All the Demons Are Here: A Novel

Image of All the Demons Are Here: A Thriller (The Charlie and Margaret Marder Mysteries)
Release Date: 
July 11, 2023
Little, Brown & Company
Reviewed by: 

“The use of two first-person narratives gives Tapper the opportunity to tell two parallel stories that eventually grow together at the end of the story.”

Jake Tapper’s new book, All the Demons Are Here, is a character study more than a plot-driven one.

Siblings Lucy and Ike Marder are the adult children of Senator Charlie and Margaret Marder. The book is set in the mid 1970s as the United States is weaving its way through numerous testy political pathways.

Tapper moves back and forth through his chapters in first person narratives between Lucy and Ike. Ike, the younger brother, has returned from his military deployment with a bad case of PTSD, although it was not yet diagnosed as such. The memories and nightmares are, nonetheless, real and Ike goes AWOL from the marines and finds himself in Butte, Montana, working with Evel Knievel. He remains out of touch with his family.

Lucy, the older sister, is constantly in a worried state about Ike. Where is he? Is he all right? Lucy has her own set of worries, as her position as a reporter with a major DC newspaper is not giving her the recognition she deserves; she is soon picked up by the newest paper in town, The Sentinel, owned and operated by Max Lyon.

Tapper is a name-dropper in his stories, and this one is no different. Here, however, he takes this one step further and as the reader learns more about this newspaper, it becomes apparent that perhaps a current day media mogul may be lingering somewhere in Tapper’s thoughts.

The use of two first-person narratives gives Tapper the opportunity to tell two parallel stories that eventually grow together at the end of the story.

Ike’s tale is one of hiding in the midst of numerous right-wing organizations in the Northwest, while helping Evel Knievel prepare for more outrageous displays of not exactly courage, but more stupidity. Of course, Evel’s followers love every moment of each more extreme event.

Lucy, in her new position with The Sentinel, finds herself drawn to the CEO’s son, Harry, a handsome and self-confident young man who is likewise drawn to Lucy. It is not until she begins her first story about women being murdered, that Lucy realizes how she is being used by those who run the paper. The unimaginable wealth to which she is exposed is difficult to move away from, not to mention the handsome heir.

With each “Ike” narrative, he is drawn deeper into Knievel’s plans and a worrisome relationship with right wing organizations. He realizes there is something pulling him back home to the life in DC that he abhors, and yet what, if any, alternatives present themselves?

And Lucy is wrestling with her own demons—being used by a tabloid on the one hand, and worrying about Ike on the other.

The two parallel stories begin to move closer together when Ike’s hero, Elvis Presley, dies and the Knievel group goes to Graceland to pay homage, while at the same time Evel has decided he should run for president. As the group prepares to march on Washington, Evel reads a defamatory book about himself, and in a fury ignores Washington and heads to Los Angeles for revenge on the author.

The Knievel group, in the meantime, decides to continue to Washington, but the plan has evolved to take over the city. Ike has determined by now to make amends with his family and knows they are at a Republican conference on Pitchfork (Trinity) Island off the Carolinas.

As Ike leaves the group, and travels to the island, he quickly learns that the group has also decided to move their plan to the island, where they will destroy the Republican party in attendance.

At the same time, Lucy is rethinking her relationship with The Sentinel and she joins her parents at the island where Max, Harry, and the rest of the media family are also in attendance.

Here, the parallel stories become one, when the murders Lucy has been reporting on and the attempted overthrows against the high-ranking Republicans is put into motion and Ike and Lucy must save the Party and expose the killer.

It should be noted here that the pace of the first part of the story is slow, although the reader will understand that the information is necessary to get to the meat of the story at the end. The pace picks up once the stories meld together.

This slow pace at the beginning is, perhaps, due to Tapper’s excessive overuse of footnotes. He employs this creative technique (that is primarily a nonfiction devce) to detail events and individuals from this era. He would be better off assuming that his readers have a good knowledge of these events and persons, or that at least, if they are curious enough, they can Google for their information. As the story moves, thankfully, Tapper stops using footnotes.

On the whole, it’s a good story and a good read.