I haven't read a really creepy book in quite some time and I'm glad I chose this for a Halloween read. It did creep me out. I actually went down to my basement last night to toss clothes in the dryer and felt a little uneasy looking into the dark corners. Thank you Andrew Pyper for that.
This novel is about a man, Professor David Ullman, and his unbreakable bond with his daughter Tess. David is an expert on Milton's Paradise Lost, and has built his career out of his scholarly work, but secretly doesn't believe in God or the devil. His marriage is in shambles, his wife is having an affair, and his daughter seems to inherited what he calls the "melancholy" he himself struggles to keep at bay. A visit from a strange woman inviting him to Venice (all expenses paid) to witness a phenomenon sets David on a journey that will test his beliefs, his courage, and his unshakable belief that he can save his daughter.
What?! David's daughter disappears in Venice (everyone says she commits suicide), but David knows what happened: a demon has her. And he's going to keep her unless David becomes his disciple and shows the world the proof he has locked up in a bank vault: that demons exist, and God is not good. Demonic possession caught on video. Proof positive that "they" are coming. This sends David on a cross-country odyssey to find the clues that will lead him to his final destination and showdown with the demon. And he's under a time constraint: He only has a few days until his daughter is lost to him forever.
This is a short novel, but the uneasiness is pretty big. There are a few scenes that quite frankly creeped me out! Imagine being scared witless, and moving forward anyway. That's pretty much what David does. A father's love for his daughter is supremely powerful. You don't need to have read Paradise Lost or even have an inkling about it, because you get enough of it in the story to follow along. Lots of dead people, demonic possession, and horrible visions keep up the horror factor in this story. I found myself racing towards the end, as David races towards his fate.
I actually really enjoyed this novel. The tension is high, the anticipation builds, and it will make you turn on all the lights. Something completely different from my usual read!
Rating: 7/10 for a well-executed horror novel that makes your heart race and a main character who struggles with his demons--both literally and figuratively in order to save his daughter. Can love conquer supreme evil?
Available in paperback, hardcover, audio, and e-book.