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By Austin Camacho

Are you ready for something really different in an adventure thriller?  How about rogue assassins, demons, and immortal master villains?  You’ll find all that and more in DELIVERANCE: MORTAL PATH BOOK 3, the latest installment of the thrill-soaked series by Dakota Banks.

The book’s protagonist is Maliha Crayne, a professional assassin who’s on the redemption trail.  After serving as a Sumerian demon’s personal murderer for centuries, she faces eternal damnation, and torment.  To redeem herself she turns hero, dedicated to balancing the scales by saving a life for every one she took.  This marvelous premise allows Banks to work with a truly engaging heroine.

“I wanted to work with a character that had been engulfed in evil and is now struggling to find her way out of it,” Banks says.  “She’s trying to redeem her soul, and has a grander plan than that—to eliminate the Sumerian demons that plague humanity and pave the way for humans to achieve their full potential.”

Outwardly Maliha looks much like any other woman, although Banks says she’s “drop-dead gorgeous” (literally, since she is generally carrying more than one hidden weapon.)  With the demonic powers that sustained her in the past fading, she is nearly human now.  And she is subject to human temptations, like being recruited to assassin work by a beautiful murderess. Suddenly she is forced to kill innocents to keep her few friends from a horrible death.

This book crosses over several genres which might make you wonder at Ms Banks’ literary influences.  Her reading tastes have, in fact, been quite varied.  She started with classic science fiction: Asimov, Heinlein, Bradbury, Frank Herbert and Arthur C. Clarke.

“I reveled in their skill for world building, taking me away from here and now to there and then,” Banks says.  “I learned a great deal from it that influenced my writing. Don’t just introduce a reader to your setting, completely enfold them in it and don’t let them out until  ‘The End’.   Classic mysteries came next:  Arthur Conan Doyle, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Edgar Allen Poe. From them I learned about logical plotting and planting clues.”

She also explored Shakespeare, the Russian novelists, The Lord of the Rings, and biographies which, she says, can help a writer’s ability to build credible characters.

Characters have to be strong to sustain a series, as this third installment of the Mortal Path books shows.  The characters grow and develop while following the twin major plot lines—Maliha redeeming her soul by saving as many lives as she took, and her attempt to eliminate the Sumerian demons which would eliminate war, chaos and disease on Earth.  Banks says it will take at least seven novels to tell the tale, and the depth of Maliha’s world makes it easy to keep the fresh ideas coming.

“Since Sumeria is at least 5,000 years in our past, I have that entire span of years to draw upon for ideas, because there are demons’ assassins among us who date from that time,” Banks says.  “I have a strong interest in archaeology, especially of that region. Ancient Sumer = modern Iraq.  So plots can be either some cutting-edge global threat manipulated by a being 1,000 years old or I can narrow the scope to Maliha and her group of friends, who have sworn to help her in her quests.”

Like its predecessors, DELIVERANCE: MORTAL PATH BOOK 3 spans many genres.  Lovers of action thrillers, paranormal, romance or horror novels will all find this one in their interest area.  Banks says all the blending is part of what excites her about the Mortal Path series and it really needs all those elements.

You might find these novels on the shelf labeled “urban fantasy” but that hardly covers it.  I’d say Dakota Banks’ books should appeal to both James Rollins and Sherrilyn Kenyon fans.  And if you’d like to see a novel starring the illegitimate daughter of Jason Bourne and Lara Croft, the closest you’re ever going to get is DELIVERANCE and the other novels in the MORTAL PATH series.


Dakota Banks lives on the western fringe of St. Louis, Missouri with her husband. Her two sons, one adopted from Peru and the other from Ethiopia, are in college. She speaks and teaches where writers gather, and considers “paying it forward”—passing on knowledge and encouragement—an important part of her writing career. Dakota is a former board member of International Thriller Writers (as Shirley Kennett), a member of the Horror Writers Association, the American Crime Writers League, Romance Writers of America, and Mystery Writers of America.

To learn more about Dakota, please visit her on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Austin Camacho
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