The Demonologist (2013) – Andrew Pyper


I was recommended recently to pick up this book, and I was happy to learn he’s yet another Canadian author I had not heard of, but can now add to the list of writers I enjoy.

This Demonologist follows Canadian professor David Ullman, who teaches at New York’s Columbia, and is one of the foremost expert’s on Milton’s Paradise Lost, as well as the demonology associated with it, though he is far from a believer.

He is broken though. His marriage has all but fallen apart in name only, his beloved daughter, Tess, suffers the same malady of melancholy, or depression that he does, and he carries a dark secret in his past that even he isn’t sure he remembers.

When he is approached by the mysterious Thin Lady to observe a phenomena in Venice, he initially balks at the idea, but on an impulse he and Tess fly to Italy, and he finds himself facing more than he ever dreamed existed, and has to deal with what is ruled an apparent suicide when Tess seemingly takes her own life.

But what he finds, he can’t even believe, but his love for his daughter drives him onward, hoping to somehow find her, still alive, no matter the secrets, losses and  horrors he must first confront.

Pyper plunges us into a world where a man is trying to deal with loss, depression, and the confrontation of something we’ve always suspected in our darkest moments, but never believed to be true.


I love how Pyper just has certain events happen, not contesting the reality of them in the perception of the character, they happen because it belongs to reality whether we believe it or not.

The story moves along really quickly, rocketing our character across the continental United States following up on strange stories, hoping that the next one could lead to his daughter, whom he believes is still out there somewhere.

Frequently unnerving, with moments that will get under your skin, this is a different take on the age-old idea of demons and devils walking among us, mixing the rapid fire style of Dan Brown with interpretations of Milton’s iconic text.

I found myself greatly enjoying this ride, so much so that I went out and bought two more of his books to add to my bedside table, that is currently littered with books to read.

It’s a unique take on the horror-thriller, with David being a very sympathetic character, at least for me, as I can very much relate to the idea of his melancholy, as well as the idea of demons walking among us and possession.

Fun and scary, The Demonologist is a great summer read… pick it up, read it with the lights on, and then let me know what you thought!

andrew pyper





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