Review: Jonathan Janz – Exorcist Falls

Review: Jonathan Janz – Exorcist Falls


Genre: Horror
Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
Publication Date: 15th March 2017
Pages: 458




A copy of Exorcist Falls was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the publishers, Sinister Grin Press, in exchange for an honest review, This is said review.

Exorcism stories are all the rage right now, marked by The Exorcist on Netflix and the films of the past decade: The Conjuring, The Possession, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Rite, The Vatican Tapes, etc. etc. Exorcist Falls (and its accompanying novella, Exorcist Road), add to the exorcism excitement in an interesting way. Both the novel and the novella begin with a quote from Blatty’s The Exorcist, and a reader is led to spot similarities between the iconic 1971 book and Janz’s stories. Both contain teenage possession, both contain the obligatory old priest/young priest duo, both contain issues of doubt and faith and questions about why a loving God would allow evil. Yet Janz veers from the course by adding a serial killer story, along with a crime fighting priest, who was reminiscent of Daredevil in the sense that he brought hope to others through his own darkness. 

Exorcist Falls could be read without reading Exorcist Road, but you wouldn’t want to. Exorcist Road takes its time in familiarizing readers with the protagonist, Father Jason Crowder, along with the Hartman family who will factor largely in both stories. Father Crowder took a vow of celibacy largely because he has problems with women. He is attracted to them, but has difficulties with intimacy due to a childhood episode with his mother that would have left Freud scratching his head in terms of finding therapeutic release. Crowder is also uncomfortable in his role as exorcist, mostly due to his inexperience, but also due to his guilt over his fantasies regarding the possessed boy’s mother.

Exorcist Road takes place mostly within the Hartman home. Janz does a superb job of making the story seem larger and more foreboding than the single setting that houses it. Exorcist Falls takes the story out into the larger world, thereby raising the stakes.

Exorcist Falls picks up where Exorcist Road leaves off, with Crowder trying to keep his dark secrets safely hidden, while chasing one of the worst serial killers Chicago has ever seen. Crowder is able to deliver hope to the people around him, despite the sinful temptations that he desperately fights to overcome. What I really appreciated about the sequel is that Janz wrote it as if you had already read Exorcist Road. He did not waste time rehashing old points or re-introducing characters. This is vital with the two being packaged together.

The action in Exorcist Falls is relentless. There was not a single lag, or a moment for a reader to catch one’s breath. Yet, Janz allows for moments of character introspection in the midst of the dizzying pace. The violence is quite gory; Janz does not hesitate to take his time describing gruesome acts.  That said, there was no violence simply for the sake of violence. I have no stomach for torture porn, and I was quite comfortable reading this book, as the violence furthered the plot and was nestled in between scenes that contained a loving attention to language and character development.

There is a great deal of praise circling Janz as a story teller and it is clear why. He is a deft writer. He is able to provide terrifying chills in a sophisticated manner. I simply could not stop reading. The ending took me off guard and left room for another foray into the demonic world that torments Father Crowder and those around him. If you are a fan of Jack Ketchum or very early Clive Barker, Janz should be on your reading list. If you enjoy a supernatural horror story, then I highly recommend the one-two punch of Exorcist Road and Exorcist Falls.


General rating:

Horror rating:


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Book Synopsis:

Chicago is gripped by terror. The Sweet Sixteen Killer is brutally murdering young women, and the authorities are baffled.

When the police are called to an affluent home in the middle of the night, they learn that a seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy has attacked his family. The boy exhibits signs of demonic possession, and even more troublingly, he knows too much about the Sweet Sixteen killings. Father Jason Crowder, a young priest assigned to the case, must marshal his courage in order to save the boy and the entire city from the forces of evil.

But this is a darkness mankind has never encountered before. It craves more than blood. And it won’t rest until it possesses Father Crowder’s soul.

This volume brings together the original novella that started it all—Exorcist Road—and an all-new full-length novel (Exorcist Falls) for a shattering experience in supernatural terror.




Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, and in a way, that explains everything. Brian Keene named his debut novel The Sorrows “the best horror novel of 2012.” The Library Journal deemed his follow-up, House of Skin, “reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story.”

In 2013 Samhain Horror published his novel of vampirism and demonic possession The Darkest Lullaby, as well as his serialized horror novel Savage Species. Of Savage Species Publishers Weekly said, “Fans of old-school splatterpunk horror–Janz cites Richard Laymon as an influence, and it shows–will find much to relish.” Jonathan’s Kindle Worlds novel Bloodshot: Kingdom of Shadows marked his first foray into the superhero/action genre.

Jack Ketchum called his vampire western Dust Devils a “Rousing-good weird western,” and his sequel to The Sorrows (Castle of Sorrows) was selected one of 2014’s top three novels by Pod of Horror. His newest release is called The Nightmare Girl. He has also written four novellas (Exorcist Road, The Clearing of Travis Coble, Old Order, and Witching Hour Theatre) and several short stories.

His primary interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children, and though he realizes that every author’s wife and children are wonderful and amazing, in this case the cliché happens to be true.

And for more about Jonathan, visit his site or find him on social media:

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