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The Boy Who Could See Demons [Hardcover]

Carolyn Jess-Cooke
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

13 Aug 2013
Bestselling author Carolyn Jess-Cooke has written a brilliant novel of suspense that delves into the recesses of the human mind and soul—perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn and Lisa Unger. The Boy Who Could See Demons follows a child psychologist who comes up against a career-defining case—one that threatens to unravel her own painful past and jeopardizes the life of a boy who can see the impossible.
Dr. Anya Molokova, a child psychiatrist, is called in to work at MacNeice House, an adolescent mental health treatment center. There she is told to observe and assess Alex Connolly, a keenly intelligent, sensitive ten-year-old coping with his mother’s latest suicide attempt. Alex is in need of serious counseling: He has been harming himself and others, often during blackouts. At the root of his destructive behavior, Alex claims, is his imaginary “friend” Ruen, a cunning demon who urges Alex to bend to his often violent will.
But Anya has seen this kind of behavior before—with her own daughter, Poppy, who suffered from early-onset schizophrenia. Determined to help Alex out of his darkness, Anya begins to treat the child. But soon strange and alarming coincidences compel Anya to wonder: Is Alex’s condition a cruel trick of the mind? Or is Ruen not so make-believe after all? The reality, it turns out, is more terrifying than anything she has ever encountered.
A rich and deeply moving page-turner, The Boy Who Could See Demons sets out to challenge the imagination and capture the way life takes unexpected turns. In the best storytelling tradition, it leaves the reader changed.

Praise for The Boy Who Could See Demons
“A well written, engaging read filled with compassion for those suffering the whims of an untamed mental illness . . . A poignant read, The Boy Who Could See Demons is a suspenseful novel that probes the issues surrounding the devastating effects of mental illness. The author delves into the psychological issues of schizophrenia and mental disorders with such dexterity it leaves the reader stirred and affected, questioning throughout the story what is real and what is not. . . . As the conclusion draws near, the story takes unexpected turns, making it even more dramatic and compelling.”New York Journal of Books
“Impressive . . . Jess-Cooke is every bit as skillful in her vivid portrayals of unworldly beings . . . as in illustrating the dreadful toll taken by mental illness.”Booklist
“A searing novel of suspense.”Publishers Weekly

“A psychologically complex thriller, told with compassion in a marvelously suspenseful narrative that keeps you engaged from the first page to the last . . . This book has it all: a dark and dangerous setting, characters full of depth, rich emotions, and a clever plot. You’ll fall in love with Alex—and his demons.”—Chevy Stevens, author of Still Missing
“Top-notch psychological suspense . . . Beware what you think you know. It might be only the demons talking.”—Lisa Gardner, author of Touch & Go
“Brilliant! Rich with fully formed characters, this heart-gripping novel will keep you riveted from first page to last.”—Jeffery Deaver, author of XO
“Utterly captivating, this is a book I adored and savored from the first to the very last magical page.”—Tess Gerritsen, author of Ice Cold

Product details

  • Hardcover: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (13 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345536533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345536532
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16.1 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,363,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carolyn Jess-Cooke was born in 1978 to a musical family in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is an award-winning author of poems and novels for adults, as well as four non-fiction books in the areas of Shakespeare, cinema, and film sequels. Her first poetry collection, Inroads, won the Tyrone Guthrie Prize, an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors, a Northern Promise Award, and was shortlisted for the New London Poetry Prize. Her bestselling novel, The Guardian Angel's Journal, was published in 2011 in the UK & Commonwealth (Piatkus), USA (Guideposts), and in 19 other languages.

Product Description


Brilliant! Rich with fully formed characters and stunning psychological drama, this heart-gripping novel will keep you riveted from first page to last (Jeffery Deaver)

Utterly captivating, this is a book I adored and savoured from the first to the very last magical page (Tess Gerritsen)

In the vein of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, this is a clever and enchanting novel for anyone who understands the importance of needing a friend . . . "the new Audrey Niffenegger" (Living North)

Thought-provoking and suspenseful, even heart-warming at times, Cooke's novel proves the devil always had the best tunes as it impresses with a gripping tale or friendship, death and identity . . . a diabolically delightful read, which will charm the hell of out you with its strong narrative voice and memorable characters (The Star)

