THE DEVIL INSIDE
When William Peter Blatty published The Exorcist in 1971, he started a brand-new subgenre of horror literature that, while waxing and waning in popularity over the years, has never completely disappeared. However, very few have lived up to the evil and terror of the original, until now. Jonathan Janz is a horror star on the rise and in Exorcist Falls (Sinister Grin, $18.99, 9781944044510), which includes the previously published novella prequel, “Exorcist Road,” Janz puts a twenty-first century spin on the demonic possession story and puts his talent for entertaining and frightening using prose on full display. Chicago is being held hostage by the Sweet Sixteen Killer, who targets, violates, and then brutally murders young women of all races and classes, just as they turn sixteen. Jason Crowder is a young Chicago priest who is called to the home of a wealthy parishioner after their son, Casey, begins acting weirdly. He is clearly possessed, but he also knows way too much about the serial murders. In the struggle for Casey’s soul, the demon enters Crowder, and that’s only as the story begins. What follows is a bloody and graphic tale—part demonic possession story, part mystery, and part family drama. An intense first-person narration allows the reader to see Crowder’s struggle with the demon inside him as he tries to maintain moral control of his body while also, at times, allowing the evil to surface if it will help him to catch the human killer. Janz keeps readers turning the pages as they root for Crowder while still being utterly appalled by him. This is the perfect read for people who loved Horns by Joe Hill, another tale in which readers root for a protagonist who is controlled by the devil. With the TV series The Exorcist back for a second season, there may be increased demand for the demonic possession tale.