The Demonologist: A Novel

( 18 )

Overview

**WINNER OF THE 2014 THRILLER AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL**

Fans of The Historian won’t be able to put down this spellbinding literary horror story in which a Columbia professor must use his knowledge of demonic mythology to rescue his daughter from the Underworld.

Professor David Ullman is among the world’s leading authorities on demonic literature, with special expertise in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Not that David is a believer—he sees what he teaches as a branch of the imagination and...

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The Demonologist: A Novel

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Overview

**WINNER OF THE 2014 THRILLER AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL**

Fans of The Historian won’t be able to put down this spellbinding literary horror story in which a Columbia professor must use his knowledge of demonic mythology to rescue his daughter from the Underworld.

Professor David Ullman is among the world’s leading authorities on demonic literature, with special expertise in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Not that David is a believer—he sees what he teaches as a branch of the imagination and nothing more. So when the mysterious Thin Woman arrives at his office and invites him to travel to Venice and witness a “phenomenon,” he turns her down. She leaves plane tickets and an address on his desk, advising David that her employer is not often disappointed.

That evening, David’s wife announces she is leaving him. With his life suddenly in shambles, he impulsively whisks his beloved twelve-year-old daughter, Tess, off to Venice after all. The girl has recently been stricken by the same melancholy moods David knows so well, and he hopes to cheer her up and distract them both from the troubles at home.

But what happens in Venice will change everything.

First, in a tiny attic room at the address provided by the Thin Woman, David sees a man restrained in a chair, muttering, clearly insane… but could he truly be possessed? Then the man speaks clearly, in the voice of David’s dead father, repeating the last words he ever spoke to his son. Words that have left scars—and a mystery—behind.

When David rushes back to the hotel, he discovers Tess perched on the roof’s edge, high above the waters of the Grand Canal. Before she falls, she manages to utter a final plea: Find me.

