Demon Shadows Paperback – 20 Oct 2011
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About the Author
Mike Sirota is the author of twenty published books with houses that include The Berkley Publishing Group (Penguin-Putnam), Bantam Books, Pocket Books, and Kensington Publishing Corp. For fourteen years he was an award-winning feature writer and editor for a Southern California newsmagazine. Mike has facilitated many read and critique workshops, and has taught seminars and classes for various educational systems. He is an instructor for the University of California, San Diego Extension and is presently a workshop leader for the Southern California Writers' Conference and the La Jolla Writers Conference, and has also served on the faculty of the Alaska Writers Guild Conference. His new novel, The Burning Ground, will be published in 2012.
Top Customer Reviews
Where upon he discovers an ancient mystery that isn't dead.
This is a really good story, well plotted with good writing and excellent characters.
At 77p you simply can't go wrong with this book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book concerns writer Paul Fleming, who is suffering from writer's block in the wake of his divorce. Upon encouragement from his agent, he decides to spend a few weeks at the Thorburn Colony, an artists' sanctuary, cut off from the modern world. What he doesn't know is that an ancient evil lurks at the colony. As the story progresses, Paul begins to sense that something is very wrong at the colony. The book moves very slowly and there is little or no overt horror until the very end. It is well-written, however, and Sirota has a real knack for description. It actually was a much better book then I remembered. Maybe at 14, I was too young to appreciate some of that descriptive writing.
The best part of the novel, in my opinion, is the opening prologue, which explains the origins of the colony. Told mainly from the viewpoint of a Washoe Indian named Tall Runner, this is the most engaging part of the book. Paul Fleming, the narrative voice for the majority of the book is interesting, but if Sirota had written another novel from Tall Runner's perspective, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.
The plot is interesting and the evil that menaces Thorburn is one of the more unique I've seen in a horror novel. The novel also has elements reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery. While the book does drag in places, mostly in the middle, it still is a fun, quick read. The best parts of the novel are the prologue and the final chapters, where the nature of the evil presence is revealed at last. Everything in between ranges from interesting to laughable to ho-hum. This book has been re-issued as an e-book under the more appropriate name Snow Shadows.
However... there was too much of this novel that just did not add up. For the sake of my readers, I'm going to try and break this down in a +/- sort of way.
+ The underlying "evil" that occurs throughout this story is original, and not something that I have seen before.
+/- With the exception of a few "dead" parts, the story moves fast enough that you keep reading to find out if your assumptions are correct (or maybe you're like me and can't put aside a story once you've started it, no matter what your feelings are).
- The characters are (for the most part) entirely way too one dimensional. With few exceptions, there is little to no back-story to explain why they act the way they do. Even those characters whose stories are eventually explained... it feels less like an explanation of their behavior as a character and more like the author saying "this is how I want to end it and this is why I will end it this way". For some of the characters, I felt this was too out of context and took away from the overall plot instead of being a "surprise" event.
Don't get me wrong, there were portions of this book that I liked, and portions that I didn't.. this book will appeal to some people, but not many I'm afraid. It is one of those novels that truly is "hit or miss"
I must say, however, that the tale of the demons and the way the ancestors had to pay them back for saving them, was pushing the boundaries of believability. That sounds a little crazy to say, since this whole story idea is not rational or believable, but I mean it was not fun to believe in it.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good ghost/demon story, however, because in spite of my small criticism, it is very readable.
Gaston Sanders, Author