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Review: Demon Freaks by J.R.R.R Hardison

demon freaks, hardison, books, novel, horror, comedy, teens, YA

Demon Freaks

J.R.R.R (Jim) Hardison

Four high school students are thrown into a wacky romp of the occult and conspiracies in J.R.R.R. Hardison’s hilarious horror adventure.

Ron and Bing Slaughter, twins, are half of a punk band formed with fellow high school students: Meat, their drummer, and Kaitlyn, their keyboardist. Having recently found themselves in a bit of trouble at school, the quiet twin, Bing, is ready to knuckle down and study for the next day’s SATs in hopes of passing his exams, or worse yet, ending up working for his parents at their family owned McDonald’s. The entire band escapes to a small cabin owned by Meat’s parents to study for the SATs when the night very suddenly becomes a twisted, fast-paced whirlwind of chaos. Possessed daggers, a golfer’s association run by psychotic warlocks and a counter-occult terrorism unit run from an underground, high security compound secreted under an abandoned barn.

It reads fast, but with just the right touch of elegance that nothing appears forgotten or lacking description. Not only does the writing flow with relative ease, but it’s also packed with non-stop action. Even when two of our four heroes end up buckled down on hard slabs in a rather posh dungeon, the book remains engaging. While some readers might find the rush and lack of character development a bit of a hiccup, the overall pace adds to the outlandish tornado that Ron, Bing, Meat and Kaitlyn find themselves running from. This sort of storytelling helps Demon Freaks go from simply being a surface piece, to inviting the reader into the feeling of being caught in the malicious undercurrent or dark societies and uncontrollable events.

All four of the main characters are quirky and relatable.  Ron, Bing, Meat and Kaitlyn are a rag-tag, close-knit group of teenagers who stand just a little outside the pack. Each one is uniquely smart, and the interaction between the twins is lovable, believable and not at all creepy twins. In fact, Bing and Ron are very different, a charming twist on twin relationships. But one thing is for sure, when the going gets tough, neither one would rather have anyone else by their side.

While it takes a little bit of time in the story to really see Meat or Kaitlyn develop, when they do, each one adds their own personality, thereby driving the twists of the plot in another direction that brings the whole story together. Kaitlyn is a very quirky girl (imagine a more outgoing Lydia Deetz) who likes to take very, very long showers in the dark and seems to have a strange sense of knowing things, and even though we get to know her the least, her presence is vital.

At moments, the writing branches out into a uniquely British narrative tone; think Stephen Fry from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This very aspect adds a dash of hilarious wit, taking this book from just another horror comedy to something altogether more intelligent. Demon Freaks is similar to works by Robert Rankin, with hints of Douglas Adams. This book is not only great for teens, but also for adults, especially any horror enthusiasts in the mood for a light break from the darkness.

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