A psychologically complex thriller, told with compassion in a marvellously suspenseful narrative that keeps you engaged from the first page to the last.This novel has it all: a dark and dangerous setting, characters full of depth, rich emotions, and a clever plot.You'll fall in love with Alex - and his demons (Chevy Stevens, New York Times bestselling author of Still Missing)

The Boy Who Could See Demons is an absolute chiller. Deep, moving and utterly gripping, I was riveted from the unsettling beginning to the mindbender of an ending. This is a stellar read that will stay with me a good long while (Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Lies)

Top-notch psychological suspense. From her descriptions of a struggling young family to a recovering Northern Ireland, Jess-Cooke effortlessly draws you into one woman's fight to save a troubled boy. Beware what you think you know. It might be only the demons talking . . . (Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of Touch and Go)

It's a stunning story - a well-researched, authoritative delve into psychosis, guilt and damage . . . The book is beautifully written, with compassion and insight . . . thrilling, wholly plausible and utterly satisfying (Julia Crouch, author of Every Vow You Break)

Gripping from the opening paragraph to its final revelations . . .Touching and painfully funny (Julia Crouch, author of Every Vow You Break)

A rare and intriguing book, both emotionally and intellectually challenging (Helen Grant, author of The Vanishing of Katerina Linden)

This book is quite simply brilliant to read, full of emotion and some heart wrenching plot twists; the tale of Alex and Anya is an extremely memorable one, and one of the best books with a child protagonist I've ever read. Of all the themes touched on, the most prominent one is pain - of every kind. 8/10 (Guardian) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

An innovative and richly imaginative new novel from the internationally acclaimed Carolyn Jess-Cooke, for anyone who loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Room. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tie That Binds.... 14 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The tie that binds....

I thoroughly enjoyed Carolyn's previous novel and couldn't wait for this book to be released, thankfully I wasn't disappointed. At times it proved to be very sad and disturbing, however it also made me laugh and on occasion feel warm inside. But most importantly of all it was incredibly thought provoking. What if....there is genuine documented cases to support both theories/arguments. I for one am a great believer in the credibility of both.

As before the content of the book is very well put together. Each of the characters personalities oozed from the pages and I was able to connect, in some way or form, with each and every one of them. Yes, even Ruen!
The demonic little beast even managed to fool me on the odd occasion, uncomfortably so, with his false promises and seemingly genuine acts of friendship. When I found myself warming to him in the beginning I had to mentally remind myself of what and who he was, the very essence of evil.

All that aside, in order to successfully combine acute debilitating mental health disorders with the possibility of demonic possession, this book couldn't have been written by a more apt author.

An excellent easy read and well worth your valuble time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
What a refreshing story this is. Told in alternating chapters from the perspective of Alex a 10 year old boy who's got enough family problems of his own without his ability to see demons or is this his way of coping with life and from the perspective of Anya his therapist who has her own problems too.

The story prediominantly deals with mental illness and associated problems. We never know what is going on in someone else's head and it's Anya's job to try and find out what is happening in Alex's head.

Alex's Mum has attempted to commit suicide and it would appear that Alex has taken over the position of Parent or responsible person in this family. Alex is worried that he will be taken in to care and split up from his Mum. Anya does all she can to try and prevent this from happening.

At times the story is dark and the demons do appear to be quite menacing in their hold over Alex and in particular Ruen, who can be very persuasive when getting Alex to do his bidding.

You are drawn in by the characters and as the story moves along you eagerly read each page and in turn each chapter wanting to find out what is going on. Despite the subject matter of mental illness this story is very easy to read, at times a little humourous and is very well written. This is the first book I've read by this Author and I can thoroughly recommend it to others. It will definitely be in my Top 10 books of the year and I give it 10/10.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars breathtakingly brilliant! 31 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition

5 out of 5 stars!

The most mind blowing, breathtaking book I have read for a very very long time!

What an incredible journey through psyche, an amazing insight into the world of psychological conditions, whilst also making you question what you know to be real.

I adored all the characters, laughed, cried and absorbed this book, devouring it with relish.

