Today I have a review of The Devil Aspect by Craig Russell available from Doubleday Books on March 5, 2019!
Viktor Kosarek is a young psychiatrist, a protege of Carl Jung, when he’s hired to work at the Hrad Orlu Asylum in Prague. The year is 1935. The facility is considered state of the art for its time, a castle built right into the mountaintop.
Hrad Orlu is home to six of the country’s most notorious murderers, and each has a chilling nickname by the staff.
Viktor’s theory is that these patients share a personality trait of evil in common, and he has developed a medical technique to identify just that. He calls the trait The Devil Aspect.
At the same time as Viktor’s arrival, there’s a serial killer on the loose in Prague, setting everyone on edge and in fear. Lukas Smolak is the investigator in charge, and he quickly takes note that the killer is imitating Jack the Ripper from 100 years before. Smolak comes to Hrad Orlu for help in tracking the suspect through Viktor’s breakthrough.
Overall, The Devil Aspect had my mind spinning and my pulse racing. If you are looking for an original thriller with a historical edge, this is it. The interactions with the killers gave me the for-real heebie jeebies. The plot moves along at a brisk, even pace. It’s dark. It’s gothic and atmospheric. It’s a wonderfully engaging thriller that kept me up late flipping its pages. Highly recommended.
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
Prague, 1935: Viktor Kosárek, a psychiatrist newly trained by Carl Jung, arrives at the infamous Hrad Orlu Asylum for the Criminally Insane. The state-of-the-art facility is located in a medieval mountaintop castle outside of Prague, though the site is infamous for concealing dark secrets going back many generations. The asylum houses the country’s six most treacherous killers–known to the staff as The Woodcutter, The Clown, The Glass Collector, The Vegetarian, The Sciomancer, and The Demon–and Viktor hopes to use a new medical technique to prove that these patients share a common archetype of evil, a phenomenon known as The Devil Aspect. As he begins to learn the stunning secrets of these patients, five men and one woman, Viktor must face the disturbing possibility that these six may share another dark truth.
Meanwhile, in Prague, fear grips the city as a phantom serial killer emerges in the dark alleys. Police investigator Lukas Smolak, desperate to locate the culprit (dubbed Leather Apron in the newspapers), realizes that the killer is imitating the most notorious serial killer from a century earlier–London’s Jack the Ripper. Smolak turns to the doctors at Hrad Orlu for their expertise with the psychotic criminal mind, though he worries that Leather Apron might have some connection to the six inmates in the asylum.
Steeped in the folklore of Eastern Europe, and set in the shadow of Nazi darkness erupting just beyond the Czech border, this stylishly written, tightly coiled, richly imagined novel is propulsively entertaining, and impossible to put down.
Have you read The Devil Aspect, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR