Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date: 6 February 2015
Format: Paperback, 400 pgs
The Canadian setting of this thriller took place between the 80s and 90s. Told from a first person POV, this is a story about Evie Jones' obsession of finding the truth surrounding the murder of her childhood friend, 11-year-old Lianne Gagnon; who had disappeared after she was last seen hopping into a man's car and was found murdered twelve days after her disappearance.
Ten years later, Evie still thinks of her friend's murder. And that curiosity heightens after she became crime reporter with the Toronto Free Press. The cop believes they have a name of the murderer - Robert Cameron, but he is never caught. There are speculations that he might be dead, but Evie believes he is hiding under different aliases. Then, there are some days Evie felt she is being stalked and someone is standing outside her balcony, as if watching her. Her childhood friend, David Patton, thinks she is in a constant state of paranoia and that the case she's investigating is getting to her.
As Evie tries to piece the puzzle surrounding her friend's murder, she stumbles upon some information which would make her question about the people around her and most importantly, why Lianne Gagnon?
The Devil You Know is neither written in a conventional thriller form nor a police procedural; for starters there are no quotation marks used for the dialogues here. While some readers may find this style creates a more intimacy to the storytelling, I found myself not getting used to it although it didn't really affect my reading. As much as this is a thriller, I'd say this is more of a case of characters studies as it shows us how some people reacted when they are being driven into a corner, or how much a person would do everything under certain circumstances.
Although the intensity isn't as great and the pace is somewhat slow at the beginning, I continued to follow Evie's story because like her, I wanted to know who is Lianne’s murderer. Unfortunately, I felt the conclusion was a letdown although some questions are answered. As mentioned before, this is unlike other thrillers or police procedural so perhaps it is a book that allows us to think about the characters and their actions/motives.
This is the author's first novel (she has one previous collection of short stories, How to Get Along with Women, which was nominated for the prestigious Giller Prize) and I'd be interested to read her next release. I hope it'd be something different from this.