Ahlborn is excellent at crafting page-turning stories in the B-movie horror tradition. This is the third I’ve read by her, and while I haven’t felt that any of them were ‘great literature,’ they certainly drag me along through their nasty mysteries.
‘The Devil Crept In’ is the story of Stevie, an emotionally disturbed child with an abusive stepdad and a mom who’s great at denial, and who has never gotten around to taking him to a doctor. His only friend is his older cousin, Jude. So when Jude goes missing in the woods around their poor, rural community, Stevie is devastated. Little does he know that the only thing worse than Jude going missing and being presumed dead will be… for Jude to come back. Something awful lurks in those woods, and the Jude who comes out of the woods isn’t quite the same as the Jude who walked in. But no one seems to acknowledge the strangeness except Stevie – and Stevie knows he can’t always depend on his own perceptions.
It’s really hard to write adult fiction from the perspective of a child – and even harder to effectively speak from the point of view of someone with a mental disorder. Ahlborn, here, has set herself the task of doing both, simultaneously – and it really works quite well. I was impressed by that.
Many thanks to Gallery Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read. As always, my opions are unaffected by the source of the book.