Top-Five Reads of 2012: #2 Stephen Graham Jones' DEMON THEORY

This was one of the first books that I read this year, way back in January, yet I’ve continued to think about it from time to time. Anything that lingers that long deserves a high place in my eyes, as too, too much is forgettable.

Even more, this is the first book that I've ever "Not wanted to put down." Part One of this book sucked me in, sank its gargoyle fangs into my neck, and wouldn't let me stop reading until I reached Part Two. Really, I read that whole first chunk (also probably because there are no “official” chapter breaks) in one evening/night. Though, it might’ve been the fact that I couldn’t stop chewing my already nubbins of fingernails down even further.

I loved the tone, right from the get go. It felt like a well-versed tribute to the horror genres of old. It felt like a “thinking man’s” horror story, and that’s what pushes it above and beyond a regular “scary” story—especially with all the film references. I was giddy with all the allusions and footnotes and explanations peppered throughout the novel. Each new note either made me feel smart for already knowing the reference, or if I didn’t know what the hell Jones was talking about, then I liked learning the explanations.

Film nerdiness aside, the fast-pace, playfulness, frightening moments, and the twisting of basic horror-genre tropes dug their claws deeper into my “Don’t put this book down” impulse. The pace helped keep that sensation alive, too. The novel clips along at a wonderful pace but still doesn’t forget to take the time for a few jokes—some darker than others, but always amusing. And Jones pays tribute to and pulls from every film out there, while at the same time builds something very original—and something that I would love to see hit the big screen in the full, trilogy form (though that might take away from that “thinking man” feel.)

Basically, if you’re into horror, you need to read this book. And if you simply like a scary story, then this is just as much for you. I’ll admit, I don’t normally read much by way of horror or scary stories—and I hardly watch many such films anymore—but if more folks wrote like Jones, then I’d be more than willing to wade through all the blood and gore.