"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Monday, May 16, 2011

The White Devil

In my family, we make books like dogs have fleas. (Not my dogs, I hasten to add, they are entirely flea-less.) Novels, memoirs, biography, literary criticism, translations, poetry.

Last week my first cousin's second novel The White Devil was published. As you can tell from the photo, it's an absorbing read. I'm oblivious to the black and white devil dog on my left, and the small vampire-like creature on my right.

Is it mad, bad and dangerous to mount a play about Lord Byron at Harrow School? Buy it and find out!

Just like his first, A Good and Happy Child, it has received stellar reviews.

Here's a sampling:

“Gripping. . . . [A] disturbing gothic thriller.” (Publishers Weekly starred review)

“The White Devil is part ghost story, part murder mystery, part coming-of-age tale, part romance. It’s a delightful cocktail. Justin Evans’ writing is crisp, his storytelling vigorous, his sense of the uncanny pitch perfect. And he’s written a wonderfully creepy book.” (Scott Smith, author of A Simple Plan and The Ruins)

“The White Devil is an intelligent, bristling ghost story with a stunning sense of place, a uniquely frightful spirit, and a band of absolutely charming heroes-Byronic and otherwise. You’ll dread reaching the end-while flipping the pages furiously.” (Gillian Flynn, author of Sharp Objects and Dark Places)

“The White Devil is a page-turning tour de force. Both a thoughtful and learned homage to the ghost story, and a clever and compelling rethinking of the genre, this is an amazing, frightening, and believable novel. I loved it.” (David Liss, author of The Devil's Company )

“[A] crackling literary mystery . . . Harrow itself contains Shirley Jackson levels of gloomy passages and dark secrets. Smart, scary, sexy, and gorgeously written to boot.” (Booklist starred review)

During one of our stays in London, some years ago the Chap and I took the train to Harrow-on-the-Hill to visit Justin, then enrolled at Harrow. Reading the book reminds me of the visit, and my impressions of the school and the village.

If you want to know more about the genesis of the novel, visit Justin's website.

Although most of the characters are teenagers, I feel I should point out that this is not a book for the extremely squeamish or the intensely prudish. (Your basic sex and violence warning!)

I can't wait to see what he comes up with next!

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