REVIEW: SHE DEMONS by Donald Hauka, published by Dundurn Press

REVIEW: SHE DEMONS by Donald Hauka, published by Dundurn Press

ISBN: 9781554887637, £6.99


While I was cavorting in crime with the Crime Writers of Canada in Toronto a couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate to be given books in my goody bag by a number of authors I’d never heard of. This is always a Good Thing. There is nothing better than discovering a new author you haven’t tried before. Well, when the author’s good, anyway.

And I’ve found one. The first book from the bag that I tried was SHE DEMONS. I’ve never heard of it, nor of Mr Jinnah, nor of Mr Hauka, but I can guarantee I’ll be reading as many more of these titles as I can.

This book had me hooked so badly from the first moment, that I’ve been neglecting my own book for the last few days. Not good with an approaching deadline, but it’s just one of those things.

First, the main character. Mr Hakeem Jinnah is a Canadian. He is a journalist for a paper in Vancouver, he is middle-aged with a (long suffering) wife and slightly confused son who is more Canadian than Indian, and who, like any teenager, wants to push the envelope a bit. Hakeem has strong views on such matters. He has strong views on many issues, especially regarding how they relate to his duties as a reporter. He is dedicated. He’s also flirtatious, enterprising, witty and a hypochondriac. All of which adds up to a fascinating, funny and constantly surprising character.

DSC_0001The story begins with the discovery of a dead body. It is very dead, because when friends move the seated figure, the head falls off. Marks graven into the man’s cheeks indicate a strange symbol: Yaksha. And Hakeen discovers that the Yaksha, as well as being she demons from the Hindu pantheon, who appear as attractive young women to tempt the unwary into forests and kill them, is also the name of a new gang of drug dealers from Los Angeles.

But soon it’s learned that the dead man was associated with a new cult lead by an international singer and songwriter – who happens to be rather litigious – and Hakeem has an intriguing case on his hands. Drug dealing, drug gangs, religious sects, police, journalists with competition from TV, and of course the import of the Babjis – brown skinned Barbies. What more could Hauka have fitted in?

I loved this book: it’s hilarious but also a very effective crime thriller, and I was held enthralled to the very last page. It works as a story with a fast plot that drives forward all the time increasing the tension, the characterisation was spot-on, and Hauka’s skill at describing scenes is superb. His invention, Jinnah, is fantastic: by turns aggressive, then ridiculous, but always believable.

I have no hesitation in recommending this book. I will be hunting for more books by this guy!


6 Responses to “REVIEW: SHE DEMONS by Donald Hauka, published by Dundurn Press”
  1. David Hauka says:

    The book is by Donald Hauka, not David Hauka – I should know! Please correct – and thank you for the review – my brother is a fantastic writer and deserves the recognition.


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