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336 pages
Jun 2007

Demon: A Memoir

by Tosca Lee

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In Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee, the central character has a story to tell you. It’s a story that will become your own. He’s not a self-help guru, a novelist, or an inspirational speaker. He’s a demon.

Clay has had a successful career as a book editor, but he has never had a client like this before. When a man named Lucian introduces himself as a demon and asks Clay to write his memoirs, he is more than a little skeptical. But as unnatural events begin to occur around him, he is forced to accept the stranger’s claim as truth. He is soon drawn into Lucian’s story, a tale of creation, rejection, and reconciliation. But can one trust a demon?

Demon: A Memoir begins slowly, presenting the story of Satan’s fall and Earth’s creation almost as a demonic exposé. This story puts a new spin on the biblical account, giving insights into the possible thoughts and motives of fallen angels. Lucian paints them as sympathetic sufferers, unfairly treated and hastily judged.

The story continues through layers of biblical history, but as Clay is carried through the demon’s memories, he finds that Lucian is becoming more unpredictable and hostile. The last half of the book builds ominously as Clay gradually uncovers the demon’s true intention.

The book is fairly well written for a first novel. The author has a tendency to over-explain some concepts of the Christian faith, and most of her similes are painful to read; but, overall, the style is not unpleasant. Lee does avoid, however, many of the clichés found in other novels about angels and demons. The characters are well-rounded and seem human…even those who are not.

The target audience of this book is hard to determine. This is neither an action-packed thriller nor a cozy inspirational story. Instead, it is a subtly disturbing psychological suspense novel driven by the development and eventual decomposition of Clay’s character. It is recommended for those who are willing to be unnerved but who do not mind waiting until near the end of the book for the plot to intensify.

The pacing of the book is maintained well, leaving the reader unsettled and vaguely disturbed as the truth is gradually revealed. Although seemingly straightforward at first, the book delivers some genuine surprises. Ultimately, the ending is left up to the reader to complete, with Clay’s fate undisclosed. The last few chapters show the author’s willingness to follow the story to its inevitable conclusion instead of succumbing to the expectations of the general Christian market. -- Nathan Biberdorf, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

Recently divorced and mired in a meaningless existence, Clay drifts from his drab apartment to his equally lusterless job as an editor for a small Boston press—until the night Lucian finds him and everything changes with the simple words, “I’m going to tell you my story, and you’re going to write it down and publish it.” What begins as a mystery soon spirals into chaotic obsession as Clay struggles to piece together Lucian’s dark tale of love, ambition, and grace—only to discover that the demon’s story has become his own. And then only one thing matters: learning how the story ends.