LOGIC OF DEMONS: The Quest for Nadine's Soul
Paranormal Young Adult
Received from author for review
With one little decision to stay home instead of accompanying his wife to the mall, Devin's whole life changed. One more decision made out of a need to make his wife's murderer pay changed Devin's death. Now, instead of finding himself reunited with his wife and unborn child in the afterlife, Devin is enlisted in the service of The Company, selling a Formula to innocent souls–an endeavor that results in unfathomable consequences.
All Devin wants is to be with his wife, and he's told by his demonic mentor Templeton that if he just sells the Formula to a young teenage girl named Nadine, he will be free to search for his wife in this new realm of existence.
Soon however, Devin begins to wonder about The Formula he's peddling and the effects it will have on young Nadine. Before he can even attempt the sale he finds himself face to face with an Angel, one who makes him aware of the growing unrest between Heaven and Hell and the importance Nadine has to this epic battle. Devin made several regrettable choices in life, now the question remains as to whether he has learned enough to make the right ones in death, as his fate, Nadine's fate, and all of humanity's fate could be on the line.
Conceptually fascinating, Logic of Demons examines the extreme consequences resulting from the basest human behaviors, where the survivors of horrific crimes often scoff at the lack of divine intervention on their behalf, leading them to an entitled sense of vengeful retribution that usually only ends in additional pain. From there, the way for the eclipse of rationality and the birth of moral ambiguity is paved, and the separation of right and wrong can no longer be so easily defined. This story is a telling introspection, one that forces us to confront the fact that the evilest of deeds are often cloaked in a wrongful sense of righteousness, and at times overwhelming fanaticism provides the means to justify acts of inhuman cruelty. The broad spectrum of implications addressed causes us to question the reasoning behind our own day to day actions, and whether we have ever acted impulsively, thinking our behavior was morally and ethically sound but perhaps could have been more cruel or selfish in nature than we might care to admit.
Though the questions raised by this tale are haunting and endless, main character Devin is exceedingly difficult to relate to, his misery over his wife's death earning our sympathy and understanding, but the brutality of his retaliation erects a transparent wall between us where we can both see and hear him, but he remains out of reach of our full emotional absolution and the warmth of our complete embrace. He is consumed by a blind naivete, bumbling forth with a single-minded purpose that causes him to agree to virtually anything anyone asks of him regardless of the consequence. Devin is like the lightest of feathers, haplessly blown in the direction of the prevailing wind, and whether the whispers carried on those billowing gusts are poisonous or heavenly seems to matter little to him provided they get him back to his wife. He makes himself frustratingly pliable, able to be molded into any dominant personality's shape of choice without truly questioning what effects this new form might carry with it, and we have no choice but to read on as he repeats his mistake again and again.
The story itself is difficult to manage at times, often muddied by the presence of several snippets thrusting us into the midst of Nadine's vibrant imagination as well as flashbacks to a younger Devin, and these disparate elements begin to cloud the clarity of Devin's ultimate goal. Further adding to the confusion is the contrast of a fairly simplistic writing style indicating a younger target audience with the very graphic and violent imagery of the horrors of which humanity is capable. Thus, this story seems to be in a classification limbo, lacking some of the finesse that might appeal to an older audience, but also far more brutal than one would deem appropriate for all ages.
Mr. Goodman does provide a very interesting twist at the end, one that eases some of the confusion and begins to knit the disjointed elements back together, thereby leaving us with more of a sense of understanding than we've experienced at any point previously. This story has a powerful premise and a riveting concept, his ideas unmistakably unique and his vision of the afterlife intriguing, but at times the characterization and execution can cause readers to stumble in their journey with Devin. That being said, I expect more good ideas will no doubt come from Mr. Goodman moving forward, and I will certainly be keeping an eye out for his additional works.