★★★★ out of ★★★★★
By John Darnielle
Devil House is the story of true crime writer Gage Chandler who gained notoriety when he published a book that was later adapted into a film called The White Witch of Morro Bay recounting the sensational crime of a teacher who murdered two of her students. When his publisher sends him a newspaper blurb about a grisly murder of 2 people that happened in the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980’s in a building that had housed an adult bookstore, Gage moves to Milpitas, California to research what he hopes will become his next book. Although years have past since the murders Gage buys the “Devil House” and beings to reconstruct the past both physically in the house and in the pages of his book.
As Darnielle peels back layer upon layer, the reader experiences the research process with Gage, unravels the history of the Devil House and Adult Monster X, learns the story of Diana Crane, the White Witch herself all leading to one hell of a fantastic ending!
This book will not be for everyone (it is certainly not capital H horror as the title implies) but it was like nothing I have ever read before. It is much longer than Darnielle’s previous novels Wolf in White Van and Universal Harvester (both of which I loved) but his writing style is lyrical and gorgeous which should come as no surprise as he is a songwriter. The writing is so good that even though the book’s format was challenging, I knew I was in good hands and it became a pleasure to (try to) follow along.
Devil House will be released January 25, 2022. You can preorder a copy on Amazon or wherever you get your books. While you’re waiting for you copy to arrive watch River’s Edge– you’ll understand why soon.