Tuesday 7 March 2023

THE DEVIL HIMSELF by Steven Duggan

 4.5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon (universal link)
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: Amazon browse

In a Nutshell: Man unjustly accused of murder seeks to clear his name.  Set in Ireland.

Jack Finch was accused of a murder he didn't commit, and sent to prison for eight years after taking a plea deal.  While he's away, his wife divorces him and marries his elder brother.  Jack knows that going back to the small town where the murder took place is not the wisest move, but he cares more about clearing his name than about the reception he will have to endure.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, loved the writing style, and I liked Jack very much, which always helps.  There is much description about life in prison, a stark portrayal of the desperation and fear that an inmate can go through, the total despair.  

I'd seen in reviews that the ending is particularly good, and I echo this, wholeheartedly - I thought I'd guessed the twist early on, but I was so, so wrong - especially as it's a double twist.  It's (they're) so well done; a round of applause well earned.  Made me want to flick back to see if I could spot any clues.  I liked how the second one hinted at what happened without actually giving all the details; this worked so well.  

I've taken a half star off because of one issue - the proofreading.  I spotted the odd wrong word and incorrect punctuation mark, but mostly it was the excessive use of exclamation marks in dialogue that kept making me wince; the vast majority were not needed and should have been removed.  Aside from that, though, it was great.  Excellent plot, a great main character, and the sort of writing style that keeps the pages turning.

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