by Ania Ahlborn
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An unforgettable horror novel from bestselling sensation Ania Ahlborn—hailed as a writer of “some of the most promising horror I’ve encountered in years” (New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire)—in which a small-town boy investigates the mysterious disappearance of his cousin and uncovers a terrifying secret kept hidden for years.
Young Jude Brighton has been missing for three days, and while the search for him is in full swing in the small town of Deer Valley, Oregon, the locals are starting to lose hope. They’re well aware that the first forty-eight hours are critical and after that, the odds usually point to a worst-case scenario. And despite Stevie Clark’s youth, he knows that, too; he’s seen the cop shows. He knows what each ticking moment may mean for Jude, his cousin and best friend.
That, and there was that boy, Max Larsen...the one from years ago, found dead after also disappearing under mysterious circumstances. And then there were the animals: pets gone missing out of yards. For years, the residents of Deer Valley have murmured about these unsolved crimes…and that a killer may still be lurking around their quiet town. Now, fear is reborn—and for Stevie, who is determined to find out what really happened to Jude, the awful truth may be too horrifying to imagine.
I saw THE DEVIL CREPT IN by Ania Ahlborn on a Sunday Post and decided to check it out. When I looked it up and saw the quote from Seanan McGuire, I requested it. Holy unreliable narrators my horror fan friends! I devoured THE DEVIL CREPT IN and found it to be an addictive and utterly creeptastic tale!
This was an intelligent, addictive horror story. One that weaves in the unthinkable and an unreliable narrator who is just ten years old. Ahlborn takes us to the small town of Deer Valley, Oregon. A place marked by the previous disappearance of a little boy. A place where pets run away never to be seen again. Some fear a killer lurks in this quiet suburb. When Jude, Stevie’s twelve-year-old cousin goes missing, ten-year-old Stevie set out to find him and what he uncovers will send chills down your spine.
Trigger Warning- If the killing of small animals and children upset you, it is best to walk away from this novel. While the author takes care with the language, this may be too upsetting for some. This is horror; it can be gruesome.
Five Caffeinated reasons to turn on the lights and read The Devil Crept In
- Ahlborn presents us with an unreliable narrator a ten yeat old boy named Stevie. His father abandoned them, and his mother has a live-in boyfriend who sets the house on edge. Stevie stutters, suffers nightmares and has had uncontrolled fits that set him apart from his peers. His lone friend is his next door neighbor and cousin, twelve-year-old Jude. Jude isn’t well liked in the neighborhood, and despite his mother’s smothering is quite the misfit himself. You feel compassion for Stevie, and find yourself wanting to believe and aid him.
- The town of Deer Valley is creepy. It is nestled up against the woods. There seem to be no pets, yet there is an abundance of feral cats. Everyone appears to know everyone, and judgments are passed around like candy at Halloween. Both boys come from depressed homes. Jude’s father died, and his mother’s lights have dimmed. Stevie’s father abandoned them, his brother Dunk is awful towards him, and the family quietly moves around Terry, the abusive boyfriend.
- Ahlborn weaves a tale that is addictive, quickly pulling you in, even as you question everything. While we spend most our time with Stevie, we also get the perspective of another, and these chapters will horrify you. These sections add images to Stevie’s fears. As we read we realize we are reading past and present timelines that become merged into the present. This was brilliantly done as it enhanced the terror, as it shed light on unimaginable horror.
- The horror itself was dark and gritty. Honestly, read this on an empty stomach. Ahlborn made it all seem very real to Stevie. However, things would happen that had me questioning what Stevie saw. Was it pure evil playing tricks? Is Stevie crazy? Or is something dark and sinister living in the woods? You’ll have to discover that for yourself.
- The ending was clever, horrifying and creeptastic. It left this reader’s heart racing. I fully intend to pick up more titles by this author. Fans of Nick Cutter, Lovejoy and Stephen King will find Ania Ahlborn’s twisted imagination delightful.
Quotes from The Devil Crept In
“I’d stay out of those woods if I were you. There’s something out there, and I can tell you it’s not a cougar or any of the nonsense the police keep trying to sell.”
“. . . nobody was doing anything. They were all just waiting for another funeral.”
Dark, gritty and terrifying- The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn Click To Tweet
“Something was wrong with Jude. Really really wrong.”