What follows is an unimaginable journey for David Ullman from skeptic to true believer. In a terrifying quest guided by symbols and riddles from the pages of Paradise Lost, David must track the demon that has captured his daughter and discover its name. If he fails, he will lose Tess forever.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A mesmerizing and melancholy narrative voice lends chilling credibility to this exceptional supernatural thriller. Milton scholar David Ullman, who teaches English literature at Columbia, believes that loneliness, each person’s going like Adam and Eve “their solitary way,” is the real theme of Paradise Lost. Outside of work, the professor has a failed marriage and a beloved 11-year-old daughter, Tess. One day, a “worryingly thin” woman with a generic European accent shows up at his campus office with an unusual offer. The woman, who says she represents a client “who demands discretion above all,” will pay Ullman a sum a third larger than his annual salary if he will travel immediately to Venice to observe a “phenomenon” that his expertise on demons qualifies him to assess. Ullman protests that he doesn’t believe in demons, but in the end, accompanied by Tess, he goes to Venice, where tragedy ensues. Pyper (Lost Girl) is especially gifted at plausibly anthropomorphizing inanimate objects to creepy effect. A standard rural mailbox is transformed into “a stooped figure, lurching after me, its mouth wide in a scream”; a book becomes “a mouth gasping for air.” Agent: Stephanie Cabot, the Gernert Company. (Mar.)
#1 New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
“Smart, thrilling, and utterly unnerving. Pyper’s gift is that he deeply respects his readers, yet still insists on reducing them to quivering children. I like that in a writer.”
New York Times bestselling author of Before I Go To Sleep - S.J. Watson
“Plenty of books claim to be scary, but this is genuinely terrifying, don’t-read-late-at-night stuff. Thrilling, compelling and beautifully written, The Demonologist makes Rosemary's Baby feel like a walk in the park.”
New York Times bestselling author of XO - Jeffery Deaver
“Richly crafted, deliriously scary and compulsively page-turning from beginning to end. Imagine The Exorcist and The Da Vinci Code as penned by Daphne du Maurier. Don't miss this one!”
New York Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places - Brunonia Barry
“Smart and astonishing, Andrew Pyper has created a recurring nightmare for adults. The Demonologist holds a mirror to the reader and reveals the places where our deepest darkness lurks. Like Milton’s Paradise Lost, this is the story of the human condition, the fall, and the way back. I slept with the light on for nights, too obsessed to stop reading and too terrified to dream.”
New York Times bestselling author of Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel - Kate Mosse
The Demonologist is that rare thing—a novel that is both genuinely terrifying and erudite. The research is excellent and lightly worn, the pace and cleverness of the plot thrilling. One of the most exciting works of fiction I’ve read for some time.”
New York Times bestselling author of The Prophet - Michael Koryta
“As compelling and smoothly chilling a tale as you’ll find this year. The Demonologist shows an enormously gifted writer at the top of his game, producing a novel of eerie menace and unique depth. Those of us who write supernatural stories do not throw the names Ira Levin, William Peter Blatty, and Peter Straub around lightly. You’ll be hearing all three associated with Mr. Pyper soon, and all such comparisons are warranted, the highest praise I can offer.”
The New York Times Book Review
“It’s impossible to ignore the devils and demons who have a tangible presence in this story, but the novel’s deeper pleasure comes from the analysis Ullman applies to these horrors . . . Bring on the devils.”
Columbus Dispatch
"In the sly, creepy and often-horrific The Demonologist, Andrew Pyper knows how to get under the skin of even the most rational reader."
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“A chilling novel for readers who like their horror presented with literary flair.”
Maclean's (Canada)
“A fast-paced Exorcist-meets-Da Vinci Code.”
Toronto Star
“A complex novel about loss, anger, faith, grief, love and forgiveness . . . [The Demonologist] will frighten you out of your shoes.”
Montreal Gazette
“Pyper’s novel is enthralling in its subdued intensity. There are no pyrotechnics à la William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist—more a slow burn to a pulse-pounding end.”
The National Post (Canada)
"This book is going to be big, and it’s going to be popular, and it absolutely deserves to be both of these things. You should buy it, and read it, and let it scare you stupid."
Booklist
"The evil of Milton's pandemonium comes to life . . . Pyper's novel takes on "things that go bump in the brain" and delivers a stirring entry in the supernatural thriller genre."
CurledUp.com
“The intellectual’s Stephen King, Pyper lifts a tale of the impossible to the realm of waking nightmare.”
From the Publisher
“Smart, thrilling, and utterly unnerving. Pyper’s gift is that he deeply respects his readers, yet still insists on reducing them to quivering children. I like that in a writer.”

“Plenty of books claim to be scary, but this is genuinely terrifying, don’t-read-late-at-night stuff. Thrilling, compelling and beautifully written, The Demonologist makes Rosemary's Baby feel like a walk in the park.”

“It’s impossible to ignore the devils and demons who have a tangible presence in this story, but the novel’s deeper pleasure comes from the analysis Ullman applies to these horrors . . . Bring on the devils.”

"In the sly, creepy and often-horrific The Demonologist, Andrew Pyper knows how to get under the skin of even the most rational reader."

“A chilling novel for readers who like their horror presented with literary flair.”

"Mesmerizing . . . The plot zigs and zags. Coincidences turn into horrors. Appearances deceive. This novel will haunt you relentlessly."

“The intellectual’s Stephen King, Pyper lifts a tale of the impossible to the realm of waking nightmare.”

“A mesmerizing and melancholy narrative voice lends chilling credibility to this exceptional supernatural thriller.”

"This book is going to be big, and it’s going to be popular, and it absolutely deserves to be both of these things. You should buy it, and read it, and let it scare you stupid."

“A fast-paced Exorcist-meets-Da Vinci Code.”

