Monday, January 12, 2015

The Boy Who Killed Demons by Dave Zeltserman

Summary (courtesy of Goodreads):  “My name’s Henry Dudlow. I’m fifteen and a half. And I’m cursed. Or damned. Take your pick. The reason? I see demons.”

So begins the latest novel by horror master Dave Zeltserman. The setting is quiet Newton, Massachussetts, where nothing ever happens. Nothing, that is, until two months after Henry Dudlow’s 13th birthday, when his neighbor, Mr. Hanley, suddenly starts to look . . . different. While everyone else sees a balding man with a beer belly, Henry suddenly sees a nasty, bilious, rage-filled demon.

Once Henry catches onto the real Mr. Hanley, he starts to see demons all around him, and his boring, adolescent life is transformed. There’s no more time for friends or sports or the lovely Sally Freeman—instead Henry must work his way through ancient texts and hunt down the demons before they steal any more innocent children. And if hunting demons is hard at any age, it’s borderline impossible when your parents are on your case, and your grades are getting worse, and you can’t tell anyone about your chosen mission.

And here's what I thought:  I really enjoyed this book, and found it to be a nice mix of a believable main character, an interesting take on the whole seeing-demons idea, and a bit of wry humor. Although the main character seemed a bit mature for his age, I reasoned that that was because of what was going on his life.   As you can see from the summary, Henry can see demons, and as a result, is determined not only to educate himself about them, but to hunt them down.   Henry has a clear voice, and by that, I mean that you can completely envision this kid in your head.   He makes observations not only about demons, but about high school life, his parents, girls, etc.  I liked that he thought out a lot of his approaches to the issue of seeing demons.   For example, he wants to educate himself about them, so he starts to learn German so he can translate an antique book about demons.   He's on his own with this whole thing, as no one else around him seems to notice that there are demons living in their midst.

I will admit, though, that this wasn't a super-scary book.    I worried about what was going to happen to Henry, and the people around him, but I never felt really scared.   This is technically a horror book, so maybe it's just because I'm desensitized by Buffy, Constantine, etc etc.    However, overall, it was an enjoyable story and a page-turner.

First lines:  My name's Henry Dudlow.  I'm fifteen and a half, and I'm cursed.  Or damned.  Take your pick.   The reason?  I see demons.


Karen said...

It takes a lot to scare me so I don't that would happen but I do like the sound of Henry.

Karen @ For What It's Worth

Dazzling Mage said...

Okay, this sounds REALLY good. I don't mind that it's not scary either! Great review!

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