The Devil Device by Dave Jeffrey from Macabre Ink #BookReview #Horror #YA #Indie Publishing
The Devil Device by Dave Jeffrey
Macabre Ink, pb, £10.32
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
Something evil stalks the streets of Dorsal Finn, which looks like four teenagers but far worse. With plans to bring demons through to wreak havoc on the world, these four move through the population with all the arrogance and entitlement of teenagers and the dark malice and cruelty of supernatural beings who see humans as cattle. But Dorsal Finn is used to the dark and dangerous prowling its streets and has its own protector, Beatrice Beecham, the Bringer of Joy. With her friends around her, she keeps the forces of darkness away, but this time, she may find herself alone as, one by one, her friends are selected for the ritual sacrifice to create the Devil Device and open the gates of hell.
Although I have been a fan of Jeffrey’s work for years now when I read A Quiet Apocalypse, and was blown away by the powerful psychological horror, I have never read any of his Beatrice Beecham series, so I came in to reading The Devil Device cold. The start had everything I’d come to expect from Jeffrey’s; true horror. That caveman-level fear of the inescapable monsters that lurk in the dark. Atmospheric and gripping. These scenes of panic and fear are where Jeffrey excels, and they happen often enough that I am permanently on edge waiting for the next thing to happen.There are also great moments of poignancy. One of Stephanie’s friends, Lucas, is trapped in another dimension, blissfully unaware he is not in this world anymore. Ritualistically, Beatrice, her other friends, and Lucas’s mother gather to look at him so they remember him, in itself a beautiful act. The moments when Lucas is remembered are full of grief and determination that they will find a way to bring him back. They are really touching. I do feel I would have benefited from reading the previous books to truly understand how bittersweet these scenes were. For example, I’m told Stephanie loves Lucas, but I haven’t witnessed their relationship to make it 3D for me. It would also help me understand the battle between Beatrice as the Bringer of Joy and the Dark Heart. The fault, however, is mine and not the author’s.
The Devil Device was billed to me as YA, which is not my favourite genre. However, I am pleased to say this is the most adult YA I’ve read. While teenagers make up most of the characters, there is a decent cast of older characters whom Beatrice and her friends turn to for support and advice. These older characters also have agency, investigating on their own terms rather than waiting for permission. This blend of characters gives the book a different feel to other YA, more mature. I also found the teenagers less angsty and more self-aware, which is refreshing. They were enjoyable to read because they had bigger concerns than just themselves whilst still struggling with real issues, such as the fickleness of internet fame and bigotry.
Yet again, I am blown away by the quality of Jeffrey’s writing. It is clean, concise, yet dripping with emotion, exactly what horror should be. He takes us to the heart of the action and isn’t afraid to make sacrifices along the way. The path to victory is littered with bodies, and no one is safe. Although I haven’t read the previous books, I’m keen to go back and understand more of the rich mythology around Beatrice and The Dark Heart. Highly recommended.