The Survivor by Dennis Parry

The Survivor (Valancourt 20th Century Classics) - Dennis Parry, Mark Valentine


This book was both a good read and a slow read. Let me tell you about it.


This was a story about the possession of a young girl by her devious uncle. Said uncle, James, was world renowned for his skills as a physician, but even he could not escape the deadly virus that took his life. He was such a jerk to everyone, that when he died most people were just plain relieved.


Here is what I liked about the book: even though it was written back in 1940, I found the dialogue easy to read and very funny at times. The wit was often razor sharp and at times just a quick pinprick of humor. The prose style was wonderful and I had no problems picturing the characters and getting a feel for them all, most especially the horrible aunt, Eva. I loved Olive at the beginning of the story and I very much enjoyed the character of Delia Pond. She seemed to be the only character in this book with a lick of common sense.


Here is what I disliked: the pacing. Oh man, the pacing. I can't get too deep into this explanation, but at one point, I was considering giving up on this book. There were a few characters that were being just plain stupid. So stupid that their actions didn't ring true for me. How long can something be right in front of someone's face, without them finally admitting that something weird is going on? (This could be a result of all the movies and books that we have today regarding possessions. I'm sure that,  in the 1940s,  it was more of a rare subject.)


Back to things I liked: the ending of this book kicked ass. I didn't see it coming until the last possible moment. In fact, the denouement did shock me as the book was relatively tame, for a possession story, right up until that moment. I love when that happens.


Overall, I enjoyed this book and I appreciate that the generous gentlemen over at Valancourt Books provided me with a free copy. I wish that I could provide a review that was a little more enthusiastic, but I promised an honest review and that is what I have written here.


Recommended for a wintry day when you can read and enjoy at your leisure!