5 Stars, DSP Publications, Horror, Reviewed by Lisa, Rick R. Reed

Retro Review: A Demon Inside by Rick R. Reed

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Title: A Demon Inside

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: DSP Publications

Pages/Word Count: 260 Pages

At a Glance: An intense, macabre, edge-of-your-seat, don’t-read-it-in-the-dark thrill ride.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Hunter Beaumont doesn’t understand his grandmother’s deathbed wish: “Destroy Beaumont House.” He’s never even heard of the place. But after his grandmother passes and his first love betrays him, the family house in the Wisconsin woods looks like a tempting refuge. Going against his grandmother’s wishes, Hunter flees to Beaumont House.

But will the house be the sanctuary he had hoped for? Soon after moving in, Hunter realizes he may not be alone. And with whom—or what—he shares the house may plunge him into a nightmare from which he may never escape. Sparks fly when he meets his handsome neighbor, Michael Burt, a caretaker for the estate next door. The man might be his salvation… or he could be the source of Hunter’s terror.

First Edition published by ManLove Romance Press, 2010.

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Back in July of 2010, when I was still a fairly wet-behind-the-ears newbie to blog reviewing, I grabbed a book from an author whose Tales from the Sexual Underground I’d just read two weeks before. This book, as you can probably glean from the titles, was a vastly different reading experience.

When Mr. Reed contacted me to let me know he’d pulled a quote from my review to use as a blurb on the front of the new cover for A Demon Inside’s re-release, I was both shocked and humbled, and I’m also grateful that he saw something worthy in what I look back on now and can see just how much my reviewing style has changed (and improved, I hope) over the course of the last five years.

So, in honor of this 2nd Edition of one of my earlier reviewing experiences for a book that invokes the spirit of some of Stephen King’s finest tales, here’s a rerun of my review:

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Review: Rick R. Reed’s A Demon Inside is an intense, macabre, edge-of-your-seat, don’t-read-it-in-the-dark thrill ride. From the prologue to its final chapter, I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough to see what would happen next.

The story opens in a dark winter forest in 1845, where the reader witnesses a lone gypsy woman consigning her baby boy to his eternal sleep. The scene is dense with tension, mystery and a sense of foreboding that sets the mood up beautifully for the entire book, as the reader experiences the results of this gypsy’s invocation over her son’s grave.

Hunter Beaumont is an orphan. At the age of five, when a child isn’t nearly old enough to understand the concept of life, let alone death, Hunter witnesses his parents’ murder but has experienced a form of post traumatic memory loss that has helped him escape the worst of the trauma. Hunter’s family legacy holds a dark secret that has cursed his ancestors for generations, and Hunter learns the true meaning of being orphaned when his beloved grandmother succumbs to cancer, leaving him entirely alone in the world. On her deathbed, his Nana exacts a promise from Hunter—to destroy his family’s ancestral home, Beaumont House, a place he’d never known existed until that moment.

The Beaumont family legacy has also left Hunter a wealthy young man, but his sheltered upbringing leaves him a man susceptible to the human predators who would prey on his innocence. Dr. Jay Blackstock, the doctor who saw Nana through her waning days, is just such a predator, a scavenger who feeds on Hunter’s naiveté. Jay manipulates and insinuates himself into Hunter’s life so entirely that his ultimate betrayal of Hunter’s trust leaves the young man broken and wary.

After having made a trip to Beaumont House with the family lawyer, during which time Rick R. Reed serves us a mere morsel of what’s to come, Hunter decides to go against his Nana’s dying wish to destroy the house and instead, aspires to make it his refuge, a sanctuary from the social order that is determined to make him its victim. It doesn’t take long for the reader to understand that Beaumont House holds strange and terrible secrets, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that I’d been drawn into this story, feeling as though, like Hunter, I’d become ensnared in a residual web of nightmares reaching out from the past to grab hold of my reality. Just as society had deemed to victimize him, so does Hunter’s home seem determined to exact a deadly price.

Michael Burt is introduced to the story as the caretaker for a neighboring property, living in a cottage at the edge of Hunter’s estate. Michael is a ruggedly handsome and affable man who, living with the loneliness of the remote location of these estates, looks to befriend Hunter, but Hunter, who has determined that he can’t afford to trust anyone, makes it clear to Michael that friendship is not on his agenda. Michael, as fate would have it, is also penning a novel based on the local folklore surrounding a mysterious gypsy woman – some called her a witch – who lived in the area near the mid-1800s. As more and more unexplained phenomena occur in Beaumont House, legend becomes portent, and Hunter has to choose whether to stand firm, or cut and run.

There were times during the reading of this novel that I didn’t know whether to cheer Hunter for a hero, or curse him for a fool. Perhaps there’s a fine line between the two, and the side of the line the protagonist falls on depends on whether he succeeds or fails at his quest. The one thing I do know for certain is that Hunter had me holding my breath and devouring pages in a frenzy to decide whether he would be hero or fool at the end. My final determination is that Hunter was a foolish hero – how’s that for not choosing sides? One important lesson Hunter does learn is that detachment and independence aren’t synonymous, and sometimes it takes great strength to learn to depend on others.

A Demon Inside is an enthralling read that kept my nerves stretched taut as a tightrope, leaving me spellbound from beginning to end.

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You can buy A Demon Inside here:

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