The Case Against Satan

The Case Against Satan : Foreword by Laird Barron

3.64 (529 ratings by Goodreads)
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By the 20th century, the centuries-old Roman Catholic exorcism ritual for combatting demonic possession was all but dead, eviscerated by the ascent of modern science and rationalism. But Ray Russell's 1962 novel, The Case Against Satan, set the stage for a proliferation of exorcisms on page, screen, and even bizarrely, in real life.

Just a few weeks ago, Susan Garth was "a very good girl, a clean-talking sweet little girl" of high school age. But that was before she started having "fits"-a sudden aversion to churches and a newfound fondness for vulgarity. If not madness, then the answer must be demonic possession, for which there is only one response: exorcism.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 130 x 197 x 12mm | 133g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0143107275
  • 9780143107279
  • 214,089

Review Text

"A sleek, compelling tale of diabolical possession that prefigures Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby."
-Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

"With gripping clarity and incisive wit, Russell weaves a suspenseful plot that's more of an intellectual thriller than a horror yarn. And at a time when there are still massive ideological battles being waged between science and religion - not to mention a Pope in the Vatican who's interpreting Catholic doctrine in a way that's inspiring to some and feather-ruffling to others - The Case Against Satan retains its harrowing, relevant edge."

"There's nothing lurid or sensationalist here . . . just some good scares and a hell of a tale told with economy and wit."
-The Chicago Times

"Provocative, shocking, moving."
-Kirkus Reviews

"[A] sincere and subtle tale of ultimate evil that feels less dated than many of the works it inspired."
-The Seattle Times

"What cannot be doubted is importance of Ray Russell's novel. It was a predecessor of many famous fictions involving exorcisms, a subject all but forgotten at the time. This book began a sub-genre of literature and is arguably its finest example. It is a well-written and accessible work that is delightfully full of careful nuance, yet free from weighty judgments and pesky dogmatic diatribes. But, most of all, it is a fantastic horror story. Instead of watching The Exorcist for the umpteenth time this Halloween season, read this short but thought-provoking and dramatic novel instead."
-Portland Book Review
"Russell links postpulp literature and the Grand Grand Guignol tradition with the modern sensibilities of America in the 1960s...[He is] a fascinating combination of the liberal and the heretic."
-Guillermo del Toro
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Review quote

Provocative, shocking, moving * Kirkus Reviews * [Sardonicus is] perhaps the finest example of the modern gothic ever written -- Stephen King Russell links postpulp literature and the Grand Grand Guignol tradition with the modern sensibilities of America in the 1960s... a fascinating combination of the liberal and the heretic -- Guillermo del Toro
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About Ray Russell

RAY RUSSELL was born in 1924 in Chicago, Illinois, and served in the United States Air Force during World War II in the South Pacific. After the war, he attended the Chicago Conservatory of Music and eventually joined the editorial staff at Playboy, where he published such writers as Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Matheson, Jack Finney, Robert Bloch, and Charles Beaumont. His best-known work, 'Sardonicus', was called by Stephen King 'perhaps the finest example of the modern Gothic ever written'. He died in Los Angeles in 1999.
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Rating details

529 ratings
3.64 out of 5 stars
5 14% (74)
4 44% (233)
3 35% (186)
2 6% (30)
1 1% (6)
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