INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“It’s never quite the book you think it is. It’s better.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times
From John Darnielle, the New York Times bestselling author and the singer-songwriter of the Mountain Goats, comes an epic, gripping novel about murder, truth, and the dangers of storytelling.
Gage Chandler is descended from kings. That’s what his mother always told him. Years later, he is a true crime writer, with one grisly success—and a movie adaptation—to his name, along with a series of subsequent less notable efforts. But now he is being offered the chance for the big break: to move into the house where a pair of briefly notorious murders occurred, apparently the work of disaffected teens during the Satanic Panic of the 1980s. Chandler finds himself in Milpitas, California, a small town whose name rings a bell––his closest childhood friend lived there, once upon a time. He begins his research with diligence and enthusiasm, but soon the story leads him into a puzzle he never expected—back into his own work and what it means, back to the very core of what he does and who he is.
Devil House is John Darnielle’s most ambitious work yet, a book that blurs the line between fact and fiction, that combines daring formal experimentation with a spellbinding tale of crime, writing, memory, and artistic obsession.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Author-musician John Darnielle’s literary thriller uses the trappings of the true-crime genre to take us on a chilling ride. Writer Gage Chandler moves to Milpitas, California, to investigate a double murder that occurred in an abandoned porn shop during the height of the satanic panic. As Gage considers the 1986 case, he’s forced to confront the implications of using other people’s tragedies for his own profit—as well as how the desire to tell a good story can overshadow the real, complicated lives of the people involved. Darnielle crafts a dazzling hall of mirrors, providing a host of unreliable narrators and shocking and poignant revelations at every turn of this carefully designed tale. Whether or not you’re a true-crime nut (and even if you’ve never heard Darnielle’s cult-favorite indie band, the Mountain Goats), Devil House is bound to capture your imagination.
In this riveting metafictional epic, Mountain Goats singer-songwriter Darnielle (Universal Harvester) flays the conventions of true crime to reveal the macabre and ordinary brutality behind sensationalized stories of violence. True crime writer Gage Chandler has spent the last five years living in the "Devil House" in Milpitas, Calif., where he's been working on a book about an unsolved murder that took place there in 1986, during the height of the Satanic Panic. Interspliced with Gage's investigation are long excerpts from one of his previous books, The White Witch of Morro Bay, which recounts the gruesome end for two teenage boys who broke into their teacher's apartment. Gage's multilayered narrative of the Devil House murders slowly builds from conjecture to the victims' ventriloquized voices, lending itself well to Darnielle's themes about the artifice of the genre: "Formalities, when carefully tended, quietly congregate to make form," Gage notes. This masterwork of suspense is as careful with its sharp takes as it is with the bread crumbs it slowly drops on the way to its stunning end. It operates perfectly on many levels, resulting in a must-read for true crime addicts and experimental fiction fans alike. Agent: Chris Parris-Lamb, the Gernert Company.
Very boring and confusing…Not enticed to read anymore of this author.