The series on devil worship among teen-agers in a small Missouri town was a vivid and wrenching portrayal of a disparate, alienated subculture existing within adolescent children everywhere.
Each of these teen-agers should be seen as a victim, not just the dead youth. Adolescence is often a confusing period of "searching" for the right identity. These were adolescents whose identification with the devil's "promise of power" and the strong need for control and mastery over their lives became an obsession.
The young people in the series chose a belief system which promised them the feeling of conquest and domination over the day-to-day frustrations of living. Ill-prepared for the doubts and insecurity of adolescence, the boys shared the common delusion that drug use and rock lyrics were the answer to the frustrations all children feel. Unfortunately, these teen-agers were very likely fraught with insecurity and feelings of powerlessness. So consumed were they that only by inflicting death on others could they feel impregnably alive.
The antithetical imagery of the power of Satan in the "God-fearing little town" shouldn't be forsaken by readers as a problem unique to Bible Belt communities or the strongly religious. Children everywhere lead fragile and uncertain existences which cause them to seek the foundation of hope for the future that will help them feel good about living and about themselves. This foundation should already be there for them by adolescence.