Go to Homepage   Gabriel Devlin Kessler: Landcape of Demons and the Book of Sara

 

Millenium Press (Paperback), ISBN 0-9656202-0-4
Appearances can be deceptive. Landscape of Demons and the Book of Sara is deceptive. Gabriel Devlin Kessler starts out convincing the reader there's nothing unusual about this book. Then he captivates the unsuspecting mind by successfully chronicling the psychotic state of an abused child growing into adulthood. 

Steve Goldblatt is dying -- murdered by a long-rejected childhood friend. His memories unravel as his breath fades, revealing a picture of his life. Originally a prisoner in his family home, abused by his father, unloved by his mother, Steve equates love with pain. He lives by assuming the characters of others around him believing it's their "strength" that helps him survive. 

Steve needs to "become" someone else. The first focus for this need is his best friend, known only as Tom. But as he meets children and teenagers tougher than Tom, Steve's loyalties change, transferring first to the enigmatically named Fishmouth (a hard talking street kid) then to Dane (a teenager for whom violence is a way of life).  

The trend continues as Steve grows into a vengeful and vindictive man. He looks for ways to give and receive pain, feeling this is the only way to be loved. As a highly successful lawyer Steve Goldblatt literally ruins lives including, ultimately, his own. 

Landscape of Demons won't suit everyone's tastes, but when a writer develops a character this cleverly and makes his insanity so insidious, it's well worth a read. 

Stephen Smith

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