Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

The Boy Who Could See Demons

The Boy Who Coukd See Demons: Carolyn Jess-Cooke, October 2—10, 2016

My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊

Alex is a 10-year-old boy who claims he can see demons, and the one he has particularly bonded with wants him to kill somebody. It sounds like a Sixth Sense style horror, but it’s not. 

The Boy Who Coukd See Demons is narrated alternately by Alex himself, and his child psychologist Anya. Alex hails from Northern Ireland, raised post-Troubles by a depressive, suicidal mother and in the absence of a criminal and potentially deceased father. Anya, for her part, had a schizophrenic daughter until she killed herself too. There’s some self-harm and abuse from supporting characters who don’t want to be left out of the misery.

Despite the frankly bleak synopsis, Demons is full of heart. It’s about resilience and moving on. Whether Alex really is seeing a demon called Ruen is, in fact, not the major issue. He might be schizophrenic, or delusional, or utterly sane. You’ll change your mind as you go through. What’s for sure is the pain he’s endured and the effect it’s had on him, and what’s up for grabs is what happens next.

Anya disageees with colleagues about Alex’s care. The best treatment is residential; tearing apart the family is controversial. It’s a debate that’s fascinating to watch unfold, the unfashionable view coming from a first-person narrator is bold. 

Jess-Cooke captures two very different voices for her leads. Alex is articulate and funny, somewhat naive and a big fan of onions on toast and a quiet life. Anya is haunted but determined, tenacious and formidable. Two extremely strong characters and both equally authentic in their narrative, compelling to read and easy to invest in.

Demons tells a story that will challenge and move you, and despite the suffering at is roots, it should show that while there is life, no story is over.


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This entry was posted on October 10, 2016 by in 4 star and tagged .

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare