The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye #1, The Chronicle of Jonathan Steel
First in Chronicles of Jonathan Steel
The 13th Demon by Bruce Hennigan is the first book in the Chronicles of Jonathan Steel. Steel washed up on a beach two years ago with completely no memory of who he was or where he was from, but he had almost super human fighting abilities. When the woman he loved was killed by a vicious demon with a spiral eye, Steel committed his life to hunting own his nemesis. He arrives in the small town of Lakeside, Louisiana to help out a desperate pastor whose church has been taken over by demonic forces. Huge spiders and scorpions run around the sanctuary, blood pours out from the doors, and the baptistery holds a portal to another dimension. Steel calls on his mentor, Cephas, to send him to reinforcements, a linguist named Liz and a physicist named Claire who brings her troubled son, Joshua. Hennigan has an enigmatic hero in Steel, but he takes the mystery a bit too far at times. The story suffers from too much back story and introduction of characters. Hennigan obviously has plans to write a large series, but 300 pages are too few to include all of the story elements he wants to put into play. One thing that concerned me in reading is that Hennigan's descriptions of the evil forces are poetic and lengthy in nature, but the forces of good get far less detail, making them less real, more abstract for readers. The story moves so quickly, and so many characters are introduced, there is little time to grow to care for them. (SPOILER ALERT) When a major character dies at the end of the story, I had very little emotional response, because there hadn't been opportunity to grow to care. I think that Hennigan has some terrific ideas, and Jonathan Steel could be a terrific hero, but it needs some work.
October 28, 2011