When Demons Dance

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Detective Olivia St. George is assigned to the case of a possible homicide. A young woman, with no apparent background, the most outstanding pieces of evidence on Anna Taylor, aside of gruesome details, are a mysterious Latin verse tattoo and a cross necklace with a bible verse inscribed on it. Olivia learns that demon possession plays an important role in Anna’s death, and in more ways than she thinks. Olivia experiences bizarre nightmares that get out of hand, to say the least. Yet, her terrifying dreams, amid the investigation, lead not only to the truth about Anna, but also Olivia’s unsettling Native American past.

In her fourth novel, rising author, Cara J. Swanson, scripts a story that couples dark spirituality with self-awareness. Using the limited point of view to zero in on her featured character, Swanson’s third person narrative takes readers into the mind of one woman whose snarky persona is in many ways just a facade to her dysfunctional past. But as Olivia is desperately trying to move on from her past, amid a twisted homicide investigation, Swanson laces in a handful of literary tools to bring out the best in her characters, and keep her plot fresh and constantly flowing. One such tool is Swanson’s use of teaming Olivia up with a bit of a lame-brain detective, Matt Gossett. The stereotypical “Odd Couple” with their often-comedic yet incessant love/hate bickering, helps to lighten Swanson’s dark paranormal storyline.

Swanson’s tight, yet foiled, cast is a well-balanced mix of curious personalities that eventually steers Olivia into a surprisingly new and unexpected direction, but not without walking through a series of situations that are enough to make a person go mad. In addition, Swanson places her characters within an intense fifteen-day setting, which mirrors all that takes place during the investigation – and then some. Swanson also goes so far as to design her plot with journal entry subtitled chapters that are divided into “Book One” and “Book Two” – all for the apt illusion of story movement. Lastly, unique to Swanson’s recent novel is creating a human-interest element into her protagonist by shedding light into the plight of Native Americans. Although she doesn’t spend a great deal of time into their history, Swanson alludes to issues that are still alive today, such as racism and alcoholism.

A paranormal murder mystery, filled with a plethora of non-clichéd scenes, When Demons Dance is immensely gripping – indeed, one book that is difficult to put down!

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Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 398 pages
Publisher Nighthawk/Raven Publishing
Publish Date 31-Oct-2015
ISBN 9781508530084
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue June 2015
Category Mystery, Crime, Thriller


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