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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Resounding Triumph
One need not read an interview with Blatty to recognize this novel as the product of years of a well articulated, self-examined life. If the cliché rings true, and good writers begin with writing what they know, then Bill Blatty can be said to have written about the things he knows perhaps better than anyone: the hopeful grief of the faithful, the Problem of Evil...
Published on March 30, 2010 by popinjay

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mysteries
I've had William Peter Blatty's novel, Dimiter, sitting around for more than a year, and I had put off reading it because I read that the plot was convoluted, and wanted to save it for a time when I could concentrate. A recent multi-day power outage removed all distractions, so I was able to give this novel my undivided attention over two days. The plot is complicated,...
Published on July 22, 2011 by Stephen T. Hopkins


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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Resounding Triumph, March 30, 2010
By 
popinjay (Brentwood, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dimiter (Hardcover)
One need not read an interview with Blatty to recognize this novel as the product of years of a well articulated, self-examined life. If the cliché rings true, and good writers begin with writing what they know, then Bill Blatty can be said to have written about the things he knows perhaps better than anyone: the hopeful grief of the faithful, the Problem of Evil balanced by what he calls the "Mystery of Goodness," and the power of that goodness when channeled by those ready to let it work within them.

The editorial and reviewer plot synopses cannot do justice to the tightly woven suspense of this novel, due to elemental spirituality that lies beyond the gripping plot and elevates the work to something more than a "thriller." As is typical of Blatty, his characters are eccentric, complicated, at times funny, and likeable. For the long-time Blatty fan, this novel will provide some rewarding moments of the off-beat humor within his previous work, but this book is noticeably different also.

No one else writes quite like this author. This has been evident at least since The Exorcist, and in Dimiter, we see a unique and gifted author at his most refined. His sentences are at once long, rhythmic, and beautifully descriptive. We are allowed to experience not only the artful presentation of bad things that happen to good people and the ensuing, surmounting dread, but also a good long look at an inexplicable goodness that causes evil to scream its throat raw and in vain.

And the beautiful thing is - the mystery retains its mystery.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Mystery Will Keep You Guessing Until the Final Pages, March 20, 2010
This review is from: Dimiter (Hardcover)
Length:: 1:40 Mins

During 1973, a mysterious figure is taken captive in the totalitarian state of Albania and interrogated by authorities using extreme methods of torture. Impervious to pain and unwilling to speak about his true identity, the prisoner confounds his captors until his remarkable escape. One year later, a series of strange occurrences that include the unexplainable healing of a boy with an incurable condition and the discovery of a body in Christ's tomb have gained the attention of local authorities and intelligence officials. In their struggle to understand this enigmatic case, they discover a plot that is utterly confounding in its complexity. And at the center of it there is a man without an identity, a man who is very dangerous. He is called Dimiter, the Agent of Hell. Dimiter, a fascinating and well-crafted suspense novel, is the newest release by William Peter Blatty, the author of the horror classic The Exorcist. Its mystery has a depth that will captivate readers until its final pages. With imagination and eloquence, William Peter Blatty writes Dimiter, a story that is sure to have mystery-lovers and suspense enthusiasts enthralled for some time to come.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars religious suspense, March 22, 2010
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This review is from: Dimiter (Hardcover)
Ah, it is so good to have such a wonderfully well written, suspenseful book from William Blatty again! His writing is such a joy to read and savor. The story is mysterious,and complex,with deeply mesmerizing detailed descriptions. This is a book than can be read over and over, each time finding new details and wonders of language.
My only complaint (spoiler alert) is how Jean, his wife, got his last letter which he never intended to send. We know Merel sent it, but how did he know where to find Jean???? I may well be missing something here, and if someone can enlighten me, I would be delighted to find out. This is the only flaw, to me, in an otherwise superb book.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exciting story line, March 18, 2010
This review is from: Dimiter (Hardcover)
In 1973 in Albania, security chief Colonel Vlora the "Interrogator" works to break a prisoner suspected of being an American agent. He and his experts torture the Prisoner in ways the Spanish Inquisition would never of imagined, but the source of their assault never even screams once; instead he takes everything slammed at him in total silence. Even more shocking to his hosts, "the Prisoner" does the impossible; he escapes and completes his mission.

At Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, a series of unexplained deaths shake up the staff. Christian Arab police detective Peter Meral leads the investigation that seems to be going nowhere. Whereas Americans and Israelis struggle with the happenings, none yet know that the Albanian Prisoner, Paul Dimiter is in the Holy City doing what he does best causing hell.

This is not an easy read as the exciting story line seems incoherent when suddenly like a magician William Peter Blatty brilliantly brings it together in a thrilling psychological suspense thriller. Dimiter is an eerie individual who has figuratively lost his soul (not in a horror novel - Exorcist sense) but seeks some form of redemption. Readers will relish the shocking truths as to who he is and why Albania (ask Ho Chi Minh about him) and then Jerusalem.

Harriet Klausner
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mysteries, July 22, 2011
By 
This review is from: Dimiter (Hardcover)
I've had William Peter Blatty's novel, Dimiter, sitting around for more than a year, and I had put off reading it because I read that the plot was convoluted, and wanted to save it for a time when I could concentrate. A recent multi-day power outage removed all distractions, so I was able to give this novel my undivided attention over two days. The plot is complicated, more than convoluted, and the reward for engaged readers is an exploration into the world of mysteries, past and present, and cogent reflection on the mysteries of goodness and sacrifice. This is an unusual novel, finely written, and will be appreciated most by those readers with the patience and diligence to pay close attention.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Message that Hides in the Text, May 29, 2010
This review is from: Dimiter (Hardcover)
This is one of the most intelligent books I've ever read. Blatty creates some of the most memorable characters ever, and you, the reader, will feel as if you personally know them. The dialog is the greatest I've ever read too. Dimiter begins with a mysterious prisoner being tortured brutally for about a week under the mandate of a Colonel. The prisoner, however, does not utter a word while being held captive. Subsequently, the prisoner escapes and the Colonel learns who this sinister prisoner is.

There are enigmatic letters and statements interspersed throughout the book. When you first read Dimiter, it will seem really haphazard. This is why Dimiter must be read twice in order to pick up on the author's subtlety and spiritual messages imbued in the novel. (I actually skimmed through the book and read the parts that flummoxed me at first. When I read it the second time, however, I was awed by Blatty's craft as a writer.)

The entire story at first seems to be written in fragments, but Blatty amazingly weaves all of the baffling concepts together in one stunning conclusion. The spiritual message that is inextricably part of Dimiter is a message that will possibly resonate with you. After I finished reading this book, it gave me a new look at life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Masterpiece, August 25, 2010
This review is from: Dimiter (Hardcover)
A deeply spiritual novel of suspense or a novel of suspense that is deeply spiritual? This is a wonderfully written, insightful, heartfelt work of genius that was universally praised by professional reviewers. While moving and exciting, it also shows a lot of humor. The characters are realistic, likeable, and well developed. No one could ask for more from a novel than to feel uplifted and nourished upon finishing it. This beautiful book will do that and much more.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You're Going to Want to Read This Twice, June 4, 2010
By 
Bookreporter (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dimiter (Hardcover)
In 1973, in a dark, damp and desolate concrete room in the basement of an Albanian prison --- a place where "grace and hope had never touched" and "even the dust in the air was heard shrieking" --- a man is interrogated and brutally tortured. After days of enduring sadistic pain, including having his "nails wrenched from their sockets," the man called the Prisoner remains silent, refusing even to identify himself. As the horror and interrogation intensify, so does the mystery. Is the Prisoner an assassin? A spy? A murderer? A priest? How can he be forced to talk?

It is only after the Prisoner's bloody and daring escape that Colonel Vlora, the investigator in charge of the notorious Albanian prison, discovers the identity of the man as Dimiter, an American "agent from hell." But what is his mission? Why has he come to the godless state of Albania?

After Dimiter flees prison, the scene shifts to war-torn Jerusalem in 1974. At Hadassah Hospital, neurologist Moses Mayo awakens in the middle of the night with a sense of dread and tries to recall a troubling dream. Mayo is haunted by recent events at the hospital: a bloody and brutal murder in the psychiatric ward; the death of a stroke patient who, before his passing, talked to apparitions who bore "witness"; reports of strange visitors by Samia, a brassy nurse; and inexplicable miraculous cures.

