Author: William Peter Blatty.
Genre: Fiction, horror, religion, occult, crime, mystery.
Publication Date: 1983.
Summary: A sequel to The Exorcist, taking place 12 years after the events. A young boy is found horribly murdered in a mock crucifixion. Is the murderer the elderly woman who witnessed the crime? A neurologist who can no longer bear the pain life inflicts on its victims? A psychiatrist with a macabre sense of humor and a guilty secret? A mysterious mental patient, locked in silent isolation? Lieutenant Kinderman follows a bewildering trail that links all these people, confronting a new enigma at every turn even as more murders surface. Why does each victim suffer the same dreadful mutilations? Why are two of the victims priests? Is there a connection between these crimes and another series of murders that took place 12 years ago, and supposedly ended with the death of the serial killer? And may an exorcism of a little girl long ago tie all the victims together in a horrifying climax?
My rating: 4/10.
My Review: This is by far the worst book I have ever read, which is a sad claim for it, seeing how I have read both Twilight and Son of Rosemary (note I gave it a slightly higher rating than Twilight due to the fact that it DID provide some interesting hypotheses (if you can find them among the raving nonsense) and wasn't as harmful to its target audience).
♥ He thought of death in its infinite groanings, of Aztecs ripping out living hearts and of cancer and three-year-olds buried alive and he wondered whether God was alien and cruel, but then remembered Beethoven and the dappling of things and the lark and "Hurrah for Karamazov" and kindness.
♥ And why? And why? The child's question haunted the nebulae, a thought in search of its maker that cornered reason in a dead-end maze and made Kinderman certain the materialist universe was the greatest superstition of his age.
♥ Satan left the paradox intact, a bleeding wound of the ind that never healed.
♥ "Incidentally, do you believe there will come a day when computers will be able to think?"
"I doubt it."
"Me, too. I once read some theologian was asked this question and he said that this problem would give him insomnia only when computers started to worry that maybe their parts were wearing out. My sentiments. Computers, good luck, God bless them, they're okay. But a thing made out of things cannot think about itself. Am I right? It's all ka-ka, saying mind is really brain. Sure, my hand is in my pocket. Is my pocket my hand? Every wino on M Street knows a thought is a thought and not some cells or chazerei going on in the brain. They know that jealousy is not some kind of game from Atari."
♥ He got up from his chair and moved to the window. He looked out at the city's white marble monuments washed in sunlight, warm and real. He listened to the traffic. He felt uneasy. Some darkness was stirring that he could not comprehend; yet he sensed its movement. What was it?
...Atkins shook it off. He believed in the world and men and pitied both.
♥ "Bill, the point is that right in the middle of this horror there's a creature called man who can see that it's horrible. So where do we come up with these notions like 'evil' and 'cruel' and 'unjust'? You can't say a line looks a little bit crooked unless you've got a notion of a line that's straight." The detective was trying to wave him off but the priest went on. "We're a part of the world. If it's evil, we shouldn't be thinking that it's evil. We'd be thinking that the things we call evil are just natural. Fish don't feel wet in the water. They belong there, Bill. Men don't."
♥ Was that the answer? Kinderman wondered. Was the three-dimensional universe an artificial construction designed to be entered for the working out of specific problems that could be solved in no other way? Was the problem of evil in the world by design? Did the soul put on a body as men put on diving suits in order to enter the ocean and work in the depths of an alien world? Did we choose the pain what we innocently suffered?
♥ In the human eye, there were tens of millions of electrical connections that could handle two million simultaneous messages, yet see the light of just one photon.
A human eye is found on Mars.
The human brain, three pounds of tissue, had more than a hundred billion brain cells and five hundred trillion synaptic connections. It dreamed and wrote music and Einstein's equations, it created the language and the geometry and the engines that probed the stars, and it cradled a mother asleep through a storm while it woke her at the faintest cry from her child. A computer that could handle all of its functions would cover the surface of the earth.
A human brain is found on Mars.
A brain count detect one unit of mercaptan amid fifty billion units of air, and if the human ear were any more sensitive, it would hear air molecules colliding. Blood cells lined up one at a time when faced with the constriction of a tiny vein, and the cells of the heart beat at different rhythms until they came in contact with another cell. When they touched, they began to beat as one.
A human body is found on Mars.
The hundreds of millions of years of evolution from paramecium to man didn't solve the mystery, thought Kinderman. The mystery was evolution itself. The fundamental tendency of matter was toward a total disorganization, toward a final state of utter randomness from which the universe would never recover. Each moment its connections were coming threaded, and it flung itself headlong into the void in a reckless scattering of itself, impatient for the death of its cooling suns. And yet here was evolution, Kinderman marveled, a hurricane piling up straws into haystacks, bundles of ever-increasing complexity that denied the very nature of their stuff. Evolution was a theorem written on a leaf that was floating against the direction of the river. A Designer was at work. So what else? It's as plain as can be. When a man hears hoofbeats in Central Park, he shouldn't be looking around for zebras.
