Hidden Demon

Front Cover
Taz Lake, Oct 20, 2021 - Fiction - 346 pages

Every politician has a plan until the demon comes.

An atmospheric thriller that weaves climate change into a story about outcast government agents tracking a mysterious political assassin akin to an urban legend.

When a Secret Service operation in 2044 Tokyo goes wrong, a United States Counter Assault Agent finds her career in jeopardy. To get her life back, she partners with a fellow operative and scapegoat from Japan for a covert Presidential mission. Soon after, strange attacks on politicians compel them down a twisted trail to the Shenandoah Forest as they hunt a monstrosity born from indigenous legends. Nicknamed 'The Demon' by locals, they must discern fairytale from foe before another assault. Global threats brewing in the Virginia mountains may alter warfare forever unless they outlive their search and what they discover.


What is your novel about?

Hidden Demon is an action novel about how far humanity goes to maintain the status quo for fear of change. It is a story about the only woman member of the elite US Secret Service Counter Assault Team. The story centers on her relationships and how she processes them during her missions. Fear. Understanding. Compassion. Humor. Anger. Revenge. She experiences them all, and it makes her a different person.

What is the style of the novel? What can readers expect?

There are elements of Tom Clancy and Stephen King with a touch of Michael Crichton and Robin Cook, but fluff is minimal. I always write to expedite the read. I run the novel like a movie in my mind and want readers to enjoy the story, characters, and visuals without getting bogged down in unnecessary detail. I think fans of political thrillers will appreciate it most, followed by science fiction and techno fans. Horror fans should also enjoy it since those components are there, but they are a smaller percentage. The story is intense and falls into the Adult Fiction category. There is swearing, drinking, death, and hints of sex, but you'll learn so much along the way.

Who is your favorite character in Hidden Demon? Who was the most difficult to write?

My favorite character this time around is Ko. He uses silence as a weapon and kicks only the rears that require it. He's a gentle giant and always there for Dee, deferring to her leadership. He is the epitome of a supporting character. The most difficult to write was Penny. She enters later in the novel. Though she presents herself as the love interest, she has many layers. Getting through them all coherently is a challenge. She is the second most complex character in the novel behind Dee.

Tell me more about the main character.

When I first started, I didn't have Dee's character profile completely fleshed out. I knew her relationship with her dad was a problem and that she hated baseball and hunting. I thought she might be from Georgia, since that's where I live right now, but I decided on Louisiana with an ancestry through the Caribbean. As characters speak, I let them author the story. I know that sounds odd, but my conversations with her, and all the characters, feed what ends up on the page. She has miles of experience as former military SpecOps and knowledge through her college education. She's vegetarian but drinks heavily and considers what's next in her mid-30's. This speaks to the dissatisfaction with her current life, which she oddly can't admit. Her reactions to Ko, her partner on the mission, and discomfort with small towns led me to ask questions. What led her to be this way? Why did she leave? Even though the story takes place twenty years from now, in the world I've created the perspectives in small town America have changed little.

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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Hidden Demon by Fish Phillips is a futuristic action thriller designed to keep you breathless and unsettled until the last page. The year is 2044
. Despite taking a bullet for the U.S. president, Secret Service Agent Dee Johnson is considered a failure in her mission because of the multiple casualties resulting from the assassination attempt. It was deemed tactical but with no strategy or vision. While recuperating from her wounds, she meets with her immediate superior and learns that she is fired. While adjusting to civilian life, she discovers that a conspiracy was at work to have her kicked out of the service. Meanwhile, a string of bizarre attacks on politicians is taking place. It is believed to be the workings of a demon that stems from an urban legend. With another disgraced agent, Ko Hashimoto, Johnson tracks the demon in the Shenandoah Forest to determine whether such a monster exists or some corrupt entities are at work.
Fish Phillips is very accurate yet cautious in how he parses out information leading to the mystery that builds the plot. You will find yourself empathizing with Johnson at the very start and having difficulty identifying who to trust. Phillips delivers an atmospheric thriller and uses a unique idea rarely explored in fiction. The idea of using urban legends in warfare has long been a psychological tactic used to demoralize target enemies. You take it scene by scene, become a captive audience, and let the characters’ intelligence and emotions unravel the unanswered questions that lead to their redemption. Most of all, Hidden Demon is a fast-paced thriller in which the elements of fear and intrigue blend well together. To anyone looking for a thriller with a brilliant storyline, I highly recommend Hidden Demon.

About the author (2021)

Fish Phillips was born and raised as the son of an enlisted Marine.After attending high school in Hawaii, and top universities elsewhere, a genre-defying career path led him to writing. Over decades he has served as a technology founder, medical researcher, college professor, web developer, screenwriter, filmmaker, program manager, and artist. His academic background in science, art, cultural anthropology, and theology enables him to render rich worlds accessible to broad audiences. As a multi-platform creator, his ambition is to share unique, high-concept stories with readers to delight, entertain, and cultivate curiosity. Based in Atlanta, he lives with his engineer wife and a teenage daughter who mocks him with "Look at daddy signing books like he's famous.

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