Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The White Devil by Justin Evans Review

The White Devil: A Novel 
Andrew Taylor is in trouble. Just a few too many parties and rather dismal grades from his previous private school and his social climbing, or I should really say, clawing to stay up on the social ladder, father enrolls him in the prestigious *cough* secondary school in jolly old England.

Speaking of dismal, Andrew's first day or two is definitely that. On his tour of the school, he finds himself in the basement and is overwhelmed with a feeling of despair. Something lurks in the shadows, he is certain. Rather than going with the usual outcast-boy-never-quite-fitting in, Andrew is accepted by a gregarious, outgoing and well liked chap so this is a good thing. But then this boy dies which is a bad thing. Worse, it is Andrew who stumbles across the body in, what he imagines, is the throes of death and in a struggle with a ghost.

To complicate matters, the single female student at this all boys school is the daughter of the head master. She's quite a character and rather enjoys her libido. She is also well versed in former student, Lord Byron, who is, coincidentally, the subject of an upcoming play written by the moody, alcoholic and unpopular teacher at Harrow. With his expertise, the mystery of the ghost is solved by the end, although in a rather abrupt manner.

Central to the plot is that Lord Byron was incredibly sexually active in his day. He loved all, men and women. Andrew Taylor is similar in this regard, as well as his swarthy Byronistic looks. Perhaps the ghost is confused? Regardless, be warned that this is definitely NOT a young adult novel. Graphic sex scenes are played out and, being the prude I am, I did not enjoy them. In fact, I can't honestly say that. I felt the need to skip them. Language is strong.

Plot was intriguing. Story was fairly well developed. I thought the ending was a little rushed but interesting twist of events. Parental warnings strongly in place. I find Mr. Evans writing style to be solid and he knows how to tell a good mystery, revealing a little at a time until a comprehensive picture is given. In my opinion, the filler material was inappropriate dialogue and sexually explicit dreams and activity. It's a solid read. I liked it, didn't love it and the mother in me wondered if it might be censorship to take a white-out pen to it.

In the end, I did not. There are some readers who will enjoy the book just as it is and appreciate Justin Evans' style without my distracting habit of trying to make it teenager-appropriate. It will make a nice addition to the public library.

A copy of this book was provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries said...

I probably wouldn't recommend this book as teenager-appropriate either, and I did include a sensitive reader warning in my review. But for a few uncomfortable spots, however, it could have been a good YA title. I think that it was fascinating for the insight into Byron's life and I did enjoy the twists and turns it took :)