Bestselling author Carolyn Jess-Cooke has written a brilliant novel of suspense that delves into the recesses of the human mind and soul—perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn and Lisa Unger. The Boy Who Could See Demons follows a child psychologist who comes up against a career-defining case—one that threatens to unravel her own painful past and jeopardizes the life of a boy who can see the impossible.
Dr. Anya Molokova, a child psychiatrist, is called in to work at MacNeice House, an adolescent mental health treatment center. There she is told to observe and assess Alex Connolly, a keenly intelligent, sensitive ten-year-old coping with his mother’s latest suicide attempt. Alex is in need of serious counseling: He has been harming himself and others, often during blackouts. At the root of his destructive behavior, Alex claims, is his imaginary “friend” Ruen, a cunning demon who urges Alex to bend to his often violent will.
But Anya has seen this kind of behavior before—with her own daughter, Poppy, who suffered from early-onset schizophrenia. Determined to help Alex out of his darkness, Anya begins to treat the child. But soon strange and alarming coincidences compel Anya to wonder: Is Alex’s condition a cruel trick of the mind? Or is Ruen not so make-believe after all? The reality, it turns out, is more terrifying than anything she has ever encountered.
A rich and deeply moving page-turner, The Boy Who Could See Demons sets out to challenge the imagination and capture the way life takes unexpected turns. In the best storytelling tradition, it leaves the reader changed.
I am struggling to review this as it is so amazing that I cannot find the words to summarise it effectively. The demons referred to are not demons in the physical sense, but emotional. This is a fast-paced psychological thriller of the best kind. I read it in one sitting, unable to put it down. I kept telling myself ‘just one more page’ until I finally reached the end around 3am. Even after I had finished, I found myself thinking about it. It is a completely disturbing story with so many layers, I can imagine re-reading it many times and still finding it enjoyable.
It’s difficult not to give away spoilers, but it is a long time since I read a book that made me think so much. I’m desperate for someone I know to read this book, so we can discuss it. I imagine different people will take different things from this novel and I’m intrigued to see.
I cannot praise this book enough. I’ve read a lot of great books this year, but this is a serious contender for the best spot. I would recommend this to anyone and everyone.
I give 5/5 stars. I would give more if I could.
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.