Also in Jerusalem, Police Detective Peter Meral, an Arab Christian and Dr. Mayo's longtime friend, is busy at work. Meral, a grief-stricken man who has lost his wife and only child, "seems to ache at the slightest parting." He is immersed in the investigations of a fiery explosion, a troubling CIA cover-up, a criminal found with a broken neck and a body discovered at the Tomb of Christ.

As the death count rises, the investigation and the mystery persist. Are the deaths related? If so, how? More so, why? Who is behind the murders --- and the miracles? Who will be the next to die?

DIMITER --- the man and the book --- is enigmatic, compelling and beguiling. Part mystery and part spiritual thriller, William Peter Blatty's novel is rich in detail and written with wisdom and grace. Through compelling narration, vivid scenes, revealing dialogue, police transcripts, interrogations, newspaper articles and epistles, Blatty has created an amazing tale. At the moment of epiphany, when the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, it is stunning how the characters, events and details relate.

Yet one detail at the story's beginning confounded me. I could not understand how the two-year-old brindle-eyed boy remained the same age a year later. Regardless of that niggling bit, DIMITER is a haunting novel that should be read twice --- once for the captivating and faith-affirming story, and a second time to savor the author's elegant writing and masterful craft.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Agents of Heaven and Hell, December 3, 2010
This review is from: Dimiter (Hardcover)
Anyone familiar with William Peter Blatty as the author of The Exorcist might be surprised to discover that Dimiter (published as The Redemption in the UK) is a spy thriller. While there is no horror in the novel, at least not in the conventional genre sense, Dimiter nevertheless deals with questions of good and evil and has some supernatural elements with religious and theological undertones.

If Dimiter proves difficult to describe in terms of where it fits into the thriller or the horror genres, its illusiveness is somewhat appropriate for the subject. Opening in Albania in 1973, the first section of the novel deals with the capture by police of a man suspected of international espionage, specifically in regards to an incident related to the attempted assassination of the Albanian Chief of Security. The agent however proves to be no ordinary man, his identity somewhat difficult to pin down, his constitution seemingly immune to the horrifying tortures he is subjected to by the Albanian police. By the time that the chief Interrogator realises what he is dealing with, the man is gone, only to turn up soon after in a new guise in Jerusalem, on a mysterious mission of his own.

There's a lot of ambiguity in the novelregarding such matters, Dimiter at once appearing to be an "agent from Hell" and someone with a mysterious holy mission, an agent of international espionage and a man of religion. Blatty considers these contradictions by viewing them from a number of perspectives, from a Jerusalem detective investigating a suspicious car accident in the city, from a doctor at the hospital where strange events have been occurring, and he uses a variety of writing techniques, including letters, reports and Q&As of interrogations. After the relatively straightforward and conventionally thrilling Albanian incident however, the novel seems to lose its focus, weaving instead a variety of impressions and unusual events that eventually start to suggest something altogether more sinister and even supernatural.

The spy thriller then proves to be a perfect place to consider the ambiguous question of what determines whether actions are good or evil. It's not just Dimiter whose nature, actions and abilities prove difficult to pin down, but it applies equally to hospital staff, Embassy staff, those of religious orders and it even reaches up to the Vatican itself. There's certainly a Graham Greene quality to this (in a nice acknowledgement, a British agent is named Scobie, perhaps Greene's most religiously conflicted character from The Heart of the Matter), but the novel definitely operates in an area the Blatty has made his own. So while conclusion seems to wrap things up a little neatly with letters of explanation being left around conveniently, some ambiguities and mysteries still remain intriguingly and appropriately unanswered.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The second time around, May 19, 2011
This review is from: Dimiter (Mass Market Paperback)
I read this book with much anticipation. I expected mystery and intrigue; but when the last page arrived I thought to myself What happened? I was confused about the characters and their place. Sat down and read it again, this time more slowly and being aware of little clues that I had obviously slid over in the first reading. What a difference that made. Thre are no spare words in this book. Everything written will show up again some place later in the story. Meral was my favorite character with such clarity and depth of thought. It was really worth the second read.
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Dimiter
Dimiter by William Peter Blatty (Hardcover - March 16, 2010)
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