BY NICO VREELAND
[We’re pulling JABBIC back to a monthly schedule. Look for the next one in October. Find previous installments here. And you can suggest covers we should use, or volunteer to write a blurb, by emailing us here.]
JABBIC is kind of like Balderdash with book covers. Based only on the cover at right, four of our contributors made up a one-paragraph premise for this week’s contestant, Pandemonium, by Daryl Gregory. Can you reverse-engineer their fabrications and pick out the book’s real plot? (The answer will be posted in the comments later today.)
1. Were early American naturalists actually members of a secret Satanic cult? When NYU art major Chelsea Robards discovers a hidden series of three sixes in a William Bliss Baker painting, she launches a personal investigation through America’s art museums. Fighting through cover ups and death threats, Chelsea uncovers long-held secrets that, if revealed, would shake America’s artistic foundation to its core. Should Chelsea share the horrors she’s discovered? Will she even live long enough to do so? In this searing portrait of an American artistic movement, Daryl Gregory has created a work that is part alternate history, part Dan Brown-like thriller … and all evil.
2. Greg Daniels has spent his life dealing with Tourrette syndrome. But when he enrolls in a painting class at the local community college Greg’s twitching subsides into smooth and careful brush strokes. While Greg excels at his newfound pastime, he is about to discover a dark truth—that the scenes in his paintings are the sites of future murders.
3. When he discovers an idyllic countryside, failed artist Adolf Swinesburg believes he has found the subject that will finally allow his work to grace the walls of the local coffee-shop-slash-independent-gallery. His paintings don’t improve, but one day he realizes his beloved calligraphy brush from Japan has gone missing. A search of a seemingly innocuous farm house reveals a family of nymphs who love to play harmless tricks on their human neighbors– or so it seems, until Adolf stumbles upon the body of a long-missing poet.
4. A long time ago, artists had powers. Sculptors could create life, musicians could cast spells, and painters could shape—or destroy—the very fabric of the world. Young Lorence Polike is thrown out of his house at age ten, when he accidentally crafts a minor demon out of mud. Now, alone and forced to sculpt more demons just to survive, he’ll set out to find the most legendary magic artist of all: Leonardo da Vinci. The epic quest might save his life—if it doesn’t kill him first.
5. In this fascinating alternative time line, thousands of demon possessions have been carefully recorded by scientists each year since the 1950s. Each case is always the same: a recognizable, named strain of the disorder possesses a person, wreaks havoc and then jumps on to its next victim. Del Pierce’s case is unique: when the Hellion possessed him at the age of five, it never left. Now an unhappy 20-something, Del undertakes a dangerous quest to exorcise the Hellion as it fights him for control. Readers will delve deeply into Gregory’s highly original demon-infested reality and hope for a sequel.