The first half of Ania Ahlborn’s THE DEVIL CREPT IN (Gallery Books) kicks major ass: the disappearance of a child, the family and closed ones hovering over the tragedy, the tears, the pain, the hope—then something big happens, a dramatic turn of event that makes you smile as a horror reader but also makes you say, WTF!? The kind of unexpected twist that gives you one more reason to drop everything and persevere in your reading. Did I hook you already? Good.
I wish I could say that the second half is as strong if not stronger but alas it is not. What I will say however is that Ania Ahlborn is one heck of a storyteller. She has a way of luring her readers into submission with her sense of style but more importantly with her wicked, wicked pen. What happens to her protagonist—a 1o year-old loner with a speech impediment, a few missing fingers (don’t ask) but a will of ten men when he decides to find his missing cousin and best friend—will hook you from the get-go. Her strongest ally is the way she creates fleshed out characters which drive this whole story. Whether they turn out to be good or bad they are worth following.
Unfortunately, despite or because of that, the plot takes a step back to become somewhat predictable. Indeed, what starts out as original suddenly feels less so as we persevere. I’ll even go as far and say that most of the plot twists can be guessed ahead of time. Which is a shame since everything else is so perfect, especially the creation of her antagonist which is rather original, especially for the way he got there (I don’t want to say too much). Still, THE DEVIL CREPT IN is worth the read if only for the great narrative and characterization. As a bonus, you’ll probably feel like you’ve just entered The Twilight Zone. I know I did.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the chance to read this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Until next post—Martin