cover image The Demon’s Wife

The Demon’s Wife

Rick Hautala. JournalStone (, $18.95 trade paper (314p) ISBN 978-1-936564-95-8

The late horror writer Hautala (1949–2013) blends romance and evil in this tale of a most unusual marriage. Lonely and stuck in a dead-end job in Portland, Maine, Claire McMullen meets the dark and mysterious Samael in a bar. After he rescues her from an attacker, Samael courts Claire and they end up in bed, where Claire discovers that her demon lover has no genitals but a wickedly skillful tail. Claire fears, with good reason, that Samael wants her soul; can she trust that he really wants to redeem himself, especially with the forces of Hell arrayed against them? The premise is intriguing, and Hautala (Occasional Demons) manages some skin-prickling scenes, especially when Claire encounters several demons on a nightmarish bus ride along I-95. But inconstant characterizations and sloppy pacing hamper the story, and despite Samael’s professed desire to reform, the idea that his despicable actions can be forgiven never really gels. Agent: Robert Fleck, Fleck Agency. (Sept.)