Demons and Devils:
A Countdown of the Best Demonic tales in Fiction
by Fiona Dodwell
One of my favourite themes in horror fiction is that of demons/demonic possession. When I was a teenager I read The Exorcist, and it disturbed me deeply. The film, too, which has become a classic in the horror genre, offers viewers a harrowing and creepy version of the tale – despite it’s age, it still manages to this day to frighten audiences.
There’s something very unsettling about demons and possession. Whether you are a person of faith or a staunch atheist, few can deny that the idea of a persons body being taken over by pure evil is a frightening one. The idea or possibility that we could become out of control, enslaved or influenced by something darker, really feeds my imagination. Sparked by my love of The Exorcist, I have always looked out for tales of like this. I have read some really remarkable books that explore this theme. For Kendall Reviews, I take a look at some of the best ones I have read – but I have left out The Exorcist, as I wanted to share titles that some of you may not be familiar with.
Come Closer by Sara Gran
This creepy tale follows main character, Amanda, as she begins to experience frightening changes in her life – and body. She is married, with a wonderful career, but something is just…not right. Things have been changing for her and not in a good way. As Amanda’s life begins to head down very dark paths, she begins to uncover exactly what is causing her problems. This is a very dark, foreboding story with a lot of tension as it progresses. Brilliantly written short novel. One of my favourites.
The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke
This fantastic novel focuses on a young boy, Alex, who claims he can see demons – and that he is “friends” with one who wants him to do dark, unspeakable things. The story has alternating chapters, between Alex and his psychologist who is working with him, giving the reader different viewpoints of what is really going on: is there something dark invading the lad, or is it a psychological issue? Fantastically written and really dark and addictive, I highly recommend this tale.
Nightfall by Stephen Leather
Nightfall is a paranormal thriller, which explores elements of the occult and demonic activity. Fantastically written, it tells the tale of Jack Nightingale, a Private Detective, who inherits a mansion from a relative, only to be told his soul was sold at birth and the devil is coming for him… It’s a fast-paced, fun yet very dark story full of creepy turns and twists. I love Leather’s style and was pleased to find that this novel leads into a longer series of stories. Give it a go if you like thrillers with a dark, paranormal twist.
A Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans
This wonderfully creepy tale follows new father, George Davies, who simply can’t bring himself to hold his newborn baby son. Why not? Disturbed by his own feelings and actions, he revisits his own childhood and the journals he wrote as a child, presenting them to his new therapist. What dark influence is over him – if any?
I loved this dark story, really engaging and unique. Highly recommend.
Seed by Ania Ahlborn
This deliciously dark story follows the experiences of the Winter family, who live in Louisiana. Jack – father and husband – had some terrifying experiences as a child, and now he is wondering if that something “dark” is back for more. Creepy events and psychologically chilling scenes are littered through this demonic tale and I absolutely loved it.
The Case Against Satan by Ray Russell
This story of demonic possession came nine years before The Exorcist by Blatty – and although in my personal opinion, it isn’t a good as the latter, it certainly is a solid, engaging and creepy read. Published in 1962 and reissued recently, this novel tells the story of Susan Garth, who goes from sweet and kind to dark and disturbing as events unfold. Not as “graphic” as The Exorcist (and certainly not as blunt with bad language as Blatty’s possessed character) it is still, nevertheless, a really good tale of possession and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
I’m sure many of you have read Tremblay’s work – he has become hugely popular and much loved in the horror genre. I read A Head Full of Ghosts when it was first released and I loved it. Following the story of young teenager, Marjorie, as she descends into darkness. Is she unwell, or is she possessed? The story is extremely unsettling and uneasy, and it is an addictive read – one that even Stephen King has praised highly. If you haven’t read this demonic tale yet, I recommend it. You won’t be disappointed.
Hostage to the Devil by Malachi Martin
Can I cheat and add a book that is considered non-fiction? I hope you won’t mind.
Hostage to the Devil is written as a non-fiction account of five contemporary possession cases in America – and even if you are a non-believer, the stories in Malachi Martin’s creepy book may have you questioning your beliefs with ease because, honestly, he makes it sound so real, so convincing, so possible. The people the author describes in his book are real, everyday people, like you and I. They worked with the author himself to tell their story of possession, and he relayed it all in a book that is both chilling and unforgettable. Highly recommend – whether you are open-minded to the paranormal or not, it’s a fascinating and frightening read.
Fiona Dodwell has been writing fiction for almost 10 years, with several horror/paranormal titles released under various publishers. Alongside this, she is a freelance writer for various websites and magazines. She has written features for Warner Music, Made In Shoreditch Magazine, Music-news.com and Tremr.
Fiona has studied Psychology, Film Studies, Theology and Health & Social Care.
Her biggest passion is reading dark fiction, as well as creating new stories of her own – the creepier the better!
To find out more about Fiona:
Books: Amazon Store