Personal Demons (Book)

A cop-noir novel with horrific overtones is the theme of Gregory Lamberson’s Personal Demons. While several other themes are explored – namely, genetic engineering and life after death – at its heart lies a compelling story of a man whose world has spun more out of control than he could fathom.

The novel begins where many others end with the horrifically macabre murder of a young lady by a man who’s been sought by the police for months, The Cipher. Not content to simply bathe in her blood or defile her corpse, the serial killer takes his souvenir: her soul. The detective working the case, Jake Helman, is a cop bent on trying to catch the mad man. Through a series of unfortunate events, Helman loses his job and winds up working for the impressive Tower Corporation, which is run by a reclusive biogeneticist named Nicholas Tower. What seems like the perfect job soon becomes more than he can handle as Jake discovers startling links between Tower and The Cipher as well as problems that threaten his very soul.

Lamberson does a fine job of creating believable people and bringing the characters of Helman, Tower, and every other person in this book to vivid life. While Jake may be, in many respects, the stereotypical hardened cop, Lamberson breaks away from the mold by allowing the reader to see inside the rough exterior, allowing a look at his struggles with addiction and with what his life has become. The character of Tower is everything his name implies, from his paranoid-reclusive surroundings to his cooler-than-ice demeanor. The other characters, whether supporting or only bit-players, are handled with equal grace and passion.

The story in Personal Demons is compelling and written with great care. Though the author’s style seems to favor brevity over ornate language, it is obvious that he can certainly turn a phrase. Several passages in this book made it difficult to put down, even at the end of a chapter.

With a hard-hitting resolution and fast-paced action, Personal Demons never looks back to see if readers are following, certain that they will be keeping stride. It is a well-written piece of fiction that promises great things still to come from the author.

Personal Demons
By Gregory Lamberson
Broken Umbrella Press, 2004
253 pages

4 out of 5

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