Black City Demon by Richard A. Knaak – Review


Published: March 14, 2017

Publisher: Pyr

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 340 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Since he became the guardian of the Gate between our world and Feirie sixteen hundred years ago, Nick Medea, once Saint George, has battled to keep the darkest Feirie–the Wyld–from invading the mortal plane. With the dragon an unwilling part of him, Nick maintains balance between realms, often at great cost to him and those nearest to him.
Nick and his ragtag confederates–including the shape-shifter Fetch and Nick’s reincarnated love, Claryce–have battled the Wyld, but mortals as sinister as the darkest Feirie. Now, with Prohibition in full swing and bootlegger wars embattling Chicago, a murderous evil born of the mortal world has turned its attention to the power of the Gate…and Nick himself.
Nick must turn again to his most untrustworthy ally: the dragon within. Yet even together they may not be enough to face what was once a man…but is now a creature even dragons may fear.

I had high hopes for Black City Demon and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it lived up to my expectations. Once again, the art deco cover was gorgeous and Knaak’s skillful incorporation of historical events really enhanced the appeal of the story for me. I had a good bit of fun researching The Beast of Chicago and his reign of terror. There’s nothing more chilling than realizing what creeped you out in a work of fiction actually happened!

The story picks up not long after the events of Black City Saint, where Nick and the dragon burned Oberon to a crisp and set the Gate to rights. Of course, things didn’t just return to normal. The Frost Moon is followed by a wake that has drawn a very nasty individual back into the mortal plane. The Beast of Chicago, a serial killer operating around the time of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, wasn’t quite as dead as he seemed when he was hanged in 1896. The magic of the Frost Moon’s wake has allowed him (and the ghosts of those he murdered) to ‘live’ once again and now he’s trying to fully regain his life by murdering once again, but this time his victim list includes high fey. The Beast, aka Alexander Bond, is also after Nick because he needs the dragon’s power to fully anchor himself to life once again.

Black City Demon introduced several new characters and more clearly defined several others. Unfortunately, the characters that became better fleshed out weren’t the ones I was hoping for! I’d hoped that Claryce would let on more about her life, but she remained much the same. She remains the capable, stubborn woman that we met in Black City Saint. Another character that I had anticipated a greater role for was Officer Cortez, but he just shows up at all the crime scenes Nick happens to be at. I really wish Nick would let the poor guy in on the secret!! Kravayik ended up having the greatest amount of growth in the book, simply because he had a past encounter with The Beast.

Overall, I thought Black City Demon had a much more captivating storyline that Black City Saint. I found myself horrified by The Beast and legitimately creeped out on several occasions throughout the book, but the lack of character growth/definition kept me from rating this higher. I still think a prequel series would be both beneficial and awesome, especially considering that the ending of Black City Demon implied that someone from Nick’s distant past may show up in the third installment.


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