Looking at the premise of Andrew Pyper’s sixth novel, The Demonologist, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re about to crack open another Da Vinci 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. Though it’s certainly a solid thriller with plenty of page-turning power, The Demonologist is at its heart a painfully human drama about loss, redemption and belief.

A gripping human drama with the pacing of a thriller, Andrew Pyper’s latest novel is a surprisingly weighty page-turner.

David Ullman is a prestigious professor specializing in biblical literature and tales of demons, and one of the world’s foremost experts on John Milton’s epic poem of heaven and hell, Paradise Lost. Though religious literature is his specialty, David doesn’t believe a word of it. His interest is unshakably academic, until a woman visits his office with a strange proposition. Just days later, tragedy strikes, and David finds himself battling dark forces and a ticking clock in a desperate effort to get his daughter Tess back. Along the way everything he thinks he knows about demons will be challenged, and everything he’s sure of in the world will be tested.

With its dark mysteries and race against time, The Demonologist has all the trappings of a supernatural thriller, and has already been optioned for film. The “man forced to save his daughter” plot is nothing new, nor is the “skeptic encounters shattering revelations” plot, but in combining them Pyper finds something special. Though he never loses the taut quality of his tale, he allows his characters to take center stage, giving the book a remarkably intimate feeling that many other thrillers of its kind lack.

Readers of hardcore thrillers with supernatural overtones will find there’s a lot of fun to be had between the covers of The Demonologist, but those in the mood for something a little meatier will be satisfied as well. This is a surprisingly weighty page-turner.

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