What do you get when you mix elements of fear, mystery, suspense, foreshadowing and a perfectly gripping plot? Give up? Well… if all of these elements are woven together in a seamless piece of writing, you will end up with one fantastic horror story! This is exactly the case with Erik Henry Vick’s novel, Demon King. This is one intense book you will just not be able to put down as it will captivate, engross and horrify you from start to finish.
The story begins in 1979 in a tiny town by the name of Oneka Falls. Everything there may look peaceful and serene, but it is anything but normal. After an 11-year old boy by the name of Toby Burton virtually disappears into thin air, his friend Benny begins to snoop around. His hope is to find his friend, or at the very least discover what happened to him. This quest takes Benny down the exact same path as his friend and he narrowly escapes a similar fate. It also sets forth a series of horrific events which sees a variety of deaths and disappearing children as Oneka Falls is brought to its knees by a sadistic and perverse demon. Fast forward 28 years later to the year 2007 and Oneka Falls exists as a town which is entirely overrun by demons. How did this come to be? What actually took place, and what happened to all those people from 1997? The answers to these questions are methodically and brutally revealed as the future confronts the past and an epic battle ensues!
The chronological back and forth nature between 1979 and 2007 had the potential to confuse the reader. However, in this novel that simply did not happen. The two eras are tied together very nicely and do an excellent job of adding tenison and an almost unbearable suspense to the plot. It is one of the reasons that it is so hard to stop reading and actually put this book down! Also, the theme of good versus evil is supported by some very vivid and gruesome scenes. These are not done simply for the sake of adding gore and superficiality to the novel. They are an integral part of the plot as they reveal the intense level of depravity which exists. As the plot unfolds the reader feels they have become part of the story and will acutely feel the psychological turmoil and suffering which the characters must endure.
It is very difficult for an author to have the readers empathize with characters to such an intense degree. For this to happen, they have to be fully developed and believable characters who the reader can identify with. Once again, Eric Vick does a masterful job in this regard. This is no easy feat as there are numerous characters in this story who are living in two different and distinct time periods. Nevertheless, almost all of them are developed to such an extent that the reader easily becomes engaged in their dilemmas. For instance, the presentation of Toby and Benny 28 years later not only reveals significant development, but a very interesting and intriguing twist as well. Further, Owen can easily be identified as one of the most vile and despicable characters I have encountered in quite some time. To be able to draw out such emotions from the reader in regards to his characters is a gift which this author holds.
If you are a fan of perfectly executed horror, then I would highly recommend this book! Be forewarned however as there are some particularly gruesome and disturbing scenes. For this reason, and due to some sexual content, it is recommended for adult readers and up.
5 out of 5 Demonic Stars for this one!