Thursday, December 4, 2008

Body Surfing-Dale Peck

Body Surfing
Dale Peck
Atria, Feb 2009, $26.00
ISBN: 1416576126

Q and Jasper have been friends since their early childhood, but lately the former has been acting strangely out of control even for a high school student until he maneuvers matters so that Jasper dies in a car accident in which Q drove. Instead of reaching the pearly gates, the fires of hell, or a bureaucratic weigh station, Jasper finds himself inside the bodies of fellow teen Jarhead and then that of EMT Larry Bishop. He learns he was possessed by a Mogran (demons) demon who succeeded in converting Jasper into one of them. However, the teen retains much of his human traits and detests jumping from host to host because each time the mind of the body he leaves behind changes for the worse following their experience with possession.

Khartoum based Ilena Magdalen was once possessed by a demon; under his control she committed atrocities that leave her thirsting for vengeance against the Mogran race As the Huntress, she is dedicated to the genocide of all demons on earth. When she learns her current target Leo is in upstate New York, she goes there to kill him and feels no remorse if his host dies too. For that matter transformed Jasper can also become a collateral damage victim. Q and Jasper prepare to fight this fanatic who fails to see how humanly different the former is.

Demons are ephemeral spirits who need a body as they were once mortal and are addicted to human living. Q and Jasper are fascinating characters because each remains loyal friends even though Q killed Jasper. Ilena is totally eaten up with hatred and anger so much so the obsessed demon hunter is insane, which makes her the antagonist instead of the champion. On the other hand Leo is a Byronic antihero who cannot control his demonic addiction to human bodies. There is plenty of action in this urban fantasy, but it is the twist of the lead cast that makes BODY SURFING more than a peck better than the usual sub-genre offering.

Harriet Klausner

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