Providence Journal
"Mesmerizing . . . The plot zigs and zags. Coincidences turn into horrors. Appearances deceive. This novel will haunt you relentlessly."
The Globe and Mail (Canada)
"Part horror, part thriller, all page-turner . . . The Demonologist has all the twisting excitement of a Dan Brown novel, and all the lurid, gory violence of a Stieg Larsson."
The Sunday Telegraph (UK)
“A road tour of American-Gothic grotesquery. Effective, literate, nightmarish.”
Thriller of the Week Mail on Sunday (UK)
"A chilling exploration of how we all have to do battle with our own demons."
BookPage
“Looking at the premise . . . you could be forgiven for thinking you’re about to crack open another DaVinci Code imitator, a sensationalistic voyage of carefully placed clues, perfectly timed cliffhangers and impossible revelations. Don’t fall for it. In these pages, Pyper has done something more. . . . The Demonologist is at its heart a painfully human drama about loss, redemption and belief. . . . A surprisingly weighty page-turner.”
Bookreporter.com
“With The Demonologist, Andrew Pyper has created a truly blood-curdling work that will have readers looking over their shoulders and on edge from beginning to end. Whereas other classics in the genre have focused on battling evil, this novel seeks to understand the very nature of evil from its origins. The fact that he is able to breathe life into the book’s plausibility creates an unsettling feeling and completely satisfying horror read without ever becoming clichéd in the process.”
NOW magazine (Canada)
"Pyper’s a star because he writes so spectacularly. The entire story is drenched in dread, and his most terrifying scenes are so vivid, you’d best not be reading the book just before hitting the sack."
Hamilton Spectator
“This is storytelling that transcends the boundaries of genre: mystery (a vanished child), thriller (evil), a page-turner. It’s beautifully written, with layer upon layer of fear, redemption and deep feelings rarely expressed in a fiction. The Demonologist should not be missed.”
author of Those Across the River - Christopher Buehlman
“Andrew Pyper’s satisfying prose propels a narrative sure to please readers with or without a dog-eared copy of Milton’s Paradise Lost on their shelves. If you’re looking for smart horror that chills without resorting to Grand Guignol, give The Demonologist a try.”
three-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Audrey's Door - Sarah Langan
“Andrew Pyper is a rare breed. Reading The Demonologist is like running through a house on fire—you’ve got to get through; nothing will stop you. And when you’re out, brokenhearted and bewildered, you’re left wondering if what happened was real. That’s Pyper’s brilliance: he does it so well you never see the fiction. Contemporary and masterful, this is grown up horror for grown up people.”
Daily Mail (UK)
A stunningly crafted, intelligent and moving horror story . . . There is an elegance to the storytelling and a command of what evil may mean, that lingers with you long after the end. No surprise that it is in development as a major film.
Library Journal
Arthur Ellis Award winner Pyper returns with the tale of Professor David Ullman, an expert in demonic literature who doesn't believe in the subject of his research. Things change when a mysterious woman invites him to witness an event in Venice and his daughter is promptly kidnapped by the Unnamed. Film interest in this one, as well as Pyper's other best sellers (e.g., The Killing Circle).
Kirkus Reviews
In Pyper's (The Guardians, 2011, etc.) sixth novel, professor David Ullman's marriage has imploded, his closest confidant has terminal cancer, and he's been approached by a mysterious emaciated woman offering an all-expenses-paid first-class trip to Venice. A renowned expert on Milton's Paradise Lost, Ullman is a Columbia University professor. Acting on behalf of a nameless client, the Thin Woman, as Ullman calls her, asks him to observe a "phenomenon," a thing she too has seen, but "there is no name for it I could give." That evening Ullman's wife tells him she's leaving him for another man, and he decides to escape to Venice accompanied by his beloved daughter, Tess, "a smart, bookishly aloof girl," who like him is plagued by melancholy. In Venice, Ullman confronts one of the devil's Legion infecting an Italian professor's body. Ullman panics. Before he can gather his wits, Tess apparently commits suicide. As she leaps to her death, Ullman hears from her, in that same devilish voice, a recitation from Milton's epic. The action returns to New York City, Ullman confused, near-suicidal and haunted by the fear that all he has not believed may be real. "Screwing the lid off [his] imagination," Ullman reads Tess' diary and begins to think his daughter isn't dead but instead in the clutches of the Unnamed, perhaps one of Pandemonium's Stygian Council. Plagued by signs and omens, Ullman treks from North Dakota to Kansas to Florida to Ontario and back to New York. His confidant and friend, Elaine O'Brien, another professor, rides along in support. There are killings, possessions and philosophical speculations, with the pair shadowed by the Pursuer, perhaps an agent of Rome. Pyper is an intelligent writer, steeped in Miltonian symbolism, gifted with language, enough so that fans of the genre will shiver with cold sweat when the Stygian demon wanders out to bark, spit and hiss. This artful literary exploration of evil's manifestation makes for a sophisticated horror tale.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451697421
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 3/11/2014
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 105,229
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Pyper is the award-winning author of six internationally bestselling novels. Lost Girls won the Arthur Ellis Award, was selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and appeared on the New York Times and Times (UK) bestseller lists. The Killing Circle was a New York Times Best Crime Novel of the Year. Three of Pyper’s novels, including The Demonologist, are in active development for feature film.