♥ On the boat, when the disciples see you standing on the shore and then they realize that it's you and that you've risen from the dead? Peter's standing on the deck in the total altogether. So why not? He's a fisherman, he's young, he should enjoy. But right away he can't wait for the boat to go in, he's so excited, so beside himself with joy that it's you. So he grabs the nearest garment - do you remember this? - but he doesn't even want to take the time to pull it on. He just ties it around and jumps off the boat and then starts swimming like crazy for the shore. Is that something? Whenever I think of it, I glow! It isn't some goyischer holy picture full of reverence and stiffness and probably lies; it isn't some image being peddled, some myth. I can't believe it didn't happen. It's so human, so surprising, and so real all at once. Peter must have loved you very much.
So do I. Does that startle you? Well, it's true. That you ever existed is a thought that gives me shelter; that men could make you up is a thought that gives me hope; and the thought that you might exist even now would give me safety and a gladness that I could not contain. I would like to touch your face and make you smile. It couldn't hurt.
♥ "They say that when you're under the anesthesia," said Dyer, "your unconscious is aware of everything. It hears the doctors and the nurses talking about you. It feels the pain of the knife." Kinderman looked up from the paper and eyed him. "But when you wake up from the anesthesia, it's as if it never happened," said Dyer. "So maybe when we a go back to God, that's how it will be with all the pain of the world."
♥ "It's a mystery," said Dyer.
"It's a joke. I'll admit I played around with such a notion," said Kinderman. He leaned forward and his eyes began to sparkle. "If the sin was that scientists blew up the earth many millions of years ago with something like cobalt bombs, we would have from this tsimmis atomic mutations. Maybe this creates the viruses that make sickness, maybe even messes up the whole physical environment so that now there comes earthquakes and natural catastrophes. As for men, they get altogether crazy and farmischt and they turn into monsters from the horrible mutations; they start eating meat, like the animals as well, and all this going to the bathroom and liking rock and roll. They can't help it. It's genetic. Even God cannot help it. The sin is a condition that's passed through the genes."
"What if every an born was really once a part of Adam?" asked Dyer. "I mean physically - actually one of the cells of his body?"
♥ "Pain is strange," said Amfortas broodingly. "About two percent of the people relieved of a long-standing pain develop serious mental disturbance as soon as that pain is taken away. There have also been experiments with dogs," he continued, "with rather peculiar implications." Amfortas proceeded to describe for the detective a series of experiments in 1957 in which Scottish terriers were raised in isolation cages from infancy to maturity, so that they were deprived of environmental stimuli, including even the most minor of knocks and scrapes that might cause them discomfort. When fully grown, painful stimuli were applied, but the dogs did not respond in a normal manner. Many of them poked their noses into a flaming match, withdrew reflexively and then immediately sniffed at the flame again. When the flame was inadvertently snuffed out, the dogs would continue to react as before to a second, or even a third, flaming match. Others did not sniff at the match at all, but made no effort to avoid its flame when experimenters touched their noses with it any number of times. And the dogs did not react to repeated pinpricks. In contrast, the litter mates of these dogs, which had been raised in an ordinary environment, recognized possible harm so quickly that experimenters found themselves unable to touch them with the flame or the pin more than once. "Pain is very mysterious," concluded Amfortas.
♥ "And if mind is brain, then the brain has some capacities totally unnecessary for the physical survival of the body. I mean things like wonder and self-awareness. And some of us go so far as to believe that consciousness itself isn't centered in the brain. There's some reason to suspect that the whole human body, including the brain, as well as the external world itself, is all spatially situated inside consciousness. And one final thought for you, Lieutenant. It's a couplet."
"I love them."
"I love this one in particular," said Amfortas. "'If the mass of the brain were the mass of the mind, the bear would be shooting at my behind.'"
♥ "This old lady was a giant," he told him softly. "in a world where love doesn't last, she was a giant."
♥ "You know, we talk bout evil in this world and where it comes from," said Kinderman. "But how do we explain all the good? If we are nothing but molecules we would always be thinking of ourselves. So how come we are always having Gunga Dins, people giving up their lives for somebody else? And then even Harry Lime," he said with animation, "Harry Lime, who is the opposite, an evil man, even he makes a point in that scene on the ferris wheel." He was speaking of The Third Man. "That part he says about the Swiss and how after all these many centuries of peace the biggest product they have given us to date us the cuckoo clock. This is true, Atkins. Yes. He has a point. It could be that the world cannot progress without angst."
♥ "The physicists now are all certain," he said, "that all the known processes in nature were once part of a single, unified force." Kinderman paused and then spoke more quietly. "I believe that this force was a person who long ago tore himself into pieces because of his longing to shape his own being. That was the Fall," he said, "the 'Big Bang': the beginning of time and the material universe when the one became many - legion. And that is why God cannot interfere: evolution is this person growing back into himself."
The sergeant's face was a crinkle of puzzlement. "Who is this person?" he asked the detective.
"Can't you guess?" Kinderman's eyes were alive and smiling. "I have given you most of the clues long before."
Atkins shook his head and waited for the answer.
"We are the Fallen Angel," said Kinderman. "We are the Bearer of Light. We are Lucifer."