Demon At The Window – John Quick
Reviewed by Ben Walker
First things first – that cover sets the mood of this detective meets demon novel perfectly. Evoking classic crime stories as well as horror, I would have picked this up based on the artwork alone. Luckily, this isn’t a case of fancy window dressing hiding a mundane product, as John Quick’s writing also conjures up a decent mix of crime and paranormal horror.
Demon at the Window sees a seasoned private detective, Cochran, his quick-witted assistant Alexis and his police contact/ex-lover Jessica taking on a demonic mystery, which rapidly progresses from a stalking case to a full-blown murder investigation. Loyalties are tested, the local police get tetchy and the bodies stack up in sometimes gruesome fashion.
As you might guess from the ‘A Cochran Investigations Novel’ tagline, this is a proposed series. Now for those already thinking “here we go, it’s going to be packed with set-up for future relationships” or “oh great, I suppose there’s a cliffhanger with no payoff”, let me pop those thought bubbles right now because this is very much a standalone adventure. There are some vague hints about past incidents which never get picked up on fully, which I guess you could see as seeds for future novels, but there’s none of that heavy-handed foreshadowing which some series lay down, instead of dealing with the here and now. Nor does the end leave you feeling obliged to pick up the next one to catch up on unfinished business.
Which is not to say that you won’t want more by the end. This is a solid sleuthing adventure, offering nothing much in the way of surprises, but it’s easy reading with a satisfying ending and lots of snappy dialogue. It ticks all the boxes you’d hope a gumshoe story would – a smart-mouthed PI with an equally smart-mouthed assistant, a love interest from the past, a case that seems easy at first but gets more complex the further it develops, a bad guy who’s always a few steps ahead of the heroes, gruesome murders, and clashes with the local law enforcement.
On top of this, you get a murderous demon with superhuman strength and mind control powers. Where you might only see cold bodies in some detective stories, here you see full-blown demon attacks, bursting with gore. Our heroes stumble across the aftermath in the usual fashion, but the audience gets to watch and wince as bodies are torn into, defiled, or dismembered. Sometimes all three. That violence is occasionally sexual, so those parts are decidedly not easy reading, but the shocks are used sparingly, which lends them more impact. On the flip side, some scenes feel like they cut away too soon. It’s an odd balance, almost like a TV movie that’s been edited so they can show half before the watershed, then the other, more grisly half after the 10 o’clock news. This imbalance keeps you on your toes though, as you never know how much you’re going to have to stomach when the demon appears.
When they’re not grimacing at the viscera left behind by their target, the trio of Cochran, Alexis and Jessica make for an entertaining team to follow. There’s a decent amount of snarky interplay between the three, which keeps the mood light and the scenes snappy. Again, it’s standard detective story fare, but it’s told well and feels grounded in reality. Well, as much reality as there can be when you’re dealing with a peeping tom demon who can possess the dead. Where the series will go next is anyone’s guess, but I’d definitely pick up another Cochran & co romp.
KR: You can read the Kendall Reviews interview with John Quick here
Demon At The Window
Jack Cochran was actually relieved when he was fired from the TBI following one of the strangest cases he’d ever encountered. He decided to try his luck as a Private Investigator, and live out a long-time dream.What he didn’t expect was that his first case would be to track down a stalker who may be an actual, birthed-from-Hell demon intent on killing his clients off one by one. This isn’t the case he wanted, but it’s the one he ended up with, and he can only hope to survive the DEMON AT THE WINDOW.
A horror fan and writer since who knows when, Ben started dabbling in online reviews around 2001. Nowadays he has a booktube channel, which features bizarre book reviews and further nonsense. When he isn’t writing, he’s probably looking at GIFs and eating Mexican food.
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