Thursday, 11 February 2016

The Devil in the Valley - Castle Freeman Jr.

"In his quiet Vermont home, a man named Taft sits and wonders what's missing from his life. He's at a loss until a strange voice startles him from the rocking chair, where a stranger has seemingly appeared out of nowhere: well-dressed and smooth-talking, this man offers Taft the chance to have anything he's ever wanted-for a price. So begins The Devil in the Valley, the latest novel from critically acclaimed author Castle Freeman, Jr. Combining his deft hand for the supernatural with his classic setting of rural Vermont, Freeman gives us a story that touches on temptation and greed, and explores what we're willing to trade to obtain the things we most desire. A modern fable that explores the supernatural while staying rooted deeply in our world, The Devil in the Valley is a powerful novel from a master at his craft."

Having studied Dr Faustus at Uni and LOVED it, I was excited to be offered this to review - pegged as a modern day re-working of Faustus I dived straight in and wasn't disappointed. 

Castle Freeman Jr has written a perfect modern day version - he hasn't followed the storyline exactly, but pretty darn close to it - and it is an absolute joy to read. Whereas the original Faustus was given 24 years to enjoy his deal with the devil, Taft has only a few months, and he uses those few months wisely. I loved him, really loved him. When we meet him he is prickly, a drunk, someone who the reader feels sure will abuse the power that Dangerfield gives him, but he is also not what I thought he would be. 

A book that, whether it is meant to or not, has an underlying "feel good" factor, I enjoyed every last page - and the ending was just the icing on the cake. Whether you know the story of Faustus or not, this is a novel that every reader will enjoy, with characters that offer far more than I was expecting. 

The Devil in the Valley is out now and you can get it here:

**My thanks to the publisher for my ARC**

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