“The Devil you Know” by Elisabeth de Mariaffi

I purchased this book in Kindle format – it was the title chosen for the month of May by my “in person” book club, Whodunit.

devil you know graphic


The Goodreads description of the book:
Debut novel about a rookie reporter, whose memories of the murder of her childhood best friend bring danger—and a stalker—right to her doorstep.

The year is 1993. Rookie crime beat reporter Evie Jones is haunted by the unsolved murder of her best friend Lianne Gagnon who was killed in 1982, back when both girls were eleven. The suspected killer, a repeat offender named Robert Cameron, was never arrested, leaving Lianne’s case cold.

Now twenty-one and living alone for the first time, Evie is obsessively drawn to finding out what really happened to Lianne. She leans on another childhood friend, David Patton, for help—but every clue they uncover seems to lead to an unimaginable conclusion. As she gets closer and closer to the truth, Evie becomes convinced that the killer is still at large—and that he’s coming back for her.
What Whodunit thought: (there were 12 members present)

The protagonist, Evie, was not someone that the reader could relate to. She was a disturbed young woman with unresolved feelings about her friend’s murder. We wondered how such a scatterbrained, inexperienced reporter was put on one of the most important stories at her paper. We wondered if perhaps her ‘stalker’ was a mere figment of her imagination…
The plot was incohesive and disjointed. With many stray tangents that were not followed up on, and many real people mentioned, it was almost as if the author tried to cram too much into her narrative, thus weakening the whole. A plot of unrealized potential.
The ending left many loose ends and left an overall feeling of dissatisfaction and disappointment.
We were happy with the Toronto setting and there were some positive comments about the writing, in particular some of the more suspenseful scenes. It was said that the novel attempted to create a snapshot of the volatile and unsettling time of the infamous Paul Bernardo case and how it affected the general public.

This is the debut novel by Canadian Elisabeth de Mariaffi.  Sadly it turned out to be a disappointing read, and one which, at least in my own opinion, the reading seemed more like a chore than a pleasure.

This novel has been shortlisted for the Thomas Raddall Prize at this year’s East Coast Literary Awards so I guess my opinion and the opinion of my book club differ greatly from theirs…  I wonder, “Can they be talking about the same book???”

F 2 star

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Canadian fiction, debut novels, Mystery fiction and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to “The Devil you Know” by Elisabeth de Mariaffi

  1. Cyndi says:

    My goodness. I thought it was just me! Yes, it feels “more like a chore than a pleasure.” I’m also bother by the lack of quotation marks to indicate dialogue throughout the text. Why? I can accept the absence of punctuation in poetry, but a novel, not so much. It’s annoying.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. FictionFan says:

    Ha! I’ve just finished reading five of the books put forward for the Scottish Crime Book awards and all bar one were pretty bad (in fact, a couple were dire). I fear it’s the publishers who have the most say in a lot of these awards, rather than the readers. And the publishers are unlikely to be unbiased… 😉


  3. Christine says:

    Thoughtful review, Lynne. I have noted that a LOT of award nominees have relatively low Goodreads ratings for whatever reason.


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