Erin Sloane was sixteen when high school senior Andre Villiers was murdered by his friends. They were her friends, too, led by the intense, charismatic Ricky Hell. Five people went into West Cypress Woods the night Andre was murdered. Only three came out.
Ativan, alcohol and distance had dimmed Erin’s memories of that time. But nearly twenty years later, an ageing father will bring her home. Now a journalist, she is asked to write a story about the Southport Three and the thrill-kill murder that electrified the country. Erin’s investigation propels her closer and closer to a terrifying truth. And closer and closer to danger.
As soon as I received this book, I knew that it was going to be hard to keep to my reading schedule and be disciplined as I knew that it was going to be something really special before I even opened it. It’s right up my street and I could not wait to embark upon this dark, intelligent and twisty debut…
I absolutely love books that take all the elements of the true crime genre that I love and mould them together into a reading experience that feels real all the way through. I’m led to believe that Ruth McIver based this on a real US murder case she encountered when she was younger and I was absolutely intrigued to see what happened as the aftermath of the events all those years ago in Southport, Long Island– so when Anne Cater asked me if I’d like to take part in the blog tour for Random Things Tours, I absolutely bit her hand off and I’m so glad that I did as I absolutely loved it!
Although I was totally absorbed in the story in I Shot the Devil, it is undoubtedly the twists and turns that are rendered so perfectly in Ruth McIver’s writing that makes it such a treat to read. The story of the fateful night is as shadowy as the events themselves and the darkness in the woods is mirrored by the web of silence and misdirection that has been drawn over this case until Erin’s arrival.
Erin’s journey to unravel the truth about what happened all those years ago was depicted vividly – with the diverse ‘versions of the truth’ all unfolding around us as we join her in her efforts to try and work out who might be telling the truth, and who might have reasons to cover up the true events of that night and lead us down a path of misdirection in order to distance themselves from the events of that night and the truth behind what really went on.
Ruth McIver keeps you on the edge of your seat as you start to piece together the events of what might have gone on that fateful night when two young men went into the woods and never returned. Every voice tells you a different story, and you join with Erin in trying to make sense of what happened and finally uncover the truth. Once I’d started I found it incredibly difficult to put this book down and enjoyed the feeling of being a sleuth and trying to work out the facts for myself, among all the versions of that night we are presented with…
Erin’s personal involvement with events adds another dimension to the plot as that night cost her the love of her life. Ricky being denounced as a Satanist and a murderer is something that drives her to uncover the truth about that night’s events and see if there has been a different version of evenys than the one that has gone down in local folklore. The more Erin tries to unravel the events of the past, the closer she gets to her own family and the threats to her life become ever increasing. This pageturning read turns into a race against time as Erin herself becomes dangerously close to losing her life in the battle to uncover the truth
You will definitely find it hard to put this book down as you’ll be so wrapped up in this dark tale of murder, lies and dark secrets that you’ll need to keep reading and find out how it all ends. Erin is not a character to give up easily, no matter the circumstances, so it’s safe to say that there were parts of this novel that I read with a thudding heart and sweaty palms as I was not sure how it was all going to end. Needless to say, I was not disappointed and I’m really jealous of anyone who’s yet to start reading I Shot The Devil as they are definitely in for an absolute thrill of a ride.
I recommend this pageturning debut to people who really like to get their teeth into a story that will grip them and reads like true crime in a fictional body. I loved the fact that it really kept me guessing as much as I enjoyed the plot and I will definitely be recommending it to friends of mine who enjoy a page-turning read with a dark heart. If you haven’t added this to your autumn TBR, then be sure to grab yourself a copy. You will definitely not regret it
You need to buy this book, I’ve heard a lot of my book loving pals saying they are in a bit of a reading slump at the moment. I think that this could be ther perfect book to jolt you out of it! Thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me – she definitely knows my reading tastes. All I can do now is count down to Ruth McIver’s next book as I can’t wait to see what dark path she leads us down next!
‘An incredible thriller that kept me up reading. This is the book people will be talking about in 2021. Intense. Wickedly smart. A stunning debut from a gifted author.’ ADRIAN McKINTY, bestselling author of The Chain
‘One of the freshest debuts to come along in a long time. A tense, irresistible thriller shot through with moments of unnerving darkness. A clever, compelling read.’ DERVLA MCTIERNAN, #1 bestselling author of The Ruin, The Scholar and The Good Turn
‘A powder-keg with a slow burning fuse . . . perfectly balanced and terrifically twisting, I Shot the Devil is for fans of Alex Marwood, Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn‘ BOOKS+PUBLISHING
Writer On The Shelf
Ruth McIver is a Dublin-born, Western Australian and New York City raised writer currently based in Melbourne, Australia. She is represented by the Story Factory. In 2019 Ruth completed her PhD in the field of true-crime inspired fiction with Curtin University. Her unpublished manuscript, Nothing Gold, was runner-up in the inaugural Banjo Prize (2018) and was one of seven manuscripts selected to be pitched at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival (2014). I Shot the Devil is her debut novel and won the 2018 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers.