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.”
“Something was wrong with Jude. Really really wrong.”
[bctt tweet=”Dark, gritty and terrifying- The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn ” username=”kimbacaffeinate”]
I liked her book Brother a lot and I got this one last week. I’m glad it’s good.
I featured this on one of my Waiting On Wednesday posts. It’s on my Wishlist!! Sounds awesome, and I love horror.
Years ago I would have been all over this book, but now not so much. Small children and animals? Nope not for me now. I am glad it was a good one for you though!
YES! We obviously had the same reactions on this one! Good times. 🙂
Just wow! I’m a sucker for an unreliable narrator b/c I don’t come across them often, but this one sounds truly creepy with all you described.
I was on the fence about this one because of the children mentioned in the blurb but I’ve been wanting to read more horror. However, I’m not sure I could handle the killing of the animals and small children so I may be right to hesitate on this one.
The Bibliophile Babe
Oh I’d definitely have to avoid this one. I just can’t do the animal and kids thing!
I have this one to review on audio and it’s coming up soon. I am really curious about this one! 🙂
Sounds terrifying…but I MUST HAVE IT! This is the second review I’ve seen of this book and you both really enjoyed it. Yay!
I appreciate the the “trigger warning” in today’s post — scenes like that would give me nightmares for days.
I cannot wait to read this one despite the animal/child horror 🙁
lol okay, I don’t think I’d be able to make it through this book >.<, sounds well written tho
I love a good horror novel, glad to hear this is a good one.
Fabulous cover and I added it to my TBR list. Too good to pass up.
I am so tempted, but I cannot do the dark and gritty right now. Perhaps on a sunny day.
Jan M Flynn
Yikes! You make this book sound irresistible. Sounds like something my husband and I would have scary fun reading aloud to each other.
As you know, I recently realized how much I love an unreliable narrator. 😉 And The Devil Crept In sounds like the perfect creepy horror read, Kimberly. Your reasons I should read it coupled with the quotes had goosebumps rising on my skin. *shudders* I’ll have to check to see if my library has this. If not, I’ll allot some GC $$ for it…I don’t think I can pass it up! 🙂
Great review and thanks for the warning. I may have to pass but your review makes me want it!!! Decisions decisions
Great quotes! It sounds like a terrifyingly good read! Glad to hear the ending is clever. Great review!
So happy to see it’s good! I saw you gave it 4.5 stars but I didn’t want to read more because I’m reading it soon. I’ll come back to comment after I’m done 🙂
Geybie's Book Blog
This sounds great. It’s been forever since the last time I read horror. I was once a big fan of that genre. Great review, Kim. I’m considering it. I’m in the mood for variety now.
I just saw this the book the other day and thought it looked like a good one. Now, I really want to read it…with the lights on as recommended,, of course. Such a good review! I’m off to the (online) library to check for this one.,
I should branch out and try more books like this
Hell yeah! I loved it too. Ahlborn can certainly write some damn good horror. You definitely need to read Brother, because that one is even better. <3
It’s always nice to have a good horror story! I always love one from time to time and I didn’t know about this one