The Devil You Know by Elizabeth de Mariaffi is supposed to be a heart pounding psychological thriller, but what I read was a terribly boring account of one woman’s struggle to understand why her childhood friend was murdered in the 1980’s. This struggle has created a delusion that her friends killer is now back to get her. I was looking forward to reading this book, I saw it on Netgalley and unfortunately didn’t get approved for it, so I contacted the publisher and they were nice enough to send me a copy. Part of me feels bad that I have to give this a negative review, due to the fact that I was so graciously given a copy. But, I asked for it in exchange for an honest review, and that’s what I am going to give it.
This book had a couple of things that I can’t stand in a novel. First, there was a very robotic writing style. This means that there was absolutely no emotion behind any of the words, not only that, but I just didn’t feel connected to the main character. Evie has no real qualities that make me want to root for her, or to like her. She was a shell. Which, I guess is understandable due to the things that she has seen in her life, but I felt like this wasn’t meant to be. It was just something that the author overlooked.
The second thing that I can’t stand in a novel is the way that the dialogue is indistinguishable from the rest of the story. When a person is speaking in this book, it is never clearly defined with quotations, and new paragraphs. This bugs me because everything seems so muddled and doesn’t flow correctly for me. I really felt like I was reading in a monotone and I couldn’t get past it.
Now on to the story. When I read a psychological thriller, which is probably one of my most favorite types of books, I want the story to hook me. I want to feel like I am part of that story. I want to be in the mind and soul of the character. I want to feel his or her fear, and I want to be psychologically thrilled if you will. I got none of that with this book. The way that it was written made it impossible to get caught up in the story. There were flashbacks of Evie’s childhood when her friend got murdered, and she would talk about her mother’s strange goings on, but then it would switch back to the present with out warning and would start talking about how she got the internet at her job, so she could now search for her friends killer. This made it impossible to feel any empathy of the character.
Evie is extremely boring. She works at a newspaper, which I am surprised at because she tells a story HORRENDOUSLY. The most interesting part of the book for me was that it took place in 1993, when the internet boom was just starting. In a blurb, this book was compared to Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects, and A.S.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife, I have read both of those books and the only comparison I can come up with is that they are all typed on paper. I’m sorry, but I hated this book. 1 out of 5 stars for me.