The Devil's Bible
by Craig Conrad

"He wouldn’t talk about it, but reading between the lines, it was like Paul was playing a game of angels and demons... "

Occult detectives have been around in fiction since 1840 or before. Some say Pliny the Younger penned a tale of a Roman ghost-hunting detective around AD 100. Other famous sleuths of the supernatural include Blackwood's clairvoyant John Silence, Hodgson's ghost-finding Carnacki, Stoker's vampire-hunter Dr. Van Helsing, and Rice's Kolchak, known as the Night Stalker. Conrad's professional private eye Paul Rice joins these famous gumshoes with his search for a lethal book penned by the devil.

Rice, a former post office employee, is an interesting character of contrasts: hard-boiled yet urbane, tender-hearted yet a lady-killer, cynical yet a Midwestern boy raised in America's heartland. Cash poor, he accepts a lucrative missing person's case, not knowing the dangers ahead from Satanists, Nazis, skinheads, and the Nephilim. Chapters whisk from villain to villain, bustling with kidnappings, gruesome murders, suicides, and deception. Conrad cleverly plants Germany's use of geomancy in WW II into the tightly twisted plot. Scraps of humor brighten the darkness: "Milwaukee Marble" is linoleum, and ghosts can "cop a feel."

Ten additional Paul Rice novels exist and probably explain the mystery of Durie House, the eerie, blue-glowing portal to the underworld. But the story, set in the greedy 1980s, stands on its own with vivid characters, especially the Girl Friday ghost—Phoenix Starr—as well as the demon-priest Sammael. Then, there's Rachel Marsh, a devoted eighteen-year-old Rice both nurtures and desires, which brilliantly contrasts his noble side with his innate sexual magnetism.

Conrad combines a fresh spin on the paranormal investigator with a wickedly twisted journey through a fast-paced, character-packed, supernatural riddle. A pied piper of women, Rice uses his supernatural gifts reluctantly, although there is nothing unearthly about his love of money. The real value of the "Devil's Bible," revealed only at the end, will surprise.

Return to USR Home