Devil’s Night
by Thomas Stacey
Outskirts Press

"Larry saw a body of a person leaping off the overpass. That was all his mind registered before it went black and vacant."

Devil’s Night is a night of mischief occurring on Halloween Eve. Georgie and his group of friends decide to up the ante in their stunts by stealing a scarecrow from a neighbor’s home. They plan to hang it over an expressway to jolt passengers below, but the scarecrow falls, and a motorist and his wife are killed in a violent crash as a result. Georgie and his friends flee and establish alibis, unaware of the consequences of their tomfoolery. Mickey Lesko is the surviving victim of the accident, and his life, along with that of his older sister, Rosemary, has been irrevocably changed. As time goes on, Mickey has suspicions about the kids behind the accident and has his eye on Georgie. Despite the carnage he caused, Georgie becomes obsessed with Mickey and his remaining family. Meanwhile, Aunt Anna finds a late-in-life love affair that is tied to the other key character—a Doberman Pinscher named Lucifer. Lucifer is Georgie's nemesis and determines the end of the story.

Stacey's book is a psychological and dramatic thriller that begins in the wake of a devastating tragedy and tracks the progress of the young Lesko children as they cope with loss and attempt to find normalcy. Rosemary and Mickey’s early maturation is conveyed with emotional tact and depth. The kids are scarred but resilient. Their innocence is counterbalanced by the menacing presence of the budding psychopath Georgie. Georgie’s remorse is fleeting, and his conscience is a non-factor as he looks for friends he can hang with and control. The plot of the story combines a coming-of-age narrative with suspenseful elements that will occasionally unnerve the reader. The author has written an inspired story with a broad appeal that would make for a fun read in October or, for that matter, any other month.

A 2023 Eric Hoffer Book Award Grand Prize Short List book

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