come out of retirement. Will she be able to keep work and family separate? And can she solve the mystery of why demons have showed up in this formerly safe town?


Due to our Christmas budget, I haven’t been able to raid ye local bookstore in a while, but when I saw Julie Kenner’s Carpe Demon I just had to get it. It looked quirky and a little off-beat, and turned out to be a lot of fun. Ms. Kenner has an absolutely wonderful sense of humor (I enjoy seeing sarcasm used in a way that isn’t meant to draw blood from someone else) and employs it to keep things from feeling too melodramatic. For example, when Kate tries to send her husband to the mall to take their fourteen year old daughter clothes shopping, he immediately asks her what he’s done wrong, and offers a day at the spa or in Paris to make it up to her.

That’s one of the other things that I absolutely love about this book. Even without the demons, you still have a family that loves each other very much. Warts and all. I just hope that when my kids hit their teen years that they’ll do as well as Kate’s daughter Allie (and that I’ll have Kate’s patience!). For Kate, even when things with the demons get tough, she still feels like her first priorities are with her family. Having had the “empowered” working woman held up to me as an example, it’s nice to see a housewife being just as empowered. (Please don’t misconstrue that last comment; I fully support women’s equal rights in the workplace but I’d like my housewife career choice to be respected as well.)

There were a couple of things that did bother me a little bit, however. First of all, about once every ten pages or so for about the first sixth of the book, the name of a brand or celebrity gets dropped into the text. I understand that in contemporary books one or two might not be able to be glossed over, but it felt a bit like being yanked out of a TV show by a commercial. As a reader, it was very distracting for me.

Kate also makes the decision early on in the book not to let her husband know about her double life as a demon hunter, because she feels as if he won’t see her the same way after he knows. Throughout the book, she has numerous opportunities to level with him, but doesn’t. I actually wound up feeling sorry for him as the book progressed because he obviously loves her and wants to know why she’s acting so strangely, but she keeps him in the dark. I hope that she winds up telling him in one of the later books, because some of his reactions are a little painful to watch and his distress actually makes me think less of Kate.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable romp; I hesitate to call it “fluff” but at the same time Kate’s rather immature justifications keep it from being as meaningful as it could have been to me if she had maybe learned something about keeping secrets and partnership. I understand why for the sake of the book she keeps her secrets, but it feels a little shallow and immature. If you’re looking for adventure, suburbia, and a few chuckles then this is certainly a fun way to go.

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