Book Review: Black City Demon, by Richard A. Knaak

Black City Demon - Richard KnaakSeems like I just can’t stay away from these noir-historical-fantasy-detective blends… This is the second book in the Black City series; I’ve reviewed the first one here.

What to expect

This book, while a separate adventure, continues straight from the previous one and builds up on the events therein. You can expect to learn more about Nick Medea’s past, the world of Feirie, and Chicago’s history.

Without spoilers, this novel expounds on a dark episode in Chicago’s history (I’ll only say unrelated to the gang-wars), whilst giving it a Feirie twist.

What I liked

As with the first volume, the plot is fast and twisty (this time picking up from the get-go). Once you start you just can’t stop. Nick is navigating the complex world that Knaak created, and we given tantalising glimpses into his past.

The level of historical detail is as amazing as before, both in support for the main plot points and in weaving the rich background. Knaak paints a truly believable world, in style, architecture, personas, and events.

What to be aware of

This is a noir mystery. It is told in the classic hard-boiled style, as a first-person POV. It has gruesome bits, and our intrepid protagonist is not afraid to deal with them. Speaking of the protagonist, expect the attitudes and atmosphere commensurate with the 1920’s, especially in dealing with gender and race issues.

The plot twists, which I find fantastic, are also not for the faint of heart. There is a lot going on, and as Nick tries to unravel events and their causes we are taken through a ride in both the human and Feirie realms.

As this is book two, I would strongly recommend you read them in order.


I think “WHEN IS THE NEXT BOOK OUT?!?” sums it up pretty well. I want to know more about Nick’s past, I want to see more of prohibition-era Chicago through his eyes (more gang wars!), and I want to learn more about Claryce and Feirie.

So go ahead and grab your copy today (or get the first volume if you haven’t read it yet). There’s also a short story in Grimdark Magazine #13, which I will be picking up soon.


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