It's been a long time since I felt like a book was written just for me. How did April Genevieve Tulcholke know all the ways to stir my inner gothic hipster? How did she know I used to dress in my grandmother's clothes and pretend I was a temptress in the 40's? She has powers, you see. Deep, dark, authorly powers.
It's clear from the first page that DEVIL is steeped in lush, eerie prose reminiscent of the horror pro Edgar Allen Poe.
Either way you slice it, DEVIL is Poe Pro all the way.
Violet takes the reader on a tour of her sleepy, superstitious coastal town, with its slow pace and summertime rituals, as well as every nook and cranny of her cliffside, crumbling mansion. You feel so at home in Violet's world that you never want to leave. And then River West arrives, swaggering right up to the front door, dressed like a boy right out of the 20's, and you fall in love a little. Maybe even a lot. Especially when he serves you espresso and cooks you breakfast with organic eggs.
But the moment he arrives, horrible things start happening across town. Missing kids. Murder. The townsfolk believe it's the work of the devil, and they might be right. Violet's grandmother warned her about the devil, but River's smooth talk and gentle ways make it hard for Violet to heed that warning. River can charm the doubt out of anyone's mind, even the reader's. By the end of the book, you're still not sure if Violet should trust him or run screaming for her life into the hills.
I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel and uncover all the secrets Tucholke has woven here.
What left me wanting more:
Without giving too much away, I must say the ending was quite a surprise. Going back, I noticed the clues Tucholke left for the reader, but it didn't end the way I expected. In fact, I'm guessing this ending isn't even *truly* the end. I think it's another twist -- another masterful diversion, which are plentiful in DEVIL -- that will just end up blowing our minds in Book 2.
I devoured DEVIL in a handful of hours, taking breaks to just stop, close my eyes, and revel in certain sentences and scenes. Tucholke is a master of mood. This could very well be one of the few books I read multiple times just so I can keep going back to live in Violet's world.