THE BOYFRIEND FROM HELL by Avery Corman

THE BOYFRIEND FROM HELL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

As the title declares, Corman’s eighth novel (A Perfect Divorce, 2004, etc.) centers on a young New Yorker’s rocky relationship with her new boyfriend, who is either a jerk or Evil Incarnate.

At 24, Ronnie is already a successful freelance journalist, but her social life is in the doldrums. While researching an article on a satanic church in the city, she interviews Richard Smith, a historian who studies satanic worship. When she asks his opinion of Satanism, he offers only a vague view that since good exists, so might evil, but Richard is strikingly handsome and Ronnie is soon swept away by his debonair charms and sexual magnetism. After her article on the satanic church comes out, Ronnie receives a dead black cat and assumes the church’s cultish leader, Randall Cummings, sent it as a threat. Meanwhile, Richard, who travels frequently for his work, sees Ronnie whenever he is in town, but her friends sense there is something off about him. Then Richard’s editor offers Ronnie a book deal to write about satanic possession. While working on the book, Ronnie begins to have the disquieting experience of enhanced powers, winning a race and drawing an elaborate sketch while blacked out. After receiving a picture of a decapitated head, Ronnie goes to confront Randall Cummings. Again, she blacks out. Randall turns up dead, and she’s a suspect. She begins to see Satan’s face, first in dreams but then on the street. After interviewing a mental patient whose satanic lover looked a lot like Richard, she comes to believe she may be possessed. A lapsed Catholic, she turns to her childhood priest in the Bronx, who holds an exorcism. Ronnie is saved/cured, but the last we see of Richard, he is talking on his cell phone and smiling enigmatically.

After a few fun/creepy first chapters, the manipulated plot seems forced, obvious and lacking in suspense.

Pub Date: May 2nd, 2006
ISBN: 0-312-34979-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2006




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