It’s summer in Echo, Maine, and 17-year-old Violet White and her brother are wondering how they are going to manage their crumbling seaside mansion. Violet’s beloved grandmother is dead, and her artist parents are spending what little remains of the family fortune in Europe. And so Violet decides to rent out the guesthouse to River West, a stranger who brings money and intrigue, but also lies. Violet is immediately drawn to River and finds herself trying to understand the strange boy who stirs in her both passion and contempt.

Don't trust the handsome stranger in Tucholke's Gothic debut.

Just when River arrives in town, strange things start happening: Children claim to see the devil; a man kills himself in the town square; and a woman is murdered nearby. Violet's grandmother always said to believe in the devil, and now Violet knows such evil exists. River isn't as innocent as he claims to be, but Violet doesn’t care, and that's the problem.

April Genevieve Tucholke's debut is a Gothic horror with a contemporary setting, although a major element of the story’s appeal is the sense that it could take place at any time in the past. There is no mention of cell phones or the Internet. Violet's neighbor never calls or texts; she just shows up at Violet’s door. Violet dresses up in her grandmother’s vintage clothes, and River drives a classic car.

There is also a sensual undercurrent throughout the book. Violet often catches her brother and pretty neighbor with their hands all over each other. Violet, too, is feeling uncontrollable passion for the first time, even though her affections are directed at a romantic lead who is not at all charming.

Atmospheric and sultry with phenomenal cover art, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is as frightening as it is alluring.

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