Skip to main content
  1. Arts & Entertainment
  2. Books

Book Review: ‘Known Devil’ by Justin Gustainis

See also

‘Known Devil’ by Justin Gustainis

Rating:
Star5
Star
Star
Star
Star

Known Devil is the third instalment in Gustainis’ Occult Crime Unit urban fantasy series. Though I had not read the first two books, this one was completely stand-alone and didn’t make me feel I was missing anything. I have, however, read other books from Gustainis in the past (Evil Ways, Black Magic Woman and Sympathy for the Devil), and thoroughly enjoyed them. He is a fabulous writer.

In this exciting new series, Detective Sergeant Stanley Markowski of the Scranton PD’s Occult Crimes Unit, and his partner, vampire detective Karl Renfer, try to keep law and order in a world where supernaturals — or supes — have come out of the closet and walk the streets with humans. Markowski’s daughter, a vampire witch, is eager to help and offer her expertise, especially because she’s attracted to Karl.

A new drug has hit the streets, Haemoglobin Plus — better known as Slide — the first drug that addicts supes, and as a result, a new wave of crimes has risen in Scranton. Stan and Karl are right on the case, interrogating both humans and supes alike, trying to find out who is behind the new drug: Pietro Calabrese, the Godfather of the local vampire family? Wizard Victor Castle, the unofficial head of the city’s whole supernatural community? The Delatasso family? Or the new Patriot Party, who has declared supes “abominations before the Lord?”

If you love urban fantasy a la crime noir, you’ll love this book. Gustainis is smart, gritty, snarky. I just love his sharp, witty descriptions. Take a look at a few:

“He had salt-and-pepper hair, wide-set brown eyes, and a thin moustache in the middle of a face that was no harder than your average concrete wall.”

“He stared at me with eyes that had probably looked dead even before he became a vampire.”

“The terrace outside the front door is open in warmer weather, for those who like sharing their food with the local bugs. I prefer to eat inside, where the only insects I’m likely to encounter have two legs.”

“I saw a puzzled look on his face — maybe because Karl’s grip, like every vampire’s, is colder than a banker’s heart.”

Gustainis is also a master at providing comic relief. I laughed out loud at times. Stan is a likable, sympathetic character, tough yet kind when needed. The world building, the setting, and all the supernatural details come through in a genuine, realistic way. I also enjoyed all the police procedural, showing once more, as in his other books, that Gustainis has done his research well.

The story moves at a fairly quick pace, propelled by entertaining dialogue and lots of action scenes. Particularly interesting is the dynamics between humans and supernaturals now that they have to co-exist side by side. But best of all, is the author’s gifted prose, a pleasure to read. Highly recommended for fans of detective urban fantasy!

Visit the author’s website.

Find out more on Amazon.

My review as originally published in Blogcritics.

Advertisement

Arts & Entertainment

  • Ted Nugent
    Ted Nugent concert at Native American casino canceled because of obvious reasons
    Headlines
  • Fifty Shades of Grey
    The first 'Fifty Shades of Grey' trailer has been released, leaving fans wanting more
    Video
    Movies Buzz
  • Music festivals
    150 years of major American music festivals are rooted in Rhode Island
    Camera
    17 Photos
  • Billy Corgan
    Billy Corgan receives Vanguard Awards at AMPAs in Cleveland
    Camera
    13 Photos
  • Celebrity tattoos
    We're not sure what some of these celebrities were thinking when they decided to get inked
    Camera
    23 Photos
  • John Stamos
    John Stamos talks about love, life and being tired of Uncle Jesse
    Video
    Today's Buzz