Some forces in the world are best left alone but when sixteen-year-old Alice and her best friend Delilah decide to meddle with a Ouija board, all Hell literally breaks loose. Alice is your well-to-do typical teenager—good grades, stays out of trouble, and to her knowledge, has a loving family—despite her mother’s addiction to prescription pills—and faith in God, which will surely be put to the test.

Naïve in the power of a name, Alice calls forth a powerful demon who takes control of her body, consumes her soul, and possesses her mind. As her family comes together to try and save Alice, the lies and sins of her parents come full circle. And Delilah, who has now lost her best friend, falls into the wrong crowd. But is she to blame or has she too been touched by the devil?

“What do you mean the old Alice? I have always been the same Alice!”

Alice: Gateway to Evil is a quick read that will appeal to readers who enjoy the occult and appreciate the world of demonology—a genre definitely not meant for the faint of heart. Although listed as a horror novel, Alice has more of a memoir-like nuance to it like the Exorcism of Emily Rose. Shockingly, there wasn’t any one moment that was remotely even suspenseful, let alone horrifying as the story mainly addresses one’s morality as author Kerie Belas works through the lineup of characters divulging their ongoing sins.

Alice isn’t an easy read with its often awkward formal use of characters citing each other’s first names in almost every sentence of dialogue from cover-to-cover. Not to mention, the absence of quotation marks—used specifically to create a smooth flow of dialogue and prevents the overuse of first names—deprives the story of its natural flow and should always be used unless having properly mastered their non-use, such as the late author James Joyce.

With her extensive background in the occult and demonology, Belas has great potential to mold Alice into a phenomenal horror novel with greater appeal should she simply revisit the story and put it through several more thorough revisions.

Albeit a rough read, don’t discredit Alice as a book not worthy to top your To-Be-Read pile. Its demon premise is a refreshing change from the typical Vampire and Zombie craze and I know I’ll be keeping an eye out on Kerie Belas as she wields great potential in wrapping readers in a world of demonology and the occult and sucking them in for life.