The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke is quite extraordinary. I could not put this book down once I started it.
Alex is a young and troubled boy, growing up impoverished under the care of his mother, Cindy, in Belfast, Ireland. His father has abandoned them through a sudden and traumatic event that is slowly teased out of Alex's memory as the novel progresses; meanwhile his mother wrestles with depression and self-harming tendencies. Cindy's most recent suicide attempt brings Alex under the lens of the local authorities, and Anya Molokova takes over as his primary psychiatrist. Soon Anya discovers that Alex believes himself to be surrounded by demons and one of them, Ruen, has established a particularly close and disturbing relationship with the boy. As Anya gets pulled deeper into Alex's life and bonds with the boy in an attempt to properly diagnose him she asks the important questions:
What does Ruen represent for Alex?
Is Ruen a manifestation of schizophrenia?
Can something be done to rid Alex of Ruen?
But soon, Ruen, speaking through Alex, begins to turn the inquiry toward Anya. Alex begins to question Anya about events that seemingly no one else knows about. In turn, Anya begins to question whether Ruen might actually be who Alex claims he is. She is haunted by the memories of the life and death of own daughter and she begins to find it difficult to emotionally separate her patient and his increasingly bizarre and dangerous episodes of apparent self-harm from her feelings surrounding her daughter's mental illness and suicide.
Jess-Cooke shifts between the voice of Alex and that of Anya frequently, giving them alternating chapters in the novel. This technique provides readers with the ability to really get a feel for each of these characters from the inside looking out and it works very well to build the suspense and keep the thrilling pace.
At the height of a dramatic scene that finds Alex and Anya alone in a room together at the local inpatient mental facility, Jess-Cooke turns the plot suddenly in a surprising direction to conclude the story. Very well written and very effective. I love this book! Buy this book! Read this book!
Also, this definitely needs to be made into a movie. This would be an excellent movie. Are you paying attention Hollywood?
The Boy Who Could See Demons will be released on August 13, 2013. Find it at Amazon.com or your local bookseller.