Frightful Friday is a weekly meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book that I’ve read that week. Feel free to grab the button & join in!
This week’s featured book is The White Devil by Justin Evans:
Seventeen-year-old American Andrew Taylor has been enrolled in the Harrow School, a four hundred year old British boarding school by his father, who hopes the change in setting and strict routine will conform his wayward son.
However, not long after Andrew’s arrival, one of his friends & schoolmates dies of a mysterious severe pulmonary illness, Andrew is instantly blamed. Already an outcast because he’s an American, he’s now shunned and ignored by his schoolmates.
Upon his arrival, Andrew was told of rumors that his dormitory was haunted. When a pale boy starts appearing to Andrew in the night, he begins to believe these rumors are true.
Andrew is urged to try out for a play about Lord Byron, poet and former Harrow student. Andrew’s uncanny resemblance to poet makes him the perfect student to play this role. However, this resemblance also gains attention of the dormitory ghost, believed to be John Harness, the jealous former lover of Lord Byron.
Andrew begins to have nightmares featuring this ghost. When more students begin dying of TB-like illnesses, Andrew can’t get over the fact that this must all be related. Anyone who attemps to get close to Andrew falls victim to “the Lot ghost.”The only way he can fight the ghost of Harness is to assume the role of Lord Byron and finally put an end to the jealousy and rejection the ghost has suffered for hundreds of years.
The White Devil is wonderfully chilling, suspenseful classic ghost story. The setting and rich history give it gothic feel, truly rare among thriller/horror novels of late.
Evans does an outstanding job of drawing out the characters. His research in not only Lord Byron but in British boarding school and medical illnesses really adds to the believability of the story. In true gothic horror/thriller form, the supernatural feel is more psychological than visual. While I hate to use the word “gory”, there are just a few pretty terrifying scenes.
Highly recommended for fans of classic, gothic ghost stories. A fan of Poe myself, I was instantly drawn to this mesmerizing, thriller of a read! After reading Evans’ previous book, A Good and Happy Child, I wondered if he’d be able to live up and really pull off another fantastic book, and he did, exceeding my expectations!
Note: for all you fans of Harry Potter: The audio book production of this novel is narrated by Christian Coulson, the actor who played the infamous Tom Riddle. PERFECT casting, in my mind.
*Warning*-there is a bit of sex…nothing outgrageous or overly graphic, but be forewarned. A few other reviewers referenced “gay porn” and I wonder if they read the same book!