Ruth McIver’s “I Shot the Devil” is set up like a conventional crime novel, but it’s more complex and emotionally-charged than your average whodunit.
Erin Sloan, a journalist too close to the story, revisits the notorious Southport Three murders from almost twenty years ago, when five teenagers walked into the West Cypress Woods, and only three came out.
When the dust settled on the initial maelstrom of sensationalised media reportage and incompetent policework, the two deaths were deemed a consequence of a murderous satantic ritual orchestrated by Ricky Hell, who was shot and killed at the scene.
Sixteen years later, Erin is tasked with writing a feature on the Southport Three, and confronting the horrors of the past she’s obfuscated with pills and booze: the five teenagers who entered the woods that night were also her friends.
Like Lehane and Flynn, the grandmasters of this particular brand of crime fiction, McIver evokes such pain and emotion from her characters, and saddles her narrative with psychological weight. She gathers a labyrinth of facts and suspicions from the past, and makes Sloan’s journey through this maze brilliantly compelling and suspenseful. We’re on tenterhooks not just to discover the truth of what happened that night, but to witness how Erin grapples with her revelations.
The truth can set you free, but it has the potential to be your undoing.
Number Of Pages: 352
Available: 1st September 2021
Publisher: Hachette Australia