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Boddekker's Demons
Joe Clifford Faust
Bantam Spectra, 293 pages

Boddekker's Demons
Joe Clifford Faust
Joe Clifford Faust's first book was A Death of Honor. He followed it with The Company Man, then the Angel's Luck trilogy, made up of Desperate Measures, Precious Cargo and The Essence of Evil. Then came Ferman's Devils.

Joe Clifford Faust Website

Past Feature Reviews
A review by James Seidman

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Boddekker's Demons is the second book of Joe Clifford Faust's Pembroke Hall series, the first being Ferman's Devils. Pembroke Hall refers to the advertising agency where Boddekker works as a writer. In Ferman's Devils, an eponymous street gang attacks Boddekker and threatens to kill him. Boddekker offers to feature them in a television spot for a laundry detergent in a deal to save his life.

In Boddekker's Demons, the success of the Devils' advertisement has left Pembroke Hall dizzy with success. Many of the agency's clients now want the Devils as part of their campaigns. Boddekker himself is the rising star of the agency, who can do no wrong with management or clients. He has a beautiful girlfriend from Accounting, the respect of every street gang and advertiser in New York, and every indication that he will become a very rich man.

There is one problem. Actually, four problems: the Devils themselves. Being a street gang, they tend towards violent behavior. They leave a path of beaten or dead people in their wake. Their fame and stardom leads to a host of imitators and a general rise in gang activity. Boddekker, as the person who "discovered" the Devils, finds himself spending more time covering up their misdeeds than writing advertisements.

Feeling terrible about the problems the Devils are causing, he sets out to bring about the Devils' downfall. Fighting a losing battle against the public's love of the gang, Pembroke Hall's amoral leadership, and his girlfriend's desire to see him succeed, he hatches plot after plot to undo the gang's influence.

This book is, at once, very funny and very sad. If you have ever watched the movie Network, you know how disturbing it is to hear a story about people giving the public what they really want. While the writing itself is a fanciful and humorous first-person narrative, the underlying story is a disturbingly plausible parody of modern fame and commercialism.

Boddekker's Demons makes for very light and enjoyable reading. While Bantam Spectra classifies this book as science fiction, it is more about advertising. Except for a few futuristic products and the fact that downloads have replaced magazines, this story could take place today. And that makes the story even more disturbing and relevant.

Copyright © 1997 James Seidman

James Seidman is co-founder and president of a small start-up company, which means that getting review copies of books is the only way he can afford to indulge his craving for science fiction. He lives with his wife, daughter, two dogs, and twenty-seven fish in Naperville, Illinois.


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