Ahoy there me mateys! I slowly be working me way through the novels by Daryl Gregory. This is me fourth book of his but by far me least favourite of the bunch so far. Part of that may be that it is a first novel. Part of it was the resolution. And part of it was a specific problem scene that I will discuss in a moment and will be a spoiler even if cloaked in shady terms. The elements of his style, which I love, are present but I didn’t love the final product.
Now this apparently was his first novel. I didn’t know that when I picked it up. It was just the next in line from me library hold list. In fact, I really knew nothing about it except that the word demon in the title is highlighted in red letters. The story takes place in an alternate universe where in the 1950s people began to be possessed by demons. These demons can possess people of all ages and usually stay in a host for a limited time-frame until their objective has been achieved. But once ye have been possessed, the statistical likelihood of another possession goes up.
The story follows Del who was possessed twice in his life time at the ages five and fourteen. But he thought he was out of danger until an accident makes him realize that he is possessed again and the demon is struggling to break free. Or what if the demon never left? I thought the beginning of the novel was wonderful and loved the odd world-building and the different types of demons and their particular traits. I enjoyed learning about Del and both his present and past history. Del made me happy. His mom, brother, and sister-in-law also made me happy.
The weakness of the novel was in the plot. There is a lot of discussion about the various theories of demon possession. I normally would love it but it was haphazardly discussed and interrupted the flow. In addition the action was limited and there was a lot of driving back and forth. Besides Del’s family, many of the side characters were rather bland. And while I loved the set-up until the reveal, the rest of the book began to pall after that. Part of that was the focus on comic books. I am not a comic book fan and so the second half was not to me taste.
And then there is the scene that soured things for me altogether. Del and a woman are sharing a hotel room when there is a discussion about the sexual tension. The woman decides not to have sex. Then Del wakes up to find the woman having sex with him. His response to throw her to the floor. Her response is to be “what the hell.” And then they have sex but under her terms. Ugh. Blech. Yuck. The day after and aftermath was also dealt with poorly. The entire scene could have been thrown out of the book and wouldn’t have mattered. I was beyond disappointed in its inclusion.
So with the non-consensual sex, the downward trend of the second half into a story I wasn’t interested in, and a conclusion that was lackluster, this one walks the plank. I be sad but good ideas weren’t enough to save it. Arrrr!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
It is a world like our own in every respect . . . save one. In the 1950s, random acts of possession begin to occur. Ordinary men, women, and children are the targets of entities that seem to spring from the depths of the collective unconscious, pop-cultural avatars some call demons. There’s the Truth, implacable avenger of falsehood. The Captain, brave and self-sacrificing soldier. The Little Angel, whose kiss brings death, whether desired or not. And a string of others, ranging from the bizarre to the benign to the horrific.
As a boy, Del Pierce is possessed by the Hellion, an entity whose mischief-making can be deadly. With the help of Del’s family and a caring psychiatrist, the demon is exorcised . . . or is it? Years later, following a car accident, the Hellion is back, trapped inside Del’s head and clamoring to get out.
Del’s quest for help leads him to Valis, an entity possessing the science fiction writer formerly known as Philip K. Dick; to Mother Mariette, a nun who inspires decidedly unchaste feelings; and to the Human League, a secret society devoted to the extermination of demons. All believe that Del holds the key to the plague of possession–and its solution. But for Del, the cure may be worse than the disease.
To visit the author’s website go to:
To buy the novel please visit:
To add to Goodreads go to:
Previous Log Entries for this Author
afterparty (Captain’s Log – Sci-Fi)
spoonbenders (Captain’s Log – Sci-Fi)
raising stony mayhall (Captain’s Log – Sci Fi)