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The White Devil: A Novel Paperback – July 10, 2012
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“Demonic possession, the provocative topic of Justin Evans’s first novel, A Good and Happy Child, takes on a literary twist and a sexual jolt in The White Devil. . . . Evans heaps an assortment of gothic embellishments onto this coming-of-age narrative.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Chilling-to-the-bone. . . . Deliciously frightening, The White Devil is a literary scare story in an earlier tradition before vampires ruled the day, or at least the genre.” (New York Daily News)
“[An] ingenious and creepy supernatural thriller, will give you chills even in the summer heat. Evans has fused a literary mystery, sinister ghost story and Gothic romance with the story of a boy’s intellectual and sexual awakening.” (Kansas City Star)
“Evans ratchets up the suspense at an expert pace. . . . The White Devil [is] an authentic page-turner that may well be devoured in one sitting.” (Shelf Awareness)
“[An] ingenious and creepy supernatural thriller, will give you chills even in the summer heat. Evans has fused a literary mystery, sinister ghost story and Gothic romance with the story of a boy’s intellectual and sexual awakening.” (The Tuscon Citizen)
“[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))
“Gripping. . . . [A] disturbing gothic thriller.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“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)
“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)
From the Back Cover
Sex, Death, and Boarding School
When seventeen-year-old Andrew Taylor is transplanted from his American high school to a British boarding school—the English, hypertraditional, all-boys Harrow School—he finds his past mistakes following him, with an added element of horror: visions of a pale, white-haired boy from Harrow's past. Either Andrew is losing his mind, or the house legend about his dormitory being haunted is true.
When one of his schoolmates dies mysteriously of a severe pulmonary illness, Andrew is blamed and spurned by nearly all his peers. In his loneliness and isolation, Andrew becomes obsessed with Lord Byron's story and the poet's status not only as a literary genius and infamous seducer but also as a student at the very different Harrow of two centuries ago—a place rife with violence, squalor, incurable diseases, and tormented love affairs.
When frightening and tragic events from that long-ago past start to recur in Harrow's present, and Andrew's haunting begins to seem all too real, he is forced to solve a two-hundred-year-old mystery that threatens the lives of his friends and his teachers—and, most terrifyingly, his own.
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Top Customer Reviews
But from here on the pace of the novel slows down as the ghost story unfolds. The first appearances of the ghost rang very true and I was at the edge of my seat. It was creepy and spellbinding. Andrew is the recipient of these visions and I expected a novel with ever increasing suspense and dread as the ghost made its presence stronger. In other words a great gothic thriller.Read more ›
And then, finally, a book that delivers the goods! White Devil is a literate, well paced, dense ghost story with characters that engage, writing that absorbs, red herrings so intriguing you'll enjoy being led astray, and a plot that keeps tightening the tension until the final sentences of the story's wholly original, wholly satisfying, wholly creepy denouement.
The story revolves around Andrew Taylor, a 17yr old American boy exiled by his outraged parents to an exclusive English boarding School after scandal and a death force him to flee his school in Connecticut. But the ghosts he's left behind are nothing compared to the ghost waiting for him at Harrow School - a pallid, spectral lad whose soul remains bound to earth by 200-year old cruelties and jealousies.Read more ›
The book will be best appreciated by those who adore Gothic atmospherics for their own sake and who, as Evans admits in the "essay" on this Amazon page, believe in actual ghosts. Some reviewers, no doubt unduly influenced by Harry Potter, seem troubled by the homosexuality and drugs depicted in the book. Trust me, Evans is not letting you in on the half of it.
Evans plays fast and loose with Byronic scholarship here, which didn't bother me so much. It's a work of fiction, after all. But he does depict Byron as the stereotypical roué most people think of him as rather than the complicated human being that he was. Also, for those interested, John Harness is based on an actual historical figure, John Eccleston, whom Byron mentions in his early letters and for whom he clearly felt some sort of affection. Also, again for those interested, the Latin quotes on the chalkboard are from Virgil's Aeneid, which every six-former must master to graduate. They remain untranslated in the book, so here are my ad hoc translations:
1.) (p. 87 in the ARC) "And from the highest summit the nymphs cried out..."
2.) (p.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I didn't know much about Lord Byron before diving into this book (still don't), and I feel like that gave me a huge advantage. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jessica
It was an easy read, and I stayed interested all the way through. But the ending was meh. Disappointing, unsatisfying.Published 11 months ago by P. Hallman
I don't think I've read such a great book in a while, which means, though I've read several good books in the last few weeks, this one stands above the rest. Read morePublished 11 months ago by lovesbooks2
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The story wasn't anything too astounding (although not boring, either, with some pretty good little twists) but the WRITING was superb! Read morePublished 12 months ago by Rebekah Kodrin
A delightful gothic horror story with thumping stairs and ghostly interferences. I got it on sale and didn't expect much, then found myself thinking about it when I wasn't reading... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jennifer Jones
History, drama and intrigue combine in this perfectly written novel and draw in the reader for an immensely satisfying experience. Read morePublished 13 months ago by KathyS