THE DARK NET by Benjamin Percy


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In Percy’s (Thrill Me, 2016, etc.) techno-horror thriller, a small band of misfits must counteract a full-scale demon possession of Portland, Oregon.

Below the internet we use every day lurks a violent and terrible place known as the Dark Net. This is where people come to satisfy their most destructive and perverted desires, and, according to Percy, it’s naturally where demons would go when working to possess people in the 21st century. While the demons in question begin by possessing the bodies of humans in order to physically manipulate and control technology, their ultimate quest is nothing less than complete domination of the human race, to be achieved through torture and mass murder. And the only people who can stop it are a 12-year-old blind girl, two demon hunters “on the spectrum” (meaning they have supernatural tendencies of their own), and an intrepid reporter. Percy’s vision rather obviously offers commentary on our contemporary lifestyle: “People fuss so much about what they eat.…But they don’t worry as much about what they consume online.” Once the demon virus is released from the Dark Net, anyone accessing our everyday staples—Netflix, Tinder, Google—becomes a homicidal maniac. Percy takes the darkest conspiracy theories you can imagine and makes them the stuff of nightmares. Oh, and all this happens on Halloween, “the fall climax…a time of reaping harvest, of accounting.” Humankind is held responsible for its irresponsibility, paying the price for all the convenience we take for granted, for our obsession with the digital world. While the message is effective and scary, though, the characters and the writing fall short of mesmerizing.

Who says science and religion are incompatible? There's something undeniably creepy about the thought that your smartphone can possess you. A gory cautionary tale.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-544-75033-3
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2017


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