ISBN-13: 9781783297627
Publisher: Titan Books 
Publication Date: 6 February 2015
Format: Paperback, 400 pgs
Source: Purchased 

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. 

8 Responses
  1. jenclair Says:

    This sounds interesting in spite of a possible let down at the conclusion. I've found a lot of otherwise good books have some problems with resolution and admit that it bothers me when the conclusion wraps up part, but not all of the circumstances. I'm curious about why an author would choose to eschew quotation marks in dialogue. Even with quotation marks, some novels leave some ambiguity about the speaker, which I find a bit frustrating. Nevertheless, I like the setting and the sound of this one. :)

  2. Hmm, your review definitely piqued my interest. I want to know who the murderer was too! Even though the ending wasn't the greatest, I hope the major questions were answered.

  3. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - I think an ambiguous conclusion works well for certain fictions but not for crime thrillers in my opinion. I want to see a case resolved instead of leaving it to a reader's imagination. I don't know, I'm just picky when it comes to that. ;-)

    I hope you'll enjoy this more than me if you do read it. :)

  4. Melody Says:

    Diana - Most are answered but I wasn't too satisfied about how it ended. Sigh. I hope her next book will be better. :)

  5. I like the sound of this one, from the premise, the characterizations you describe, and I'm curious about the format. It's too bad you were let down by the ending a bit. That happens to me sometimes.

  6. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I hope her next book will be better. I'm curious to hear what you'll think of this book when you get to it. :)

  7. Iliana Says:

    I'm sort of interested in this one but it definitely sounds like not a typical mystery novel. I don't mind a POV that's different but I think the lack of dialogue quotation marks would get on my nerves.

  8. Melody Says:

    Iliana - Yes, it's not a typical mystery novel and though I've no problem with this, it's the ending that did it to me. That said, I hope her next book would be something different.

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