Today’s Team review is from Judith W, she blogs here https://readandreview2016.wordpress.com/
Judith has been reading Devil In The Countryside by Cory Barclay
Devil In The Countryside is a historically inspired thriller set in 1588 at the time of the Reformation. The plot follows investigator Heinrich Franz, who is looking for answers after numerous mysterious killings in the German countryside, attributed to the Werewolf of Bedburg.
The concept for the book reminds me of stories like Van Helsing, which is just the sort of thing I enjoy.
I think Barclay’s decision to mix fact and fiction was a bold one, but it made the political and historical context in which the book is set interesting.
Conventions of the genre, such as mysterious characters and gruesome murders were used well, and the writing was mostly easy to follow.
However, I struggled to imagine the settings and characters as authentically German. It felt more like a story about American characters that happened to have Germanic names. For me, this was particularly obvious when reading the amount of American slang used within dialogue – slang I’m quite sure wasn’t around in 16th century Germany!
This was a shame, because I think it prevented me from reading Devil In The Countryside as a historical fiction, and I read it more as a modern thriller.
Similarly, the dialogue also contained a surprising amount of crude swearing. Normally, this is isn’t enough to discourage me, but in an era of strong religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants, I doubt casual phrases such as ‘God dammit’ would be used in dialogue between priests and religious citizens.
Devil In The Countryside is a reasonable thriller inspired by historical events, and if you enjoy violence or the supernatural, I’m sure it would be a good read for you.
Star Rating: 3/5 Stars
Devil in the Countryside is a story about the most famous werewolf investigation in history, brimming with intrigue and war, love and betrayal, and long-kept vendettas.
It’s 1588, the height of the Reformation, and a killer is terrorizing the German countryside. There are reports that the legendary Werewolf of Bedburg has returned to a once-peaceful land. Heinrich Franz, a cold and calculating investigator, is tasked with finding whomever — or whatever — the killer might be. He’ll need all the help he can get, including that of a strange hunter who’s recently stumbled into town. Though they’re after the same thing, their reasons are worlds apart.
And through it all, a priest tries to keep the peace among his frightened townsfolk, while a young woman threatens his most basic beliefs.
About the author
As far back as he can remember, Cory Barclay has always loved the “big picture” questions. How much knowledge did humanity lose when the Library of Alexandria was burned down? Why has the concept of Heaven remained intact, in one form or another, throughout most of human history and how has it impacted life on Earth?
And even before that, when he first began writing stories in grade school, he’s been fascinated with histories and mysteries. Whether Norse mythology, the Dark Ages, or the conquests of great leaders, Cory’s been that kid who wants to know what’s shaped our world and write about it. Especially the great unsolved mysteries.
So Devil in the Countryside was a natural for him.
Born and raised in San Diego, he graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz, where he studied Creative Writing and Modern Literary Studies. He’s also a songwriter and guitarist, and – no surprise – many of his songs explore the same topics he writes about – the great mysteries of our crazy world.
Devil in the Countryside is his second novel and he’s hard at work on its sequel.