DIMITER (Advance Book Review)

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Originally published at Fangoria.com on December 21, 2009

The novel, DIMITER, is an intriguing religious thriller about a group of characters engaged in a psychological battle between good and evil. Author William Peter Blatty captivated audiences before with THE EXORCIST and now returns to literary form after a long absence with his latest work. 

The action takes place during the 1970s in Albania, where a mysterious man has been held prisoner. To the interrogator, the man in the prison cell is nicknamed as “an agent of hell.” The captive has created many false personalities for himself and believes he is each one of them. The interrogator becomes frustrated with the detainee because he will not reveal his true identity, even after being physically tortured. No one is safe when the prisoner violently escapes and continues with his secretive mission.

The scenery then transfers itself to Jerusalem and the narration focuses on neurologist Moses Mayo and detective Peter Meral. Moses Mayo is overworked at the Hadassah Hospital, which leads to his troubling nightmares. He becomes frustrated with his nurse as they debate over whether or not a miracle has occurred when a sick patient appears fully recovered all of a sudden. Peter Meral is in mourning over the tragic deaths of his wife and son. Meral’s stalker watches him grieve over his loved ones and contemplates on meeting face to face. 

Mayo and Meral suddenly find themselves thrust into a puzzling murder mystery. The escaped prisoner from Albania has arrived in Jerusalem and high-ranking CIA agents want him found. Detective Meral has to outwit the CIA agents, who are deceptively intervening with his investigation. With their lives in danger, Mayo and Meral realize they have no choice but to play out their supposed roles in the deadly competition. The so-called “agent of hell” has the upper-hand and soon everyone involved will discover what his real mission is.

As I mention that I had to reread certain passages many times, I do not mean this as a bad comment. The premise is a complex mystery with surprising developments and many red herrings. I thought I had predicted the story arc’s next move, but then I was cleverly caught off-guard by the next plot twist. I had to go back to certain pages because I missed specific clues that led to the climatic resolution. It was satisfying to finally see how all the pieces and clues came together at the end.

Author William Peter Blatty has not written a full-length novel since 1983’s LEGION. His long-awaited release, DIMITER, is a page-turning narrative comprised of detailed characters and a surprising climax.

DIMITER will be distributed in bookstores on March 16, 2010. For more information, go to the official website: www.tor-forge.com or pre-order the book from Amazon.com