Book Reviews

The Demon

A mysterious vigilante is stalking the neon-soaked streets at night. Taking on the most dangerous of criminals and saving lives, one night he rescues Charlie, a plucky young journalist, from a gang of masked men. Desperate to discover her enigmatic rescuer’s identity and motives, she learns of a dark, terrible past…

Anybody who knows me (and indeed, anybody who reads my newsletter or follows me on social media), knows I’m a fan of Batman. With ‘fan’ being derived from ‘fanatic,’ it is probably still too gentle a word. I’m also a fan of Tanweer Dar. After reading The Man With No Name (you can read that review with a simple click right here), I was excited to see what the author has in store for readers of The Demon, another cyberpunk story. To discover it owes a debt to a certain Caped Crusader was an utter delight.

As much The Demon owes a debt to Batman (and the argument could be made that it also owes one to Daredevil, as well as the pulp stories that influenced Batman, and other tales featuring brooding vigilantes), the author hasn’t aped Batman, and the reader won’t find a poorly-obscured Batman fan fiction tale. The titular Demon may wear a mask and drive a fast car, but he doesn’t hide in a cave, he isn’t driven by the murder of his parents at a young age, he isn’t a billionaire playboy, and he will more than happily use a gun. Yet The Demon captures a familiar tone as it tells the story of a vigilante driven to seek justice, not in the shadow-soaked streets of Gotham City, but the neon-soaked streets of its futuristic city. And as much as Gotham City is a character, The Demon’s city is as much of a character as the masked vigilante himself and those who surround him.

The author presents the book’s world immaculately, creating a city that feels lived in while taking joy in its excesses. It’s a world where the nefarious corporation HelixCorp—a cyberpunk staple—not only exists alongside a crow themed biker gang, brilliantly named the Murder—playing on a comic book staple—but the elements fit like the most comfortable glove. As much joy as The Demon takes in its heightened reality, at no point did I struggle to suspend disbelief; I took great joy in spending my time in the book’s world.

In reading The Demon, I was struck by how cinematic it all feels. I was transported into the book’s world, and the writing conjures a vivid image of the book’s characters and events. As much as Dar has written the book, he has written it in a way that feels as though he is directing the action. With its pulp fiction stylings, it felt similar to Tim Burton’s Batman movie, and to a lesser degree, to Sam Raimi’s Darkman. While the author’s writing in The Man With No Name was sparse which added to the book’s intrigue, in The Man With No Name, it is less so, feeling less deliberate in its stylistic choices. Only the author could answer whether this is less deliberate or not (though, if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say it is), but the result is a book that entertains from beginning to end.

Where I commented in my review that The Man With No Name’s sparse writing style aids the novella’s mission of packing it full of story, The Demon’s length isn’t hampered by its style. At apparently 228 pages in paperback (or an estimated 126 on Kindle, which felt more accurate, especially in comparison to The Man With No Name), it gets through about the same amount of story as the other book. While (again, I commented about this concern in my previous review) novellas can struggle with telling the right amount of story for the format, Dar has once again struck the right balance. As the stylings feel like they stepped out of a movie from the 80s or 90s, so too does its plot, which would work wonderfully in a movie. If anyone buys the movie rights, I’ll be the first in line.

While movies from that era have some thoroughly entertaining set pieces, so too does The Demon. The action throughout the novella is fluid, reading naturally while providing fun moments throughout. The action pops while moving at a fast pace, and it never outstays its welcome. The book is filled with wonderful events and characters, and also adds emotional resonance which forms the backbone of the book’s story.

The characters are a joy to follow. Much like Batman, the Demon is a stoic, no-nonsense figure. Yet through this, his character shines, and he is presented in a human manner. The other characters populating The Demon are thoroughly engaging, and despite its length, I came away with a wonderful understanding of who they are. The two major supporting characters, Charlie and Violet, are particularly entertaining, however those with smaller roles to play add to the story in meaningful ways. The dialogue throughout the book is strong, always feeling fluid and natural, while making room for some great one liners that fit within its pulpy superhero roots. Each character has their own voice, which serves to accentuate them.

While The Demon is a done in one story, I would love to see Dar continue the story in sequels. Part superhero story, part cyberpunk story, it tells a thrilling tale full of action and heart. The two cyberpunk books I’ve read from this author are presented in wildly different ways, both of them brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that I can’t wait to read In the Heart of the Void, a book that promises another change of pace. I’ll have that review for you in a couple of days.

Favourite Passage

The screams were heart-rending. Donovan had heard many during his days as The Demon, mostly as a consequence of his actions, but there was something unusually chilling about the ones he was hearing now.

Moving quickly to the corner of the alley, the vigilante narrowed his eyes as he focused in on the source of the sound.

What he saw made his heart skip a beat. It wasn’t human.

The Demon, Chapter 8: “Monsters”

The Demon was  purchased for the purpose of an honest review.

The Demon is available in paperback and on Kindle, exclusive to Amazon.

You can follow Tanweer Dar online, via:

Note: I do not post scores on reviews on this website, but do post them on my Amazon and Goodreads reviews:

Interested in purchasing The Demon?

Please find a link below; please note I do not collect any proceeds from the sale.

The Demon

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