Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release: June 2, 2015
Source: Library
Arcadia "Cadie" Wells doesn't want small-town drama—she wants big-time adventure. Cadie spends most of her time going to school, working, and taking care of her dad and four-year-old brother, and she's ready to break free.

So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. There's the mysterious, seductive Noah, who attracts Cadie immediately. Then there's intelligent, good-natured Matt, who intrigues her, too. When they invite her and a friend to join them on a road trip, it's just the escape she's been craving. But what starts out as a carefree journey quickly turns deadly when she discovers that one of the boys is not who he claims to be.

In this gritty, captivating novel, Trish Doller delivers a sexy yet frightening tale about love, power, and one girl's irrepressible courage.
Authors have a multitude of qualities that impress me: in general, they are creative, able to take criticism, and hardworking enough to re-write one scene 57 times until it achieves near-perfection. But some authors have a special skill that awes me even more than these commonly-shared characteristics: versatility. Some authors can jump back and forth between genres with ease, following an upbeat romance with a dark horror. And while I have equal respect for authors who stick with and perfect one genre, I cannot help being amazed by authors with broadly-spread talent.

Trish Doller is one of these impressively versatile writers. I loved her emotional contemporaries—Something Like Normal and Where the Stars Still Shine—and I loved her latest thriller-mystery just as much. With its shaky suspense and eerie atmosphere, The Devil You Know is a departure from Doller's earlier work, but a win nonetheless.

At times, it is simple to forget about this novel's dark and deadly side. The beginning of the story is swept up in a whirlwind romance, distracting readers from the sinister events to come. The blurb hints at a love triangle, but the plot is fairly free of romantic indecision; Cadie falls for one boy, and aside from a few stray thoughts for the other, does not consider transferring her affections. But what I really love about this book's romantic side is Cadie herself. Despite her slight oscillation that involves kissing both boy in the beginning few chapters, and despite the fact that the relationship she selects moves a bit quickly (not in an insta-love way; just in an exhilarating-weekend-fling way), she is never apologetic for her choices. In fact, she actively—but subtly, so the story isn't preachy—calls out slut-shaming more than once. At the same time, she is constantly in control, ready to correct Noah and Matt when they bicker over her and prepared to put on the breaks at any moment with either boy. She's an amazing icon and sends readers of all genders a positive, empowering message about romantic relationships.

However, this book's creepy atmosphere acts as a constant reminder that the romance is not just a fun, feminist fling. I predicted early on which boy would turn out to be dangerous, but my guess didn't stop me from second guessing myself as eerie hints popped up. The Devil You Know may not have as many shocking twists as other thrillers, but its perpetually chilling tone keeps readers on edge until the very last page, concerned that moments of safety may become more sinister than suspected. The story's tension culminates into a climax even more thrilling than the previous scenes led me to expect, leaving me with a sense of satisfaction after turning the final page.

Cadie's brilliant personality and terrifying story combine with one of my favorite plotlines—the desire to escape stifling small-town life—to produce a story I fell in love with from chapter one. The Devil You Know may be my favorite Doller book so far, and I cannot wait to see what she writes next. I know I'll read it, whether it's a gritty story about family issues, another thriller, or something else entirely.

3 comments:

  1. I knew who the bad guy was from very early on as well, and had that not been the case, I think I would have liked the book a lot better. I loved the creepy atmosphere and the adventure, but I needed less of an obvious turn-out :( Great review... glad you loved!

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  2. YES. You know how much I love thrillers, and this one sounds absolutely amazing. The atmosphere sounds so eerie and well-written and I can't wait to experience it for myself. Thanks for sharing Emily and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

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  3. Yes! I've read her other book- where the stars still shine and I love it! I didn't even notice this book was written by her! Thank god I stumbled across your review! I love it and I'll have to check this book out!
    Alicia http://hashtaglovebooks.com/

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