by Michael Siemsen
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Frederick is a demon. Born in Maryland in the early 1980's, he hasn't a clue where he came from or why, but feels an irresistible desire to occupy a human body. Once inside, he finds the previous occupants' consciousness and memories forever erased, an inevitable side effect that gives Frederick pause when switching bodies, but not so much as to truly halt his ongoing enjoyment of human lives. In various bodies, he travels the world for decades--aimless--sampling cultures and experiencing life from the points of view of males, females, young, old, rich, poor. Now, Frederick has an urge to return to his roots in America, explore the mystery of his origin, find someone to love, and settle down for a while. In his hometown, his mission bears fruit much faster than he expected, as person after person presents themselves, and following his impulses, he is lead directly to love, tragedy, answers, and the humanity he never knew he wanted.
A Warm Place to Call Home by Michael Siemsen is a glimpse into the life of Frederick. Frederick is a demon who came into existence in the eighties. Told in first person, he shares with us his experiences as he possesses a man name Joseph Cling in his search for love. Unique, shocking and wonderfully paced I could not but this odd little tale down and consumed it in a single evening. Three-word review: different, intriguing and twists.
From the very first pages Fredrick the demon talks to the reader. He shares his origin, the horrors, and the travels. He is in your face, brutally honest and sometimes hilariously funny. Then he shares his quest for love and his experience as Joseph Cling. The tale that unfolds has moments of romance, fear, and shock. It is in your face at times, disturbing, and wholly addicting.
Frederick is such an unusual character and has a strong voice. He shares his opinions and concerns without any buffer and doesn’t apologize for anything. At first, he wasn’t very likable, and he admits this. As we spend time with him, and the author peels back his layers we discover there is more to him then the cold, crass character he presents to us in the beginning. Frederick feels at home in Joseph’s skin, and we get to experience a lot of “firsts” with him. Melanie is the love interest, and while not as fleshed out, she was an interesting character with her own voice. Family and friends both complicate and enhance his life while adding some suspense and drama.
A Warm Place to Call Home has such a unique concept and delivery. Frederick holds nothing back as he shares this glimpse at his life as Joseph Cling. At times, it is shocking, and other times, completely sentimental. Michael Siemsen holds nothing back from the reader and sometimes, I squirmed in my seat or scrunched my nose as Fredrick shared some detail he observed. His delivery was unapologetic as he shared even the most private details with us. I was impressed with the way he revealed Fredrick to us and slowly made me feel for this demon. There were clever twists and turns that I never saw coming. I loved how it tied into things we learned in the beginning and the details all clicked in to place. The tale contains adult content including sex, violence, and language. There is a love story after all Fredrick is in search of love, but it doesn’t follow any traditional tropes. Siemsen gives us an open-ended conclusion. I think it really worked for this tale, and of course, leaves open the possibility of more tales from Fredrick.
A Warm Place to Call Home offers the reader a unique glimpse into the life of a demon, and perhaps a few life lessons. Incredibly captivating it is a tale you will remember long after you close the book.
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