Tag Archives: Andrew Pyper

Snapshot: May 26, 2015

Time: 8:08 p.m.

Feeling: Pretty good – yay! This early morning walking has really been making a difference. I love it, and I feel so energized for much of the day. Mind you, I end up going to bed earlier than normal, but that’s a good thing, since it’s something I’ve been trying to accomplish for a while now.

Eating: I’ve got spinach and ricotta sausages in the oven. Will pair them with stir fried cabbage and stir fried spinach.

Drinking: Water! Loving my water. But also looking forward to my nightly glass of Malbec.

Reading: Lots of things! I’ve been peckishly bookish all day—ever have that, when you find yourself jumping from book to book? So I’ve basically read a little bit of everything I’ve got going.

the damned

Sped through the first part of Andrew Pyper’s The Damned this afternoon. Very readable, although things kind of slowed down a bit towards the end of part I. I’ll probably finish this one fairly quickly, as long as it picks up speed again.


I’m also reading Disclaimer, by Renée Knight, for a book tour scheduled for next week. The story is compelling. The writing? Not so much. Still quite readable though.

Listening: I finished Jurassic Park in audio last week, so I moved on to Lost World this week. Unfortunately, I fell asleep while listening to it the other night, so a whole lot of rewinding is in order. My falling asleep while listening to it shouldn’t be held against it—I was just really, really tired that night (all that walking, right?) So far, though, it’s as interesting as I remembered.

Writing: Well, I’ve been thinking about it, so that counts, right?

Working: Finished off an indexing deadline last night, and have four articles to write this week and next, but otherwise the deadlines are light. Which is great because it gives me time to work on the book marketing stuff for Booktrope. And I still have to create a website and Twitter account for that particular hat.

Exercise: I’ve now gone for my early morning walk five days in a row! I’m really really excited and pleased and happy about this new routine. The best part is, I’m even sneaking in some running!

I don’t love running enough to wake up in the morning eager to go for a run, but walking’s a totally different thing. So what I’ve been doing is running just a little bit when I start my walk—and when I say a little, I mean a little! Like, maybe two minutes! Okay, I might be up to three minutes by now. What I’m doing is going just a tiny bit further every day. Building up my stamina bit by bit. Eventually I’d love to be running for half of my walking hour, but I’m quite willing to take it slow.

Reading Journal: Working Stiff, The Damned

Since I don’t write a whole lot of reviews (although I’m hoping to change that—but the idea is still a speck in my mind’s eye, so to speak), I thought I’d start a weekly “Reading Journal” post. More for myself, really, to help me keep track of my thoughts about my reading.

Because, you know, Bad Book Memory. Oh, so bad. I’m surprised sometimes I remember what I read last week.

Anyway …

Working Stiff

I just finished Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell and it was so good. I listened to it in audio, which was a great choice; narrator Tanya Eby was a good fit to the material. As you might expect, there were some (well, okay, lots of) gory bits but I was so enthralled with this behind-the-scenes look at a medical examiner’s life, I winced but easily moved on.

Near the end, Melinek recounts her time working in the aftermath of September 11, and these scenes stole my heart. She was right there—cataloguing the bones and fragments of bones, because for the most part that was all there was to catalogue. If you’ve been thinking about reading this one, you should definitely take the plunge.

What’s next? I have three books that I need to get to. Three scary novels by Canadian authors! I missed the Dark Side Tour—partly because I had a heck of a time finding the website for the tour and then when I did, I could have sworn I added it to Todoist but I can’t find the link now and Google’s no help. My memory tells me my last chance to meet Andrew Pyper, Rob Pobi and Nick Cutter here in Toronto was this past weekend, and I wasn’t able to make it (and I really really wanted to “do” an author event! *wails*). But it’s okay, because I have their books to read still. That’s what really counts, right?

I’m probably most excited about Andrew Pyper’s The Damned, because I had quite enjoyed his previous book, The Demonologist (my review here– yes, I actually wrote a review of it!). The synopsis for The Damned:

Most people who have a near-death experience come back alone…

After he survived a fire that claimed the life of his twin sister, Ashleigh, Danny Orchard wrote a bestselling memoir about going to Heaven and back. But despite the resulting fame and fortune, he’s never been able to enjoy his second chance at life.

Ash won’t let him.

In life, Danny’s charming and magnetic twin had been a budding psychopath who privately terrorized her family—and death hasn’t changed her wicked ways. Ash has haunted Danny for twenty years and now, just when he’s met the love of his life and has a chance at real happiness, she wants more than ever to punish him for being alive—so she sets her sights on Danny’s new wife and stepson.

Danny knows what Ash really wants is him, and he’s prepared to sacrifice himself in order to save the ones he loves. But to do this, he’ll have to meet his sister where she now resides—and hope that this time, he can keep her there forever.

Sounds good, right? And I’ve read a few reviews that say it’s a good read. So The Damned is definitely up next. Along with Good Omens and A Dark and Twisted Tide, both of which I’ve started.

What have you been reading recently?

Review: The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper

The DemonologistThe Demonologist, by Andrew Pyper, ended up on my to-read list a few months back because of the book ads. Every time I logged onto Goodreads, there would be that red ad. And that extremely interesting title.

So I guess book ads do work. At least, they work on me!

Although it does help if you have an eye-catching title.

I’ve seen The Demonologist compared to The Da Vinci Code, but I wouldn’t make that comparison. And no, not because I didn’t like The Da Vinci Code, because I did – I think Dan Brown’s a great storyteller, and The Da Vinci Code was a book that kept me turning the pages.

But I wouldn’t put Brown down as having a particularly good writing style; his gift lies in his storytelling, and not in the prose he uses.

Pyper’s prose is fuller, more capable; he’s very good at building up an eerie, melancholy atmosphere. And while the book ultimately does becoming more of a page turner, Pyper does it without sacrificing that atmosphere. I’ve seen other people compare The Demonologist to The Historian, which I haven’t read, but that does sound like a more likely comparison.

The Demonologist starts slowly, taking about three or four chapters before it really gets going. I usually decide whether to keep reading a book by the first few chapters at the most, but it took me a lot longer to know exactly how I felt about this one.

By the middle of the book, though, I was hooked.

So, what’s The Demonologist about?

David Ullman is an English professor, and a leading authority on demonic literature, with a specialty in Milton’s Paradise Lost. A mysterious woman shows up at his office and offers him an all-expenses paid trip to Venice in order to witness a “phenomenon”. The trip is funded by her client; she refuses to disclose anything more.

With his marriage falling apart, Ullman ends up accepting the tickets; he decides to take Tess, his twelve-year-old daughter, with him. He and Tess are very close, and the trip seems like just the thing to help them both cope with the dissolution of Ullman’s marriage.

In Venice, he follows the instructions he’s been given and ends up witnessing the rantings of a man who appears to be possessed. Disturbed by the episode, he arrives back at his hotel, only to find his daughter missing. A frantic search leads him to the hotel’s rooftop; Tess stands along the edge, poised to jump to her death. She too, appears to be possessed, but she manages to say to him, “Find me” as she jumps.

And from the last paragraph of the jacket copy:

What follows is an unimaginable journey for David Ullman from skeptic to true believer. In a terrifying quest guided by symbols and riddles from the pages of Paradise Lost, David must track the demon that has captured his daughter and discover its name. If he fails, he will lose Tess forever

Did I find The Demonologist scary? It was creepy up until about three-quarters of the book; I know at one point I was very glad I was reading it while everyone was home, doing their own thing all around me. But for some reason as I neared the ending, I wasn’t finding it nearly as creepy anymore. I’m not too certain why; it might have been because the demon started seeming more human. Still incredibly evil, but with quite human motivations, and for me it was the supernatural feel that fueled the creepiness.

If I had to pick the creepiest section, I’d have to say the scene with the Reyes sisters. I definitely wouldn’t want to read that scene late at night with no-one else around.

There were a lot of things I liked about The Demonologist. I liked O’Brien, Ullman’s friend, and Ullman’s relationship with her. There was also Ullman’s relationship with his daughter Tess – a very sweet relationship that was also believable. The Paradise Lost bits were interesting – and I’ve never read Paradise Lost, so if you haven’t, don’t let that put you off the book. You definitely don’t have to have read Paradise Lost to enjoy it.

Where the book failed to work for me was in the ending. All through the book, Ullman demonstrates that he’s definitely changed from being a skeptic to being a true believer – but the belief he demonstrates is a belief in the demonic. Who wouldn’t, with all those horrific things happening to him? But the ending is supposed to show us he’s become a believer in God, too, a believer in the goodness that opposes evil, and this transition just didn’t feel credible to me. The whole ending felt rushed, and there were so many unanswered questions. I would have liked to have seen the ending stretched out, encompass at least another chapter, if not more.

Overall, though, I did enjoy The Demonologist, and would recommend it if you’re looking for a more literary kind of horror story.