The Devil Crept In is the second novel I've read by Ania Ahlborn. After having enjoyed Brother I was anxious to see if Ahlborn would thrill me with another read. The Devil Crept Indid not disappoint but is definitely not for the faint of heart. If you're not into horror, blood, guts and things that go bump in the night stay far far away.
Ania Ahlborn introduces us to a Stevie Clark who is called into action when his best friend, and cousin Jude, goes missing. Stevie's world is turned upside down with this disappearance because Jude is his only friend. Stevie is an outcast due to an accident that left him a few fingers short and his struggle with echolalia. To add insult to injury he frequently has nightmares and often doesn't trust his own mind. Piling on all that sits his mother's abusive boyfriend. To say life is not easy for Stevie is the understatement of the century.
Although Jude isn't always nice to him, he's the one person he loves with an almost obsessive devotion. The death of Jude's father is to blame for a lot of Jude's rebellion. What happens to Jude after having been kidnapped is a whole nother thing...
On the other side of town, beyond the forest, sits a home that harbors a horror no one in this small town could ever imagine. A horror that could possibly be the reason there are no pets in town, or the reason for a child Jude's age disappeared years earlier. Something's going bump in the night and we get to find out what.
The Devil Crept In is a quick read, fast paced, and yet very well written. Ahlborn is descriptive and paints a vivid picture for readers. This attention to detail proves her brilliance in a genre that can often rely solely on blood and gore instead of character depth. Ahlborn delivers both.
Yes! It's no secret that I enjoyed Ahlborn's latest thrill fest but I did have my issues. Much of The Devil Crept In, or at least after the introduction of the monster, had me scratching my head because there was an odd connection between the trapper and the trapped that just seemed to easy to dismiss as a case of sacrificial offering. I hope that didn't give too much away, but these instances felt like a stretch.
I guess the scratching didn't do enough to keep me from charging ahead. The hope that this would be explained was what kept me going... along with my interest in the story (of course). So... I made it through and all my questions were answered yet I still feel a little duped.
So why give it a 4-star rating still? Because she had me there. Ania Ahlborn fed me a story that I could not get enough of. Some would be a little disappointed and rightfully so. I almost felt the Epilogue needed and Epilogue... but seriously. I enjoyed every page of this book. Even though the ending was a little infuriating, I admit. When I wasn't reading this novel, I was thinking about it.
That's gotta count for something, right? Yes. In my mind it does. I can't wait to read more by Ania Ahlborn. The Devil Crept In firmly placed this author on my favorites list. ****
Copy provided by Simon & Schuster via Netgalley