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downloadReviewed by Jessa Larsen

David Ullman is a literature professor at Columbia University and is among the world’s leading authorities on demonic literature, with his specialty being Paradise Lost, an epic poem about Satan and his court of fallen angels. Not that David believes any of it. Not God, not Satan. He simply studies it as a work of intriguing art. No more, no less. So when a mysterious woman arrives at his office and invites him to witness a phenomenon, he promptly turns her down. The woman is not to be deterred, however, and leaves a plane ticket, an address, and one last bit of advice… or is it a warning? Her employer sent her specifically to extend this invitation to David and he is not often disappointed.

As if his day couldn’t get any stranger, David’s wife greets him at home with the simple statement that she is leaving him. With this news, David impulsively takes the mysterious woman from earlier in the day up on her invitation and heads to Venice with his 12-year-old daughter, Tess. He has recently noticed that Tess has become increasingly more withdrawn and melancholy and figures, well, why not? It might cheer the both of them up and distract them from their current stressful situation.

Unfortunately, what happens in Venice isn’t what the pair was hoping for. Not even close. It starts with a visit to the address David received. He arrives to witness a man tied to a chair and muttering the craziest things. Could this be a man possessed or has he just gone clinically insane? Before David can decide, the man begins to speak in the voice of David’s dead father, repeating, word for word, the last words David ever heard him speak.

David rushes back to the hotel, clearly distraught, and discovers Tess perched on the edge of the hotel’s roof. Before he can get to her, she falls in the waters of the Grand Canal below and extends a final plea: “Find me”. Now David must rely on his expert knowledge of Paradise Lost, solve the devil’s riddles, and hope with all his heart and soul that it’s not too late to get his daughter back.

My first instinct was to dislike The Demonologist for its slow, meandering ways. But I fought against my desire to treat this as an action packed horror film and began to really enjoy the thoughtfulness that Pyper put into the work. I found myself recalling the mythologies of Lucifer and his demon apostles as I tried to solve the riddles presented to the character. It’s definitely a mind boggler and you get sucked into the story pretty good. I finished the book still thinking and a little unsure, but satisfied all the same. I will definitely be checking into more works by this author.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Jessa lives in Utah with her husband, 2 sons, 2 dogs and a cat called Number One Boots Kitten. She is a full time mom and enjoys writing short stories in her spare time. She also likes watching anime, reading books, and playing video games.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon & Schuster. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.