I originally selected this for the Ghosts square, and it would have qualified because the "terror" was at first believed to be a ghost. But as Father Langley informed us sinners, the entity was really a DEMON. And since demon books are probably harder for me to find than ghost ones, I'm exercising my right to change my mind.
Now, the review. No stars. This is a horrible book on so many levels.
The similarities to The Exorcist are so obvious as to be laughable. And I haven't read the Blatty book since the summer of 1974, nor have I ever seen the movie. But the basics are all there: Evil demon torments young girl, priest is called in to exorcise it, lots of icky sexual stuff, good triumphs over evil.
One difference is that the writing in this piece of dreck is awful. Oh, the sentences are okay, and there aren't a whole lot of typos or grammatical errors -- other than that "angle" one posted earlier -- but the prose is so fucking boring it isn't funny. Sometimes when it's boring, it actually is funny, not just a figure of speech. This prose was just boring.
The opening line is something like "Robert was dreading this day." I could go back and find out exactly what the line is, but I don't care enough to go to the trouble. All I know is that "Robert" was in there, and so I thought he was going to be a major character. Nope.
Tricia Kelly is, apparently, maybe, a widow with a 12-year-old daughter, Andrea. Tricia and Andrea have been living with this Robert dude since shortly after Andrea's father, Mike, died. But Tricia doesn't really like/love Robert any more, so she saves up her money for a down payment on a great big old huge six-bedroom Victorian in the Tower Grove Park area of St. Louis, Missouri. I had to look it up; it's a real place and the history given about it is accurate.
So Tricia and Andrea move into this big old house, and Robert seems to be okay with it. He even lets them keep his dog, a St. Bernard named Nana. (Shades of James M. Barrie, but okay.) First night in the house, Tricia sees a ghost. She's not afraid or even very startled.
She decides to look up the history of the house and goes to the court house (or wherever) to get the records and that's where she meets Sean McGrath. I think that's his name. It's Sean McSomething, and he's one of those overpaid civil servants, except that he's also a starving college student, and he's really nice and helpful unlike all the other overpaid civil servants. And he's nice to look at, too, and Tricia has the hots for him right away.
She goes home, masturbates in the bath tub but it's really the ghost, and then the ghost has sex with her in her bed.
The next evening, she meets with Sean who has some old documents on the house. But Andrea calls her because Robert has come over to the house and is threatening her and her new neighbor/boyfriend Joey.
Somewhere along the line, the ghost tried to throw Robert through a window, too.
But anyway, Tricia and Sean get Robert out of the house -- he's drunk, I think, and making all kinds of sexual accusations -- and then some other things happen. I think Sean and Tricia kiss a couple of times.
Sean moves in like right about then, but before he can get settled in, the ghost drops a huge mirror on him. He has bad cuts and they have to call an ambulance and there's glass all over the place. But when he comes back from the hospital, he and Tricia have sex on the couch that had all the glass all over it from the mirror.
And he tells Tricia that what she's been seeing isn't a ghost, it's a demon. And demons are things from hell and only God can take care of them.
And I started rolling my eyes.
Joey's mother comes over with a casserole or something to welcome Tricia to the neighborhood and she has like seven or eight kids and isn't that wonderful, and oh yes, she's Catholic and so is Joey. And so is Sean.
But Tricia isn't, because she was raised Catholic and it was repressive and so she's a feminist and a free spirit and thinks sex is beautiful.
The demon gets worse, and Sean brings in his friend Father Langley. All kinds of Linda Blair things happen, and lots of it is icky sexual stuff, which makes Tricia realize that not all sex is good and beautiful, which makes her a perfect target for Father Langley to tell her that God doesn't like sex outside his particular rules.
So the demon gets stronger and there are millions of mice that have to be killed with gasoline -- but the house never catches on fire and I didn't figure that one out -- and there's a terrible smell in the basement, too.
I think I was at about that point that we left to go out for dinner, which was a good thing, because I could read on the little Kindle and not worry that I might put my fist through the laptop screen or hurl the whole apparatus at the wall.
But that was also about the time that the demon had hurt the dog, and I could not go to dinner without knowing about the dog. If the dog hadn't come out okay, I would have lost it completely. So I read/skimmed the last 10% in the car on the way to dinner -- I wasn't driving -- and at least had the relief of knowing the dog was okay, Tricia acknowledge that she was a sinner, Andrea had her first communion, and there was going to be a wedding as soon as possible so Sean and Tricia could have sanctified sex.
Oh, yeah, and the demon got defeated.
What made me so fucking angry was that there was NOTHING to warn that this was a religious tract. If I had known this book was a horror story with a bunch of icky sex all masquerading as Father Langley's Sunday evening homily, I would never have touched it. I went to the Amazon listing and copied the description to upload to the BookLikes database, and there is NOTHING about religion of any kind.
I'm an unrepentant atheist/pagan. I'm a radical feminist. I don't shove those views down anyone's throat who doesn't want them shoved down their throat. (If you want me to, however, I will gladly oblige.) And I know that there are lots and lots and lots of wonderful people who have devout views of all kinds who similarly keep their faiths to themselves unless they know the discussion is welcome.
Fine. That's wonderful. But this was not wonderful. This was fraud and deception.
(I also thought the graphic sexual detail was kind of wtf when it came to the book's "message," but what do I know?)
On top of all that, it wasn't well written.
Yeah, I know, that's kind of anti-climactic, but it's true. So, so, so much telling; so, so, so little showing. Such atrocious dialogue. Such flat characters. Such blatant lifting from a classic. ARGH!
I skimmed the last 25% of the book. The battle with the demon, the fight between good and evil on the elemental level. Oh, please, spare me.
manner. She never understood the Protestants' objections to statues. With all her complaints about Catholics, she didn't think them stupid enough to believe their statues were gods.
Johns, Samantha. Terror in Tower Grove (p. 183). . Kindle Edition.
Author Johns is an ignoramus.
Protestants don't object to statues. They don't think Catholics believe statues of saints, or even saints themselves, are "gods." What an asshole.
I came back to edit this update because of what happened later on the same page.
Tricia knew that the statues and paintings were made by men to remind us of a person or make us aware of a sentiment that the image represented. She admired the Madonnas painted in the thirteenth century which portrayed the face of Mary so sweetly with its sorrow and wisdom and love for her Son. It's similar to keeping photographs of loved ones, she thought. They are treasures placed reverently in our homes—but we do not mistake them for real people. They are dear to us because they represent a person or place that is real.
Johns, Samantha. Terror in Tower Grove (pp. 183-184). . Kindle Edition.
This is less Tricia the character "thinking" than it is author Johns preaching, and that's what has me so angry about this book.
I don't recall that author Blatty preaching in The Exorcist, not the way Johns is. And I sincerely dislike being preached to without warning.
Enjoy your faith, practice it, believe it, but do not try to insinuate it into my life without my permission. Nothing about the description of the book suggests that it promotes Roman Catholic doctrine. I consider that deceptive. And I do not like or condone deception.
"People who persistently leave others feeling de-energized undermine their own performance by turning co-workers and bosses against them and stifling motivation throughout their social networks."
So far, not much info that surprises me, and not much in the way of specifics for dealing with what the author calls "certified assholes."