The Devil Aspect by Craig Russell

First lines 2. Publisher: Penguin Random House 3. Predjama Castle By Karl Friedrich Schinkel – Google Art Project, [Public Domain], via Wikimedia 4. Glass ball Licence CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia
I really liked this book.
An exciting thriller. The setting, mysterious and foreboding; characters, murderous and evil; and the ending, totally unexpected.

Viktor Kosárek is a psychiatrist who starts work at the Asylum for the Criminally Insane located in a castle (Predjama Castle) near Prague where the Devil’s Six have been incarcerated. These six criminals are serial killers that have committed multiple, gruesome murders, and Viktor is determined to test his theory the Devil Aspect on them. At the same time, a serial killer is on the loose in Prague, with connections to the Devil’s Six. There is also a sense of unease about the political scene (the threat of German encroachment of Czechoslovakia). Adding an element of horror, Slavic mythology is woven through the storyline.

“It was the most unscientific of feelings and Viktor silently censured himself for feeling it. As a psychiatrist he knew there was no such thing as evil. In his short career Viktor had already worked with damaged, twisted and cruel minds, personalities empty of empathy of others but evil was a societal construct, and an outdated one at that.”

“Here am I and I here stay,

for this is where evil resides.

Here I am and I here stay,

for this is where the devil hides.”

“Despite it being a bright autumn day, Viktor felt as if the castle closed behind him, around him, over him, and he could not now escape its stone embrace.”

Quotes from the book.
  • Publishers Weekly: “a mind-blowing story line”
  • Kirkus: “A seasoned writer, Russell keeps the police case moving at a good clip, more so than the clinical narrative and its unavoidable repetitions. Each has nice surprises but nothing to match the ending, which offers more twists than a Chubby Checker album. A smart, atmospheric, and entertaining read but not for the Jung and easily Freudened.”

Also published by Little, Brown UK

Movie Adaptation: Film rights have been sold to Sony/Columbia Pictures in Hollywood.

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