Once again the universe has surprised me with an author who not only takes on the subject of demons/possession and if there really are things that go bump in the night, but does so in a way that kept me holding the book with one hand and the edge of my seat with the other.
Not with gruesome details like the spinning heads or spitting pea green soup of William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist, or ‘Here’s Johnny’ of Stephen King’s , The Shinning, nor Andrew Kevin Walker’s 1995 film ‘Seven’.
No Andrew Pyper’s Demonologist is more on the order of Peter Straub/Stephen King’s ‘The Talisman’ or Dean Koontz ‘Watchers’ or Thomas Tyon’s ‘The Other’. Books that demand the reader make room for thoughts other than their own.
I will say this though, the first couple of pages were a bit rocky for me. Generally an author has two, maybe three paragraphs to either grab or bore me. And it’s really more about author voice than plot…which is why I went ahead and pushed through Pyper’s first chapter. It was the voice…first person, singular universe, tunnel vision voice of David Ullman; professor of religion, mythology and a man who believes in neither (and I can’t lie, the whole demon/Catholic non-romantic thing didn’t hurt either).
Yet for such a one-dimensional story, this one is so full of texture and depth you can’t help but fall into every ditch, void and despair Ullman does.
Kind of like “Flatland”, only with pop-ups.
Unlike Jim Butcher’s ‘Harry Dresden’ who slams, smacks, punches and wizards his way through the story at such a pace I feel like I’ve just had my cardio work out for the entire bloody month, David Ullman speeds the reader along at a mild mannered Kent Clark kind of way that left me breathless without even realizing I’d left the building.
As my reader’s know I am all about character development. Well with Andrew Pyper’s ‘Demonologist’, the reader gets a three strand cord that is not easily broken; plot, character and author voice. Separate I’m not sure how far they would have gone, but together they will wrap themselves around your souls and refuse to let go.
The only reason I didn’t finish this novel in one setting is because the reality is, I have to work on my own novel some time. Other wise I would have never left the arm-chair until I was done reading it.
Needless to say, Andrew Pyper is now on my “Must Read Author’ list.
On my reader’s scale of 1-5 stars, I’m giving ‘Demonologist’ 4.5 stars for story and 3 stars for making me remember how much I hate demonology.