Demon Freaks by J.R.R.R. (Jim) Hardison
Fiery Seas Publishing, 2017
Available: Paperback, Kindle edition
Jim Hardison’s Demon Freaks pits high schoolers on the eve of their SAT exams against wicked would-be wizards and monsters, with the fate of the world at stake. The story is written with irony and humor from the viewpoint of teenagers. The protagonists are members of an ad hoc school band, including twin boys who don’t look or think alike. The drummer, who is the low-achieving son of a high-achieving family, is the comic foil. The female member is a “brain” who is happiest taking a shower.
The night before the SAT, the band members plan to meet to jam and cram, but are caught in the middle of a deadly rivalry between two groups of elderly, evil golfers, the Servants of Darkness and the Golfers’ Association. The Servants of Darkness are led by the teens’ sarcastic, vindictive English teacher, while the Golfers follow his power-hungry brother, who looks like a twisted Santa Claus. Both groups want to possess a magical dagger that traps souls, communicates telepathically with its victims, and can control their minds. Think of the Ring of Power in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.
Each group plans to use the dagger for a human sacrifice, in order to open the gates to Hell and release a powerful demon that they hope will help them dominate the world. Two of the teens are captured, possibly to be the human sacrifices. The rest of their friends, along with commandos from a clandestine division of the McDonald’s Corporation called McODD (McDonald’s Occult Dangers Division) fight the Servants, the Golfers and Teethheads (scaly, fish-headed monsters with hundreds of teeth) in tunnels and chambers under the golf course.
The story is told in an engaging, fast-paced, tongue–in-cheek style. The teenagers are quirky, but discover hidden talents that help them outwit the adults. The adults are caricatures of hubris and greed. The plot will appeal to children and teenagers. The monsters are scary, but not frightening. The violence and gore are mild. The author has written another novel, an epic fantasy Fish Wielder. Recommended.
Contains: Not applicable.
Reviewed by Robert D. Yee