My Thoughts on Recent Thriller “Devil House”

Mar 22, 2022

devil house by john darnielle

Today, I want to share my recent review of Devil House, a new thriller about a true crime author who takes on a real murder and tries to use his own investigative skills to solve it. This idea is not as far-fetched as it might seem. In fact, the novel’s premise mirrors my own professional life, as portrayed in my two upcoming non-fiction crime books, Drifting Into Darkness and Met Her on the Mountain.

My Review of Devil House

The disciplines of long form journalism and fiction writing are not that far apart; both involve heavy researching and reporting. Of course, writing about solving a crime and actually solving one are two very different things. For that reason, among others, young journalists are taught one of the cardinal rules of the craft: Never become a part of the story you’re covering.

Gage Chandler, the narrating protagonist of Devil House, wrote his first true crime book while still a journalism student at California Polytechnic State University, colloquially known as Cal Poly. The successful paperback told the story of a woman Gage believed had been wrongly executed for a double murder, a crime which he concluded was actually committed in self defense.

When this first effort was sold to the movies, Gage’s career was off and running.

“I’ve been writing about crimes ever since: the crimes people tell stories about, and the secret ones our stories seek to conceal,” he writes.

To read the rest of my review of Devil House, click here.


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