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Read an Excerpt

The Demonologist


  • Last night I had the dream again. Except it’s not a dream. I know because when it comes for me, I’m still awake.

There’s my desk. The map on the wall. The stuffed animals I don’t play with anymore but don’t want to hurt Dad’s feelings by sticking in the closet. I might be in bed. I might be just standing there, looking for a missing sock. Then I’m gone.

It doesn’t just show me something this time. It takes me from here to THERE.

Standing on the bank of a river of fire. A thousand wasps in my head. Fighting and dying inside my skull, their bodies piling up against the backs of my eyes. Stinging and stinging.

Dad’s voice. Somewhere across the river. Calling my name.

I’ve never heard him sound like that before. He’s so frightened he can’t hide it, even though he tries (he ALWAYS tries).

The dead boy floats by.

Facedown. So I wait for his head to pop up, show the holes where his eyes used to be, say something with his blue lips. One of the terrible things it might make him do. But he just passes like a chunk of wood.

I’ve never been here before, but I know it’s real.

The river is the line between this place and the Other Place. And I’m on the wrong side.

There’s a dark forest behind me but that’s not what it is.

I try to get to where Dad is. My toes touch the river and it sings with pain.

Then there’s arms pulling me back. Dragging me into the trees. They feel like a man’s arms but it’s not a man that sticks its fingers into my mouth. Nails that scratch the back of my throat. Skin that tastes like dirt.

But just before that, before I’m back in my room with my missing sock in my hand, I realize I’ve been calling out to Dad just like he’s been calling out to me. Telling him the same thing the whole time. Not words from my mouth through the air, but from my heart through the earth, so only the two of us could hear it.

FIND ME

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

4 Star

(8)

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(5)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    What occurs when one is confronted with experiential proof of th

    What occurs when one is confronted with experiential proof of that which one “knew” not to exist?  How to respond to a threat that is verifiably real, but cannot be seen, touched or admitted to by the majority of humanity to exist yet has caused damage to those you love?  For David Ullman, professor at Columbia University and world renowned expert on Demonic Literature, specifically Milton’s Paradise Lost, the answer to those questions go from academic and rhetorical to vital and very much to be answered when his 11-year-old daughter whispers to him, as she falls from a ledge, seemingly while in the control of a malevolent spirit, “find me.”
    At the time of his daughter’s “mishap,” Dr. Ullman was on a trip to access a mysterious phenomenon he was commissioned to witness in Venice.  What he saw was the apparent demonic possession of a man with a specific message for Dr. Ullman.  From the moment the book changes from a pedestrian thriller to an intelligent, frightening quest for enlightenment through self-sacrifice, struggle and Grace.  In his search for his daughter “before she becomes mine (the demon),” he must face why he has chosen to become an expert in an area that “requires” faith yet he has no belief in anything beyond the academic interest in the literature he teaches. In answering these questions, he discovers a truth that is painful, fitting, clarifying and helps him to make sense of his world.  The Truth this revelation brings is of more depth than what he has found in his “unknowing” teaching.
    The psychological parallels and theological allegories to be found in this book are legion.  The damage done a child can be life-changing and its mending can cause that pain can reveal strengths unknown.  No one travels alone, nor is a single cord stronger than two wound together.  “Never tire of doing good” the Apostle Paul told the Thessalonians and that admonition is shown to be made of durable cloth in the life Dr. Ullman.
    There are terrifying moments in this book.  I find little to fear in mythology or science fiction and my heart raced at moments.  There are also moments of graphic violence that can leave the reader with unwanted images. Perhaps a readership that reads “scary” novels needs a voice that speaks of things far larger & stronger than demons, Mr. Pyper has certainly given that voice a large microphone.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2013

