First Impression: Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts by Billy Hallowell

For hundreds of years, humans have been fascinated with the dead. Whether it’s been contacting loved ones in seances, haunted houses, or searching for a spiritual connection that will be with them in the afterlife.

This non fiction book explores the occult world of demons and ghosts but through the perspective of faith. Right away this is what attracted me to this book. I thought it would be an interesting study about what you believe and how the occult factors into that.

When I picked this one up I was interested to see how the author explored these topics and was eager to check out his writing style since he is an investigative journalist. Though I don’t read a lot of non fiction I was curious to see what direction this book went in.


“Provocative, insightful, and enlightening—a foray into an often-neglected topic that merits more attention than it typically receives.”

–Lee Strobel, New York Times bestselling author of The Case for Christ

What is Our Fascination with the Other Side?

Join investigative reporter Billy Hallowell as he delves into the strange phenomena of supernatural activity. Themes of demonic possession, exorcism, and ghosts have overtaken Hollywood, with countless films and TV shows delving into the age-old struggle against evil. But the question is why?

Even with so much focus on the topic, there seems to be very little public knowledge and discussion about the theology and real-life claims surrounding demons. Quite often, many people remain silent about their experiences or resort to quietly whispering about what they’ve seen, heard, or felt for fear of being labeled as crazy. The truth is, even pastors, priests, and clergy who have observed firsthand accounts of possession and deliverance can succumb to the strange and terrifying effects of intense spiritual warfare.

For people of faith, Playing with Fire addresses these core questions:

Are demons active today?
If they do indeed exist, what are they? Fallen angels? Nephilim?
Can demons inhabit human beings?
According to the Bible, can people die and remain behind as “ghosts”?

Playing with Fire explores the theological underpinnings surrounding the supernatural. Relying on firsthand accounts, newspaper reports, and Christian experts, Hallowell takes readers through the various views and perspectives surrounding supernatural activity. (summary from Goodreads)

First Impression

I read the first third of this book and do plan on reading the rest of it in the future as the writing is very good and I love how straight forward and to this point the author is in his prose. I did enjoy the parts that I read, though readers should be advised that this book contains strong Christian themes.

The author backs up a lot of his research with scripture from the New and Old Testament. I would say this would probably would appeal to Catholics like myself because there are references to things like The Exorcist and exorcism which is well documented in the Catholic Church. But I would say that if you are not a Christian, this one might not be for you as it had a lot of scripture and Christian themes. As a Christian this wasn’t a problem for me but I don’t know if this would appeal to a wide audience. A person of faith will enjoy this book and find that it has an interesting perspective on societies interest in the occult.

The writing was matter of fact and to the point which I enjoyed but I would have liked to have seen a little more research on some of the topics. Some of the research was from the internet which made me a little nervous but interesting nevertheless.

Book Info and Rating

Paperback, 208 pages

Published September 8th 2020 by Thomas Nelson

ISBN0785234500 (ISBN13: 9780785234500)

Free review copy provided by publisher, Thomas Nelson in partnership with TLC Book Tours, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

First Impression Rating: 3 stars

Genre: non fiction


Connect with Billy

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Instagram tour:

Monday, September 21st: @jessicamap

Tuesday, September 22nd: @sweetbookobsession

Wednesday, September 23rd: @bookpairings

Thursday, September 24th: @_ebl_inc_

Friday, September 25th: @spookypumpkinqueen

Saturday, September 26th: @thecityofdarkclockwork

Sunday, September 27th: @fearyourex

Monday, September 28th: @ve_xo

Wednesday, September 30th: @one.chapteratatime

Thursday, October 1st: @katieneedsabiggerbookshelf

Friday, October 2nd: @thebookend.diner

Saturday, October 3rd: @nurse_bookie

Review tour:

Monday, October 5th: Leighellen Landskov and @mommaleighellensbooknook

Tuesday, October 6th: A Dream Within a Dream

Wednesday, October 7th: @the.magicalpages

Friday, October 9th: Well Read Traveler and @wellreadtraveler

Monday, October 12th: Mom Loves Reading and @mom_loves_reading

Tuesday, October 13th: The OC Book Girl and @theocbookgirl

Wednesday, October 14th: PhDiva Blog and @thephdivabooks

Thursday, October 15th: Books Cooks Looks

Friday, October 16th: @readinggirlreviews

Monday, October 19th: Hallie Reads and @h.szott

Monday, October 19th: The Lit Bitch and @thelit_bitch

Tuesday, October 20th: Tabi Thoughts

Wednesday, October 21st: @brabsandbooks

Thursday, October 22nd: From the TBR Pile

Friday, October 23rd: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Monday, October 26th: The Hi Reader and @thehireader

Tuesday, October 27th: Barks Beaches Books and @barksbeachesbooks

Wednesday, October 28th: @dropandgivemenerdy

2 thoughts on “First Impression: Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts by Billy Hallowell

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