Reviewed by: Hoppergrass
Approximate word count: 115-120,000 words
Kindle US: YES UK: YES Nook: YES Smashwords: YES Paper: NO
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Glen Bullion currently resides in Maryland, where he devotes his time to reading, writing, gaming, three cats, and a wife, though not necessarily in that order. His first novel, Demonspawn, was released in 2010, and his second, Dead Living, has recently been made available and is busily tallying positive reviews over at Amazon.com. For more information, visit his website.
Alex Teague is a cheerfully unremarkable young man with a pleasant but unremarkable life: a loving family, an average job, and a circle of close friends that includes the stunning but seemingly unattainable Cindy, his confidante since childhood. All is perfectly, predictably normal… until an unexpected exorcism leads to the startling revelation that he is, in fact, half demon. Will Alex be able to adjust to the host of supernatural powers that such a pedigree entails in time to avert an impending catastrophe, or will his battle with this new identity cost him his old life?
Author Greg Bullion paints a convincing portrait of the paranormal Everyman; Alex is basically Peter Parker, if Uncle Ben had instead remarked that with great power comes people trying to kill you. The characters are drawn with obvious affection, and their overwhelming likability kept me reading through segments that I would otherwise have found tedious – Alex is, after all, still raw and inexperienced, and has a young man’s tendency to pine and dwell and overlook the obvious. The earlier events are fraught and tense, and there is a nice focus on mood and setting, before the novel takes off for its amped up second act, and a lot of the ambience is set aside in favor of action. While both halves are well done, I was left with the distinct impression that I was reading two separate novels, held together with tenuous strands of ghostly glue. There are more than enough good ideas in here to warrant a sequel, so I question the need to have them all in one book.
While there is fairly extensive use of profanity and frequent mild sexuality, it never feels crass or vulgar, and adds a touch of authenticity to the protagonist’s mental monologues. The characters are in their early twenties, and they speak and act accordingly. For this reason, combined with some brief but graphic demonic encounters, I would caution parents against purchasing this book for those on the younger end of the Young Adult spectrum.
A few simple typos are sprinkled throughout, but the author’s website informs me that he’s in the midst of a secondary edit that should eliminate the bulk of these.
Rating: **** Four stars