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The White Devilby Justin Evans
Synopses & Reviews
Joe Hill's Horns meets Donna Tartt's The Secret History in this bold new thriller from Justin Evans, author of the critically acclaimed A Good and Happy Child. When seventeen-year-old Andrew Taylor is transplanted from his American high school to a British boarding school — a high-profile academy for the sons of England's finest — his father hopes that the boy's dark past will not follow him from across the Atlantic. But blood, suspense, and intrigue quickly surround Andrew once again as he finds himself struggling with a deadly mystery left unsolved by a student from Harrow School's past — the enigmatic poet Lord Byron.
"Harrow, the elite English boys school, provides the setting for Evans's gripping second novel (after A Good and Happy Child). Andrew Taylor, a 17-year-old American expelled from a Connecticut prep school for heroin use, gets into Harrow thanks to his father's generous gift to the school, one of whose more illustrious alumni is Lord Byron. In a cemetery on nearby Harrow-on-the-Hill, Andrew is horrified to witness the murder of a fellow student and resident of the Lot, a dilapidated dormitory reputed to be haunted, at the hands of a pale skeletal figure in an old-fashioned frock coat. Soon plagued by nightmares, Andrew learns that someone resembling this gaunt figure appeared in a performance of John Webster's Jacobean tragedy, The White Devil, at Harrow in 1803. Meanwhile, cast in the role of Lord Byron in a play written by drunken and bitter housemaster Piers Fawkes, Andrew finds himself adopting Byron's exotic lifestyle amid a love affair, a TB epidemic, and various bizarre elements in this disturbing gothic thriller. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"The White Devil is part ghost story, part murder mystery, part coming-of-age tale, part romance. It's a delightful cocktail. Justin Evans' writing is crisp, his storytelling vigorous, his sense of the uncanny pitch perfect. And he’s written a wonderfully creepy book." Scott Smith, author of A Simple Plan and The Ruins
"The White Devil is an intelligent, bristling ghost story with a stunning sense of place, a uniquely frightful spirit, and a band of absolutely charming heroes — Byronic and otherwise. You'll dread reaching the end — while flipping the pages furiously." Gillian Flynn, author of Sharp Objects and Dark Places
"[A] crackling literary mystery....[C]ontains Shirley Jackson levels of gloomy passages and dark secrets. Smart, scary, sexy, and gorgeously written to boot." Booklist (Starred Review)
"The White Devil is a page-turning tour de force. Both a thoughtful and learned homage to the ghost story, and a clever and compelling rethinking of the genre, this is an amazing, frightening, and believable novel. I loved it." David Liss, author of The Devil's Company
Set in a four-hundred-year-old boys' boarding school in London, a chilling gothic thriller by the author of the critically acclaimed A Good and Happy Child . . .
A fierce and jealous ghost . . .
A young man's fight for his life . . .
The Harrow School is home to privileged adolescents known as much for their distinctive dress and traditions as for their arrogance and schoolboy cruelty. Seventeen-year-old American Andrew Taylor is enrolled in the esteemed British institution by his father, who hopes that the school's discipline will put some distance between his son and his troubled past in the States.
But trouble—and danger—seem to follow Andrew. When one of his schoolmates and friends dies mysteriously of a severe pulmonary illness, Andrew is blamed and is soon an outcast, spurned by nearly all his peers. And there is the pale, strange boy who begins to visit him at night. Either Andrew is losing his mind, or the house legend about his dormitory being haunted is true.
When the school's poet-in-residence, Piers Fawkes, is commissioned to write a play about Byron, one of Harrow's most famous alumni, he casts Andrew in the title role. Andrew begins to discover uncanny links between himself and the renowned poet. In his loneliness and isolation, Andrew becomes obsessed with Lord Byron's story and the poet's status not only as a literary genius and infamous seducer but as a student at the very different Harrow of two centuries prior—a place rife with violence, squalor, incurable diseases, and tormented love affairs.
When frightening and tragic events from that long-ago past start to recur in Harrow's present, and when the dark and deadly specter by whom Andrew's been haunted seems to be all too real, Andrew is forced to solve a two-hundred-year-old literary mystery that threatens the lives of his friends and his teachers—and, most terrifyingly, his own.
About the Author
Justin Evans, the author of A Good and Happy Child, is a digital media executive in New York City, where he lives with his wife and their two children.
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