Title: I Shot The Devil
Author: Ruth McIver
Publication Date: 19th August 2021
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.
I’ve heard some really promising things about I Shot The Devil so I was really looking forward to reading it, and I’m pleased to say it was as fantastic as I’d hoped. The story follows Erin Sloane, a journalist asked to write a story about the infamous Southport Three. Twenty years previously, high school student Andre Villiers was murdered by a group of his friends led by the good looking and darkly intense Ricky Hell. This incident ended with only three of the five youths who went into the woods on that fateful night making it out again – dubbed the ‘Southport Three’. Erin, now a damaged and troubled woman, is connected to the case she begins to investigate. She was in fact romantically attached to more than one of the crime’s perpetrators and as she throws herself into an examination of her dark past and the people that reside there, she finds herself in a dangerous and shocking situation.
Firstly, I have to say, I Shot The Devil has got to be one of the most overwhelmingly atmospheric books I’ve read this year. The entire book, from start to finish, just has this oppressively sinister feeling of darkness to it. Everything about this story has a running undercurrent of almost otherworldly evil. It is part of what makes it such a remarkably impressive debut novel. The story of the famous 1990s murder that I Shot The Devil revolves around is mired in rumours and allusions to satanic rituals and the occult but all of that smoke and mirrors is nothing compared to the dark things human beings are capable of doing to each other. The real monsters are very much NOT the supernatural ones. They are the ones who use violence, fear and manipulation to cause as much trauma as possible. Trauma is, largely, what this book is really all about. It concerns itself with both those who suffer trauma and those who inflict it, and sometimes those who do both. I Shot The Devil is truly an intelligent, gritty, sharply edged and almost unbearably tense thriller which I would recommend to anyone who loves the genre. Brilliant.
Thank you so much to Anne Cater of Random Things Blog Tours for inviting me on this tour and organising it. I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.