5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: A Demon Inside (Paperback)
Rick R. Reed's A Demon Inside is an intense, macabre, edge-of-your-seat, don't-read-it-in-the-dark thrill ride. From the prologue to its final chapter, I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to see what would happen next.
The story opens in a dark winter forest in 1845, where the reader witnesses a lone gypsy woman consigning her baby boy to his eternal sleep. The scene is dense with tension, mystery and a sense of foreboding that sets the mood up beautifully for the entire book, as the reader experiences the results of this gypsy's invocation over her son's grave.
Hunter Beaumont is an orphan. At the age of 5, when a child isn't nearly old enough to understand the concept of life, let alone death, Hunter witnesses his parents' murder while camping on a plot of land that has been in the Beaumont family for more than a century, but has experienced a form of post traumatic memory loss that has helped him escape the worst of the trauma. Hunter's family legacy holds a dark secret that has cursed his ancestors for generations. After being raised by his Nana, Hunter learns the true meaning of being orphaned when his beloved grandmother succumbs to cancer, leaving him entirely alone in the world. On her deathbed, she exacts a promise from Hunter to destroy his family's ancestral home, Beaumont House, a place he'd never known existed until that moment.
The Beaumont family legacy has also left Hunter a wealthy young man, but his sheltered upbringing leaves him a man susceptible to the human predators who would prey on his innocence. Dr. Jay Blackstock, the doctor who saw Nana through her waning days, is just such a predator, a scavenger who feeds on Hunter's naiveté. Jay manipulates and insinuates himself into Hunter's life so entirely that his ultimate betrayal of Hunter's trust leaves the young man broken and wary.
After having made a trip to Beaumont House with the family lawyer, during which time Rick R. Reed serves us a mere morsel of what's to come, Hunter decides to go against his Nana's dying wish to destroy the house and instead aspires to make it his refuge, a sanctuary from the social order that is determined to make him its victim. It doesn't take long for the reader to understand that Beaumont House holds strange and terrible secrets, and it didn't take long for me to realize that I'd been drawn into this story feeling as if, like Hunter, I'd become ensnared in a residual web of nightmares reaching out from the past to grab hold of my reality. Just as society had deemed to victimize him, so does Hunter's home seem determined to exact a deadly price.
Michael Burt is a caretaker for a neighboring property who lives in a cottage at the edge of Hunter's estate. He is a ruggedly handsome and affable man who, living with the loneliness of the remote location of these estates, looks to befriend Hunter but Hunter, who has determined that he can't afford to trust anyone, makes it very clear to Michael that friendship is not on his agenda. Michael is also penning a novel based on the local folklore surrounding a mysterious gypsy woman - some called her a witch - who lived in the area near the mid-1800s. As more and more unexplained phenomena occur in Beaumont House, the legend becomes portent, and Hunter has to choose whether to stand firm or cut and run.
There were times during the reading of this novel that I didn't know whether to cheer Hunter for a hero, or curse him for a fool. Perhaps there's a fine line between the two, and the side of the line the protagonist falls on depends on whether he succeeds or fails at his quest. The one thing I do know for certain is that Hunter had me holding my breath and devouring pages in a frenzy to decide whether he would be hero or fool at the end. My final determination is that Hunter was a foolish hero - how's that for not choosing sides? One important lesson Hunter does learn is that detachment and independence aren't synonymous, and sometimes it takes great strength to learn to depend on others.
A Demon Inside is an enthralling read. It kept my nerves stretched taut as a tightrope, suspending me over a chasm of anticipation. Other than a minor continuity error revolving around some journal dates that had me reading backwards for a moment to see if I'd misread, this book kept me spellbound from beginning to end.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 15, 2010 6:17:58 PM PDT
Rick R. Reed says:
Lisa...thank you SO MUCH for the positive and insightful review, not to mention the first one A DEMON INSIDE has gotten. What a great start. I really appreciate the care you've taken with this review.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2010 6:23:10 PM PDT
L. Horan says:
It was absolutely my pleasure, Rick. The review wrote itself because you gave me such great material. :)
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