Reviewer: Liza Perrat, author of The Bone Angel trilogy (Spirit of Lost Angels, Wolfsangel, Blood Rose Angel) and new release, The Silent Kookaburra.
What we thought: I adored The Devil You Know, reading it in almost a single sitting, but what I enjoyed most was its refreshing and different approach to the often saturated and clichéd crime thriller genre. Yes, there is a serial killer on the rampage, murdering young women in the Lincolnshire town of Lyndford, but no, the reader is not witness to a long-winded police procedural, which is almost incidental. It is the reader who gathers the clues, pieces together the evidence and finally, tries to guess who the killer is.
Because this story is all about the characters, and it’s wonderful to see such great characterization in a crime story which explores the question: do any of us really know the people in our lives, or what they’re capable of?
Told from the perspective of five different people, we are introduced to the different suspects.
There is Juliet who, upon seeing a profile of the average serial killer, realizes her abusive husband, Paul, ticks all the boxes. We have Maisie, who suspects her mother’s boyfriend, Gary. And Tamsin, whose crush on work colleague, Jake, turns to fear and suspicion. Steve suspects his childhood friend, Dan and, finally, Dorothy learns that her son, Orlando, is keeping a secret from her.
Chapters juggle between the killings, and the lives of each of these well-rounded and sympathetic characters, as their suspicions unfold and escalate. And finally, when the killer is caught, the author carries on each person’s story, and we discover what happens to all of them - outcomes which are not short of their own surprises, before the shocking twist at the end.
The Devil You Know is a compelling and absorbing read that had me hooked right from the beginning, and guessing right to the end. It also made me think about how well I really know my friends, colleagues and family.
You’ll like this if you enjoy: character-driven psychological crime with an original approach.
Avoid if you don’t like: non-police procedural crime stories.
Ideal accompaniments: fish and chips and a sturdy beer.
Genre: Psychological thriller
Available on Amazon