A pop-culture journalist finds himself entangled in a case of demonic possession in this slick metathriller.
Jack Sparks is what the Brits call "a lad"—hard-partying, sarcastic, generally disdainful of anything except himself. He has achieved success by writing a series of books that showcase his cynical dissipation. His book on drugs, for instance, features him trying every drug he can get his hands on and writing about it. The aftermath ended with a stint in rehab, making his publisher, despite his success, wary of his next venture. Deciding to debunk the supernatural, Jack laughs his way through a gruesome exorcism he's convinced is a fake, only to find strange things happening to him afterward. Nothing is stranger than the video uploaded to his website appearing to show a real ghost. The novel takes the form of Jack's book, which, the title alerts us, is his final one. It's filled out with a foreword from the dead man's brother, correspondence with his agent, and testimony from those who encountered him in his final days. There is even a website which particularly keen readers can visit. All these accoutrements are what's known in the entertainment business as "immersive." Immersive, however, does not mean entertaining. To say Jack wears out his welcome would be to imply he had one to begin with. And the knowing quality of the writing can't disguise the worn-out cynic-get-his-comeuppance premise.
The devil may find work for idle hands, but that doesn't mean incessantly clever ones should rest easy.