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Demon Hunter, by T. L. Gardner
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Q-boro Books
Published: 2006
Review Posted: 9/18/2006
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 5 out of 10

Demon Hunter, by T. L. Gardner

Book Review by Pete S. Allen

Have you read this book?

Elijah Garland is down on his luck. He's handsome, smooth, extraordinarily healthy and gets what he wants -- except in one case. The girl. Elijah gets plenty of girls, but not the one he loves, and when he finally does, she gets killed. While it may be hard to sympathize with the man who has nearly everything, it's always a bummer when your girlfriend gets killed taking a bullet meant for you, so perhaps one can understand Elijah's need to end it all. Unfortunately, that previously mentioned extraordinary health won't let him kill himself.

Demon Hunter is the first in an expected series of books (The Demon Hunter series) from author T.L. Gardner. As such, we get the birth of our hero, and see how he comes to be who he is. After his miraculous healing from his self-inflicted gunshot wound, Elijah is recruited by the forces of light to battle demons, and is given some nifty weapons -- a very handsome pair of swords, and better yet, a magic phrase to bind the demons to this reality, enabling him to kill them instead of their human hosts. He faces a veritable army of these demons, making you wonder where they all were before he got the swords (much like we wondered where all these ghosts were before the Ghostbusters came along).

This is not, despite the rating, a horrible book. Mr. Gardner is a competent writer who can tell a story but suffers from a lack of any sort (as far as I could tell) of editorial guidance. The tone of the novel varied from high epic fantasy to action-adventure pulp from page to page, and the dialogue followed suit. One recommendation I would make for the publisher is to hire a copy editor -- there were a painful number of grammatical mistakes, from the there/they're/their and it's/its variety to plain wrong word usage and punctuation mistakes. These mistakes do no credit to the author, and cause the reader to simply stop in the middle of a scene and wonder what's supposed to be going on.

As for the story itself, the plot of Demon Hunter is nothing new, giving us a standard noble hero, hard-edged heroine, and goofy sidekick -- because we're dealing with angels and demons, this sidekick is a priest. The love scenes are painfully adolescent, but as I mentioned, Gardner is a competent writer. He keeps the action moving; the story, if not original, is well paced, and the good guys not only win, they get the girl. The bad guys are all bad, and there's a fun conspiracy to keep everyone on their toes.

The best part of this book is the fact that the main character is African American. There is a decided lack of people of colour in genre fiction, even in these glorious days of the post civil rights movements, to the point that it makes one wonder (as a reader -- not as a social activist) if anything weird ever happens to anyone but white people. Are you listening, big media? The reason this matters, in this book and others, is that the character faces challenges beyond those a "usual" fantasy novel character would face, and this is, in a word, interesting. There are other words for it as well, but as I said, this is from the reader's point of view, not the social activist, so I'll avoid any soap boxes here.

There are times when this novel approaches, in its use of white supremacist cultists and clueless FBI agents, the level of the blaxploitation films of the 70's, but the author manages to avoid most of the more overt clichés, and sticks to the simple agenda of telling the story.

This story should appeal to the reader who enjoys the action-adventure genre with a good mix of supernatural detective thrown in. I am curious to see how the story develops in book 2, and am hoping to see a much cleaner, tighter, and more mature book next time around.what is infidelity why married men cheat on their wives
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