CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 31. . . .April 15, 2011.
The Demon Left Behind.
Calgary, AB: Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2011.
246 pp., pbk., $14.95.
Grades 9 and up /Ages 14 and up.
Review by Ronald Hore.
Demons can hear more keenly than humans, and process information more efficiently, so we can listen in on many conversations at once. I listened and sorted, giving up quickly on fashions, football, and the stock market. Then I heard a woman talking about aliens. She was thirty or so, conservatively dressed and carrying a briefcase; Van office worker, I decided, or maybe a teacher. She and her seatmate obviously liked science fiction; they were arguing amicably about the relative charm or nastiness of television aliens: Klingons and Cylons and various others. They seemed to know them all.
And then she said, laughing, "Do you know, I met someone once I halfway thought might be an alien."
"Oh tell me," said her companion. "Did he have funny ears?"
"No, of course not. He was, I donít know, maybe twenty-five, tall and rather skinny. He wore glasses and this big sweater with way-too-long sleeves. He was geeky-looking, actually, but rather cute."
"If you think thatís an alien, donít go anywhere near the university."
The Demon Left Behind is an Urban Fantasy based on the premise that demons are real and wandering among us from time-to-time. Unlike the usual horror stories, they are not evil (most of them anyway), just different, in that they come from the Otherworld, a place where only spirit beings live. They are normally invisible and seldom interfere with humanity, just observe. Melusine is the team leader of one group of researchers studying the twenty-first century. And Melusine is in serious trouble with her superiors as the youngest member of the team she headed on their last visit has gone missing. Now she has been sent back with her squad to find the missing demon, Wye-Wye, and bring him home.
Demons have the ability to impersonate humans Ė ďVisiesĒ they call us because we are visible. She makes contact with an investigative reporter, Paige Ballentine, to aid in her search. Eventually, to convince him to assist them, she reveals herself and her team as demons with a demonstration of their powers. Intrigued, he agrees to help. They go through a series of adventures, including being caught in the middle of a bank robbery, and to compound the confusion, Paige finds himself attracted to Melusine. The attraction becomes mutual.
The quest eventually takes the team to the deserts of the southern USA and contact with a military group of religious fundamentalists. The search is made more urgent by their fear that something has happened to Wye-Wye and that he may not be able to regenerate. His death would be the result.
The Demon Left Behind is a fantasy tale combining mystery and adventure and the problems of inter-species romance meeting up with hard-core beliefs, on both sides. The narrator of the story is the demon team leader Melusine, Mela, for short, who tells the story from her point of view.
The novelís 246 pages are divided into 21 chapters, and there are no illustrations other than that found on the cover. Well-written and paced, The Demon Left Behind will appeal to readers of the genre, some of whom will mark it down as a page-turner.
Ronald Hore, involved with writers groups for several years, retired from the business world in Winnipeg, MB.
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