The Devil You Know by Elisabeth de Mariaffi

Description:  In the vein of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects and A.S.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife, The Devil You Know is a thrilling debut about a rookie reporter, whose memories of the murder of her childhood best friend bring danger—and a stalker—right to her doorstep.

The year is 1993. Rookie crime beat reporter Evie Jones is haunted by the unsolved murder of her best friend Lianne Gagnon who was killed in 1982, back when both girls were eleven. The suspected killer, a repeat offender named Robert Cameron, was never arrested, leaving Lianne’s case cold.

Now twenty-one and living alone for the first time, Evie is obsessively drawn to finding out what really happened to Lianne. She leans on another childhood friend, David Patton, for help—but every clue they uncover seems to lead to an unimaginable conclusion. As she gets closer and closer to the truth, Evie becomes convinced that the killer is still at large—and that he’s coming back for her.

From critically acclaimed author Elisabeth de Mariaffi comes a spine-tingling debut about secrets long buried and obsession that cannot be controlled.

Evie Jones is an interesting character and Elisabeth de Mariaffi has created a really interesting world for her to inhabit. The 90’s setting is old enough to feel dated yet it doesn’t seem like an out of touch world.

The tragedy that happened to Evie’s friend Lianne when they were children colors Evie’s world and all her relationships. The need to know what really happened has influenced her decision to become a reporter and it influences how she relates to her parents and her friend David.  

Elisabeth de Mariaffi creates some very interesting secondary characters, particularly Evie’s mother. Evie herself lives with one foot in the real world and one foot in her imagination. The story is told entirely from her point of view and you never know if what she believes is happening now, as well as what happened in the past, is real. You live in Evie’s mind and quite frankly, it’s a bit claustrophobic.

I never entirely trusted Evie’s perception, and frankly neither did she. The problem with this is that it robbed the story of some of its tension. Further, I never really warmed to her character and was less invested in what happened to her. The story of her mother and her youth was more tantalizing and I would have been interested in learning more about that.

The Devil You Know is a solid story but it doesn’t quite rise to the level of thrilling. As a main character, Evie felt lacking. The other characters were mostly solid. The book has mild chills in places and the writing is good, but it never quite took off for me.

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.

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