The Devil Stands Up by Christine Dougherty

A lot of novels out there have an anti-hero, as the main protagonist. You know the score, the roguish thief, the bitter and twisted divorced husband, who comes good in the end.  So what happens when you have the worlds biggest anti-hero as the good guy.  It’s a brave person who decides to make Auld Nick himself the “good guy ” of a novel.  It’s has been done before, with varying degrees of success.  A lot of the time the Devil is turned into some sort of comic foil, where this book succeeds is keeping the devil as a figure of fear.  You’ll not get any prat falls here.

This is a very intense novel, that really isn’t for the faint hearted, this is no urban fantasy.  It is at times very brutal, too the point where I did consider putting the book away.  It’s been a long time since I’ve read an opening of a novel to rival Masterton’s Dark Angel for sheer stomach churning unrelenting horror.  I’ll be honest, at times the book was too much for me, but Dougherty’s writing was of a high enough standard to keep me going.  This is a multi layered tale that mixes questions about morality, judgement and what the true nature of evil is, and it does this without becoming clunking.  

There is a probably a lot more shocking stuff out there, but just to be shocking isn’t enough, you need a well written, interesting plot to hold it all together.  Without this all you are left with is shock for the sake of shock.  And that doesn’t float my boat. This book did float my boat, although I don’t think I’d try a cross Atlantic crossing in it.

This may not sound like an overly glowing review of the book, truthfully this book has me in mixed feelings, yes it it is well written, I can see the merit of the the book, it’s just some of the content wasn’t for me.  Would I read more of her work, probably.

for those of you who like the ore extreme end of horror then this book has a lot going for it, and you do a lot worse.


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