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The Case Against Satan by Ray Russell

The Case Against Satan (1962)

by Ray Russell

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1065178,678 (3.63)8
Teenager Susan Garth was "a clean-talking sweet little girl" of high school age before she started having "fits"-a sudden aversion to churches and a newfound fondness for vulgarity. Then one night, she strips in front of the parish priest and sinks her nails into his throat. If not madness, then the answer must be demonic possession. To vanquish the Devil, Bishop Crimmings recruits Father Gregory Sargent, a younger priest with a taste for modern ideas and brandy. As the two men fight not just the darkness tormenting Susan but also one another, a soul-chilling revelation lurks in the shadows-one that knows that the darkest evil goes by many names.… (more)

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Showing 5 of 5
I was torn about whether or not I liked this or not. It's entertaining, and a quick read, but in the end, I have to say it's not actually good. My problem is mostly in the frankly ludicrous way the priests and bishops speak to each other. Their speech includes many clumsy explanations of Catholic theology. The most egregious example being when one explains to a *Bishop* the concept of transubstantiation. The dude is a bishop, he knows what that is without a priest explaining it. But the author is clearly trying to clumsily explain the concepts for non-Catholic readers who may not know them.

I also echo the reviewer who said the story ends much too neatly, with everyone getting a more or less happy endings, with all or almost all the loose ends easily tied up. ( )
  ajdesasha | Nov 8, 2019 |
Susan Garth has been unable to attend mass for some time. Nausea overcomes her whenever she gets too close to the church. Her behavior has also been erratic, quarrelsome, and, at least once, obscene. Her father is dead set against a psychiatrist and so he asks the parish priest for help.

The priest is a recent transfer and has to battle with his modern sensibilities to believe in the evil that has taken over the girl. The page count is low, but the characters represent a neat cross-section of American Catholics in the early '60s. There was a lunatic pamphleteer, too, representing the very real prejudice Catholics still faced in that time.

I have not read 'The Exorcist', but many elements from the film version are present. Russell brings the devil in to modern times. Many have borrowed Russell's methods, but this still is genuinely scary. ( )
1 vote ManWithAnAgenda | Oct 1, 2019 |
This one was disturbing and weird. I can't say it was 'fun' in the usual sense, I mean it is a horror novel and I don't know how much of the Catholicism is based in faction or fiction, but it was fun in that way that disturbing movies like the Exorcist are.
It did have a few dated notions and lines that had me rolling my eyes - the reason for the lost star, but overall it's one I'll probably reread. I would definitely recommend this around Halloween or if you like movies like The Exorcist or Rosemary's Baby. ( )
2 vote Adilinaria | Aug 11, 2017 |
All Hail the Lord and Master Satan. ( )
  librarylord99 | Apr 19, 2016 |
Salacious twaddle.
2 vote SomeGuyInVirginia | Oct 21, 2015 |
Showing 5 of 5
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