I Shot the Devil

Ruth McIver

I Shot the Devil
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I Shot the Devil

Ruth McIver

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.

An unforgettable story of murder, trauma and childhoods lost, I Shot the Devil is a taut, page-turning debut novel from an electrifying new talent.     

Review

Ruth McIver’s manuscript of I Shot the Devil won Australia’s Richell Prize for Emerging Writers a few years ago, and on reading the published book, you can see why: this America-set crime novel is riveting from start to end.

Erin Sloane is a journalist who sometimes writes longform crime pieces for Long Island outlet Inside Island, but mostly chooses to drink, pop pills and try not to think about anything too important. One day, her editor sits her down with a new idea for a story: cover an old local case from the 1990s – the murder of teenager Andre Villiers by his friends. Trouble is, Erin knows that case all too well. That group of ‘Satanists’ – as the media fell over themselves to dub the culprits – were Erin’s friends too. Her boyfriend, Danny, was one of those sent down for Andre’s death. And the most possessed of them all, Ricky Hell – a beautiful, haunting enigma – was killed by a cop on the night. Now, after years of failing to shake the memory of those kids, the murder and every other god-awful thing that happened to her, Erin has to go right back and dig up what in the devil’s name did or did not happen that night.

This is a book that ripples with danger – Erin’s past is fraught, and none of the teenagers from that night led rosy lives. As Erin delves into the story, she finds that people are willing to talk, but not necessarily anything close to the truth. Ripping the reality apart from the lies will take Erin from New York to Florida, piercing through everything she’s tried to hide, and everything she thought she knew.

This is a raw, box-cutter-sharp noir that will raise your blood pressure with anger, and bleed you dry with pain in the best literary way.


Fiona Hardy is a bookseller, author, and our monthly crime fiction columnist.

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