When I first started reading, I described it to my husband as being like a cross between 'The Sixth Sense' and 'About A Boy' Films....but although those connections are there in my mind this book is so so much more on every level. I would love to see this made into a film.

I can't wait to read more by this author, I will seek her work out on every level.

Thank you so much for letting me read your work Carolyn, you truly are a brilliant writer!

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the story of Alex, a young boy who lives with his mother Cindy in Belfast. Her mum's past has not been joyful, but one thing for sure: She loves his boy. Since his father death, Alex has been having a very good friend, Ruen. Ruen is a demon. He has three appearances and promises Alex he can have whatever he wants, but he has to do Ruen a favour: He has to kill someone. The chapters alternate between the entries in Alex diaries and the point of view of Anya, a psychiatrist who is in charge of this case, after Cindy's third suicide attempt. Her daughter, Poppy, killed herself when she was a girl because she was suffering of skizophrenia. WIth Michael's help, a very keen and professional social worker, she will establish a connection to Alex and try to cure what she thinks is affecting him. But is he really seeing demons and ghosts? Due to some unexplicable events, even the professional adults will start having doubts. The author charms the reader with this fascinating, sometimes funny and sometimes moving story of a troubled boy. A rare masterpiece of awesome sensitivity.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hell on Earth 11 April 2012
By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER
You don't need to look beyond the terrifically catchy title to see the Carolyn Jess-Cooke's follow-up to her debut novel The Guardian Angel's Journal uses a similar fantasy construct to the earlier novel, where events in "real life" are witnessed and influenced by supernatural beings. If the concept is similar, using this device to find a way to reflect on deeply traumatic experiences that would otherwise make very painful reading, The Boy Who Could See Demons manages to make that idea work much better, with strong well-defined characters that allow us the reader to make a deeper connection with them.

There was a sense of disconnect in the use of angels in the earlier book that didn't allow the reader to really feel the pain, keeping them distant from the experience and unable to truly sympathise with the characters. It's ironic then that we are able to gain a much fuller picture of someone who is enduring great distress and mental turmoil by seeing it expressed in, if you like, demonic possession. If we were to view the story solely through the eyes of Alex however, a ten-year old Belfast boy who is taken into care after an attempted suicide by his mother, his actions directed by demons that only he can see, it would be fascinating and entertaining view of a dark subject, but it would be nowhere near as complete were we not also to have the outside view of Anya, a psychiatrist who has recently returned to the province.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars very good
Perfect but lacked a proper ending, needed more at the end with what happened with ruen and Anya !!! :)
Published 5 days ago by julia robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, thought-provoking read
This is a beautifully-written book with a captivating and intriguing story, which raises thought-provoking questions about the human psyche and our efforts to understand it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Julie
5.0 out of 5 stars compulsive reading
A fast-paced psychological drama which had me constantly thinking, unable to decide if we really were looking at supernatural forces or simple the mind of an appealing but deeply... Read more
Published 5 months ago by jaxbee
5.0 out of 5 stars Stays with you long after you have finished reading
This is the intense story of a little boy who claims to be able to see demons following a traumatic experience with his mothers attempted suicide. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars An uplifting story of anguish and despair
Mental illness, poverty and death are not the most uplifting subjects for a novel, but the optimism and love that shines through from the principal characters lifts this story onto... Read more
Published 9 months ago by martin g cummins
5.0 out of 5 stars Inner hell, outer turmoil and the very real possibilty of the devil...
Incredibly well thought out concept.
In her own way the author has shone the light on an issue, which I personally believe doesn't get the attention it deserves. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Cheryl M-M
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Fantastic book and well written. I read this book in 2 days as I couldn't put it down. It was a really interesting subject and writing from two perspectives really helped to tell... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Natalie Justice
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy but brilliant read!
This book is fabulous, it's heart warming and heart breaking all at the same time. So pleased I found it!
Published 15 months ago by clare
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
This book was great and I didn't want to put it down. It dealt with a lot of difficult issues but it was not a difficult read, it was enjoyable from beginning to end and even... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Gail
4.0 out of 5 stars Riveting read, Hollywood ending!
This book rattles along at a good pace and I found it a real page turner. I particularly liked the 1st person narrative and the concepts put forward of demons and whether they... Read more
Published 17 months ago by pickosteo
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