Thursday, November 17, 2011
Bastard Reaction: Demonized by Naomi Clark
Ethan Banning is back and on the verge of a psychotic break. We first saw him as a side-character in Afterlife, reviewed here, first of the Shoregrave series. The Demonized novella can be considered a loose sequel, as it take place not long after the events of Afterlife and Ethan is now dealing with the aftermath of those events.
Hoping for a return to normalcy and leave the supernatural world behind, Ethan is back in his city doing his usual PI work. He's on a missing person case, when he stumbles into the person's dead body where he soon realizes something supernatural was involved. Together with police detective Anna Radcliffe, he tries to figure out what happened to the victim. Problem is that he's battling a demon possession who's trying to take control of his body and mind. Ethan's sanity is degenerating, filled with thoughts of rape, torture, and murder and it's taking every ounce of his will to keep himself from acting on his psychotic desires.
I found Demonized to be a quite a cool novella, and I just love Ethan Banning as a character. His psychosis aside, he really embodies what I imagine many private eyes to be. He comes off as a man's man hardboiled detective, nosy, rude, and completely politically incorrect. A bit of a sleaze bag too. But I found him quite likable; he has his charm I think.
Demonized suffered from some of the same problems I noticed in Afterlife, in particular that the mystery was predictable. The good thing in Demonized, is that all told the mystery is secondary to what is going inside Ethan Banning's head. His psychosis makes him a very unpredictable character, which I think balances out the predictability of the mystery. Also had a few problems with some character decisions towards the end that I thought were a bit out of character, but they were grounded on despair, impatience, and on the edge of sanity so in certain angles they make better sense.
The book is quite twisted, has plenty of disturbing scenes, some that I'm sure won't sit well with more sensitive readers. Some are just plain gross as we see Ethan feeding the demon with sick images in the hopes that it'll satisfy itself enough to not attack Ethan's mind. I thought it was very interesting ride.
I loved reading Demonized, though I'm not much for reading short stories and novellas. Enjoying a lot being inside a narrator's head who's a sociopath or has psychotic tendencies; characters like Dexter Morgan, John Cleaver, and Jorg Ancrath have become favorites. So glad I can add Ethan Banning to the mix. Looking forward to reading further adventures into his mind.
You can buy Demonized here.
Please visit Naomi Clark's website and blog for more information on this series and others.