Title: The Company of Demons
Author: Michael J. Jordan
Genre: Crime / Thriller / Mystery / Suspense
John Coleman seems to have his life altogether: he’s a lawyer with his own firm in Cleveland, the city he was raised in, and has a loving wife and a beautiful daughter. But John’s suppression and denial of his dark past catches up with him when his friend is brutally murdered in a manner reminiscent of a serial killer from decades prior.
Fearing for his life, and the life of his loved ones, John is forced to face his traumas as people in the city drop like flies. But when his precautions get him into trouble, he realizes his life is possibly the most at risk.
John’s worst nightmares come true when the Butcher returns. Haunted by a threatening letter he received from the Butcher, John begins resorting to alcohol and isolation to cope with the serial killer’s return. Inspired by an earlier serial killer, The Torso Murderer, the Butcher is known for leaving their victims skillfully dissected. Though graphic, the descriptions of the murders and techniques of the killers are creative and will evoke genuine repulsion from readers as more bodies are found, each more defiled than the last.
Despite his trauma and concern from his loved ones, when he is asked to handle his murdered friend’s estate, John accepts, intertwining him once again into a world that nearly destroyed him. Jennifer, the victim’s daughter, shows gratitude for John’s help, and her youth and beauty are seducing. The more time they spend together, the more his temptations build, and the further he is dragged into the dark place he was in years ago.
Though slow-moving at first, the start of the book is packed with information about the past that is key for the rest of the story. John’s past is riddled with dark, unsettling images and emotions, and his failure to truly heal from them are evident as the story moves forward. He is one of the most flawed characters in the book, with his many mistakes often hurting his loved ones more than they hurt himself.
John’s peers are mostly white, Irish, and Catholic, with few minorities in the mix. The book reveals racial tensions between characters of different ethnic groups throughout the novel, and though John often serves as an arbitrary viewer of this, the topic added a dimension to the novel that was unexpectedly beneficial and revealing of the characters and the setting.
Unfortunately, the epilogue– which was just over a page long– ended the book on a high note that felt a bit too constructed. It’s extremely short length did not allow for much to be added to the story, and it translated more as a summary of the future. An insight or update on the character’s lives or a reflection from the characters would have been a more interesting take on the epilogue.
Jordan’s natural ability to mimic fear, pain, and death will keep readers on the edge of their seats as his characters discover the dark reality of their city. The Company of Demons is a thrilling ride ridden with gruesome murders that will haunt even those with the strongest stomachs. This crime thriller will remind readers how difficult choices in life can be a wake-up call to the blessings we take for granted, and, for these characters, the gateway to freedom.
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