Demons, the Great White North and the Blind Detective

Fiction - Science Fiction
294 Pages
Reviewed on 03/08/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Demons, the Great White North and the Blind Detective by Shawn Adair Johnston is a modern-age Sherlock Holmes with supernatural elements and high-tech innovation. Set in the year 2080 when flying cars are real, and the world is far more advanced than it is now, the story follows Peter Straw (the blind detective) and his intelligently augmented seeing-eye dog Watson as they work on their biggest case yet. Someone or something is brutally murdering people and their companions in Inuit villages. Peter and Watson join law enforcement to figure out who is behind the killings and then do whatever it takes to stop them before it is too late. Can the famous detective team get the job done or will they become a victim of the killer as well?

The cover of the novel is deceptively simple, but the story is anything but that. The novel is surprisingly existential at times while always focusing on the mystery at hand. The synergy between Watson and Peter is fantastic. Watson is something special and not just because he is intelligently augmented. He is the eyes and ears of Peter; he sees what Peter cannot and then works with Peter to get the answers they desperately need to solve this case. Author Shawn Adair Johnston beautifully integrates murder mystery and science fiction to develop an entertaining story. I would not be surprised if this becomes a movie one day because it has the potential. The author lays the foundation of the story on the idea of soulless humans and immortal souls. The author is a genius with words. He knows which characters to boost, which characters should take a step back, and when to let the descriptions take the lead. I loved the dry humor and the intensity of the chase. This is perfect!

K.C. Finn

Demons, The Great White North and the Blind Detective is a work of fiction in the science fiction and adventure subgenres. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author Shawn Adair Johnston. The book continues the adventures of Peter Straw, a blind detective with an augmented seeing-eye dog named Watson, as he struggles to prevent conflict from breaking out in the Arctic when an Inuit teenager, a rogue A.I., and a demon start threatening the lives of local villagers. Facing threats both ancient and cutting edge, Straw must navigate the icy world to understand the threat and find peace for everyone.

Science fiction should always be pushing itself and its readers to ask big questions about the world in which it exists, and author Shawn Adair Johnston doesn’t shy away from this legacy with this novel. Asking questions about the nature of the soul itself and what having one means for a creature, this book doesn’t waste an ounce of potential in exploring the idea as the story unfolds. Peter Straw is a fascinating and compelling lead character and his unusual relationship with his dog Watson makes for some witty relief from the larger philosophical ideas on show throughout the book, a masterstroke of pacing that keeps the debate easy to digest for readers. Overall, I'd highly recommend Demons, The Great White North and the Blind Detective as a compelling thriller with high stakes and excellently considered supporting characters scattered throughout. It explores deep and complex philosophical and moral questions without allowing the heaviness of the ideas to slow the story down.

Pikasho Deka

Demons, the Great White North and the Blind Detective by Shawn Adair Johnston is a sci-fi/fantasy novel set in the future where augmented animals and sentient AIs have become a reality. Famous blind Detective Peter Straw and his augmented seeing eye dog, Watson, are once again called to action when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) seek their help in investigating violent attacks on Inuit villages at the Arctic coast. As it turns out, the perpetrator is a former bullied teenager who finds himself in the company of a corrupt sentient computer named Playboy. While Playboy plots to bring the world to the brink of all-out nuclear war, a Shaman of an Inuit village accidentally summons an ancient demon from another dimension that threatens to seek dominion over humankind.

Demons, the Great White North and the Blind Detective covers a mix of genres, from sci-fi and crime to fantasy, and keeps you entertained from start to finish. Author Shawn Adair Johnston incorporates theoretical scientific concepts, theology, and philosophy into the story, giving the narrative an added layer of depth that makes it all the more compelling to read. The characters are colorful as ever, with Peter and Watson taking the role of primary protagonists. Despite the large cast, the characters feel well-developed and easy to relate to. The plot takes a while to get going, but the narrative picks up the pace significantly by the final stretch of the tale. Overall, I enjoyed it and recommend it to fans of sci-fi and fantasy alike.

Vincent Dublado

In Demons, the Great White North and the Blind Detective by Shawn Adair Johnston, you are treated to forces from the most speculative of science and fantasy fiction, but they are easy to comprehend. In this futuristic novel, the blind detective Peter Straw and his intellectually-augmented seeing eye dog Watson assist the Royal Mounted Canadian Police in investigating the brutal attacks against Inuit villages. What they will discover is a threat to humanity that involves Anantok, an abused Inuit teenager; Playboy, a rogue A.I. who has the gift of gab; Kalupalik, an ancient demon who is excited by the idea of allying with a powerful machine intelligence. At the heart of this brewing threat are philosophical questions that are begging to be answered: Do humans possess immortal souls? If so, might an intellectually augmented animal or independent A.I. also possess the same? Playboy seems to believe that a superior AI like him has the right to determine humanity’s future.

Shawn Adair Johnston understands the importance of logic when telling a highly speculative story. The composition of his narrative becomes essential to the role of the storyline, especially when science, fantasy, and crime blend like a chiaroscuro to bring out that much-needed intensity. Johnston’s approach has that beautiful balance between emotion and intellect. You reserve your sympathy for the unfair treatment that Anantok receives. At the same time, you are fascinated by the way Playboy engages in an intelligent conversation. An added treat to the characterization is the dog Watson, whose presence in the story is as effective as the way canine characters appear in Dean Koontz’s stories. It has fluid pacing that doesn’t lose you at any point. Demons, the Great White North and the Blind Detective contains a considerable degree of heat that will appeal to the emotional and intellectual senses of fantasy and sci-fi buffs.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Demons, the Great White North and the Blind Detective by Shawn Adair Johnston is a sci-fi thriller. Inuit villages on the Arctic coast of Canada are under attack, and not just from human sources. An abused teenager is on the rampage while a rogue AI and an ancient demon are heaping their own misery on the lives of innocent villagers. The RCMP is on the case with Detective Peter Shaw, a bind detective accompanied by his seeing-eye dog, Watson. The big question is, which way does the detective go first? In a story that takes us into a possible future, the furies of the present-day clash with those of a deep and dark past, and the lines between good and evil become blurred. Will the evil entities form a terrifying alliance? Can a rogue AI really think for itself? Shaw and Watson are on borrowed time to save the villagers from destruction – can they do it or will evil win out and change the world forever?

Demons, The Great White North and the Blind Detective by Shawn Adair Johnston is a very different kind of story. Part sci-fi, part crime thriller, it offers a tantalizing, potentially horrific glimpse into what the future may hold. This is a gripping story with a pretty diverse mixture of characters, a unique combination that works well. Every character is developed well in a way that makes them relatable and likable (even the evil ones) and each has a definite role to play in this story. The plot is thick with action and plenty of twists and turns that keep you guessing and some heart-thumping moments that will have you on the edge of your seat. Aside from the plot, it's nice to see a story showing that disabilities shouldn’t hold you back. With the right kind of support and mindset, we can all achieve anything we set our minds to. A thrilling tale. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from Mr. Johnston.