    Thoroughly enjoyed this novel.  Read it in one sitting, ignoring

    Thoroughly enjoyed this novel.  Read it in one sitting, ignoring sleep, the phone, dinner and other annoyances.  I disagree with the idea that it is on par with "The Historian," a book I couldn't manage to read past the first 60 pages.
    If you like Stephanie Meyers or writing of that mien, don't buy this book.  But if you like Dennis Lehane, John Connolly or Richard Kadrey, this book is for you.
      Enjoy!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This is a strange book, not because of content, but because of t

    This is a strange book, not because of content, but because of the way in which the Author chose to write both the storyline and develop the character of the main protagonist.  The story is told through the words of the main character, and the settings in which the storyline takes places are experienced by the reader through the eyes of this character.  One trait the reader learns early on in the novel this character possesses is that of melancholy, and it is this trait that saturates every word, action and observation the main lead takes. This trait has a habit of making the book move at a much slower pace than I would have expected from a topic such as this, but it also serves the purpose of making the reader take time as they progress through the pages to ensure they don’t miss the meanings of anything covered.

    The European location is very well written, and after having spent some time here, I could picture the twists and turns that were taken in this city.  The Author obviously thought long and hard when writing his book, as to which location would serve as the best setting for this portion of their work; by choosing this one I felt they had done an outstanding job, as it lends itself perfectly to this type of storyline.  It is apparent from some sections of the book too, that the Author did a great deal of research in Milton’s Paradise Lost, and comes up with some very well educated explanations for some of the verses which really added another dimension to this book.

    Although I did enjoy this book, I found after a while the way in which it was written was becoming depressing and, although this may not detract from some readers enjoyment of this novel I felt like it kept me from liking this read more than I did.  I applaud the way in which the Author tackled the topics covered in this novel, but I don’t think I will be reading anymore of their work as their writing style really isn’t for me.

    I would recommend this book to readers who enjoyed The Historian and also lovers of the Supernatural/Paranormal genre.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2013

    I liked reading this book so much, that I bought the Trade Missi

    I liked reading this book so much, that I bought the Trade Mission and Paradise Lost right after I finished it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    If you enjoy reading a dark thriller with supernatural elements,

    If you enjoy reading a dark thriller with supernatural elements, you will like this novel. It’s already being made into a movie, and it’s easy to see why. It has demons, apparitions using images of the dead, literature, and fast paced action. I don’t want to give too many spoilers, but if you are a fan of this genre, you should definitely read this book before seeing the movie. It’s pretty spooky.
    Michael Travis Jasper, Author of the Novel “To Be Chosen”

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 14, 2013

    This is an eerie, unsettling novel about a haunted academic. Lov

    This is an eerie, unsettling novel about a haunted academic. Loved it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    Worth reading

    The first 100 pp thoroughly captivated me. Not sure that I like the ending.....not sure if I understand the ending. LOL It didn't seem to tie events together. Maybe I should try to read Paradise Lost?

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  • Posted April 10, 2013

    it's a good read, but not as good as The Historian. Likable c

    it's a good read, but not as good as The Historian. Likable characters and an interesting supernatural story. that keeps you reading. The author references "Paradise Lost" throughout the novel, but no matter if you haven't read it, the author does a good job of explaining it's relevance. Overall, I do recommend this book. Enjoy!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 29, 2013

    I have read better.  I enjoyed the beginning and the ending...th

    I have read better.  I enjoyed the beginning and the ending...the middle got a little slow.  Not a book I would recommend.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2013

    The Demonologist Andrew Pyper ISBN: 978-1-4516-9741-4 *This is a

    The Demonologist
    Andrew Pyper
    ISBN: 978-1-4516-9741-4
    *This is an ARC copy via goodreads giveaway*
    5 Stars!
    When Professor David Ullman, expert scholar of Milton’s Paradise Lost, receives an offer to travel to Venice, Italy by a mysterious woman it seems to be a much needed break from his personal dilemma. He is expected to witness something, a phenomenon, for a large amount of money. He’s uneasy about the task and unsure how his opinion can help the woman and her employer since he is not a believer, but sees this trip as an escape for his daughter as well as himself. After an unimaginable tragedy in Venice, David finds himself following symbols and clues provided mostly by the book he has studied the most of his life to save his daughter from the demonic entity that has stolen her and is testing him.
    I will say up front that this is one of the best books I have read in a long time. The plot is original and very thought provoking. It’s smart and even though I am of my own opinions in this particular area there were many times that I found myself contemplating ideas. The margins now have notes and pages are marked for me to go back to, which is not uncommon but has been a rare practice of mine lately. The characters are as good as the plot. David is very vivid; a complex character but also very relatable. It was also clear how important the minor characters were to the story. I have nothing negative to say about this novel. This will be reread and I will pass it down to my husband. I cannot recommend this one enough!

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  • Posted February 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    "The mind is its own place, and in it self Can make a heave

    "The mind is its own place, and in it self
    Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven."




    "The Demonologist" is a wonderfully literate, fast-paced, party-psychological/part-supernatural thriller. The plot and pacing have a distinctly cinematic feel. Author Andrew Pyper's smart and polished prose, creates a very visual and emotional narrative. 




    The plot centers around David Ullman, a professor and expert of John Milton's "Paradise Lost", who's drawn into an ever intriguing plot that's both religious horror and literary mystery: imagine if "The Exorcist" and "Da Vinci Code" had a baby. Ullman's daughter is drawn down into the literal depths of a lost paradise, as David travels from New York to Venice, and then across the U.S., finding physical and metaphysical clues and using Milton's famed poem as a guidepost to save his daughter.




    Battling psychological demons tied to a traumatic childhood and a widening gap between with his soon-to-be ex wife, David comes to terms with the more supernatural aspects of the mystery: "Why is demonology more common than reincarnation, more than sacrificial offerings, more than the way we pray or the houses of worship where we congregate or the form the apocalypse will take at the end of time? Because demons exist."




    Ullman uses his mastery of language to craft a beautifully nuanced story and set of characters. Ullman and his daughter are the most three dimensional of the small cast, and the relationship between the two provides the emotional fuel that drives the movement between plot sequences.




    The only thing holding me back from adding a fifth star to the rating is that Pyper didn't take full advantage of his writing skills to further flesh out key character backstories, and build a third dimension on the primary antagonist. He easily could’ve included an additional 150 pages to deepen the mystery and further explore the elements of horror. 




    The advance reader copy I reviewed mentions that the book has already been optioned by a high profile Hollywood production company, and with its’ elements of horror and mystery, the story will translate extremely well to the big screen. It's visual; it moves quickly, the characters are interesting and the deep affecting father-daughter love story is immediately relatable.




    I recommend “The Demonologist” without reservation. It’s a fun, deep, and rewardingly scary read.




    I received "The Demonologist" through Amazon's Vine program.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted April 18, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2013

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