How do you find a killer when you’re surrounded by madness?
1935. As Europe prepares itself for a calamitous war, six homicidal lunatics – the so-called ‘Devil’s Six’ – are confined in a remote castle asylum in rural Czechoslovakia. Each patient has their own dark story to tell and Dr Viktor Kosárek, a young psychiatrist using revolutionary techniques, is tasked with unlocking their murderous secrets.
At the same time, a terrifying killer known as ‘Leather Apron’ is butchering victims across Prague. Successfully eluding capture, it would seem his depraved crimes are committed by the Devil himself.
Maybe they are… and what links him with the insane inmates of the Castle of the Eagles?
Only the Devil knows. And it is up to Viktor to find out.
OMG- OMG – OH MY FRIGGIN’ GOD!! ? Before I start I have to give a HUGE thanks to Mr Craig Russell and the publisher for an ARC of this EPIC read! E-P-I-C!!!! I will also warn you that I just might not be able to contain my sheer joy and excitement when going through my review of this book because OMFG it was just the most brilliant piece of writing I have come across! …and breathe… guess I had better share my review now!
Set in Czechoslovakia the reader is faced with fear, anxiety, mental health, trauma, loss, curiosity, psychosis, evil, facing ones inner demons, chaos, balance, questions and a search for answers – plus a whole lot more!
Well, what can I say – every now and again a reader comes across a gem of a book- one that truly gets under your skin and both excites and unnerves you in the best possible way…that, my friends is ✨THIS BOOK ✨ for me! Craig Russell delivers an opening that was both beautiful in its words and horrifying in its description. I was mesmerised and HOOKED from the start and I knew…I just bloody knew that I would be pulled into this story without mercy. Haunting, gothic, atmospheric – I am in absolutely AWE of Mr Russell’s writing – if books were music, this one would be the most glorious symphony! With superb plot and characterisation, I read this book with such enormous enthusiasm – I am surprised my neighbours didn’t come and check on me – shouting questions, all the OMG NO WAY’s and maniacal squeals of delight with each new revelation. DAMN – this was one EPIC read! ????
When it comes to the characters in this novel, I’m not sure where to begin or end – this book was rich with such amazing and sinister characters … I would love to write about each and every one of them, but that would spoil it for those of have yet to read this book…so I won’t … *sigh* …
How about I just name a few who really added such depth and pleasure to the reading experience…that’s fair, right? Dr. Viktor Kosárek – a psychiatrist starting a new post in the Hrad Orlu asylum where #TheDevilsSix are housed… *shudders*. He has devised a new therapy and hopes to rehabilitate those who are believed to be un-rehabilitatable …is that a word? Viktor has his own backstory which is just as fascinating as the patients he is working with and you kind of see why he found his calling in the field of psychiatry. Absolutely loved his character – SO BRILLIANT!
??The Devil’s Six?? – OMG I want to talk about each of them…but actually, it was the discovery of them all as you go along, that adds to the story, so I won’t spoil it for you – but if we ever meet, and you’ve read this book…we can chat for hours!! What I will say about this group of killers is that it was hard not to empathise with them at times. Yes, seems weird considering the diabolical/gruesome crimes they committed – but the insight that the author drip feeds to the reader, really opens things up – and gives an understanding to the person behind the crimes.
One final character I will mention is Judita – she really is a fabulous character. Her haunting dreams, her own trauma – all lead to her becoming an administrator at the asylum. There is a real darkness, a sadness within her and she and Viktor find comfort within each other. Wonderful, wonderful, WONDERFUL character!
And OMFG THAT ENDING! ?? It will take a lot for another book to evoke the same feelings of pure satisfaction that this book did for me. DIVINE!
Would I recommend this book? With every beat of my twisted heart I would! A fantastically written mix of the macabre, both beautiful and horrifying, intense, haunting and intriguing – this is my TOP READ of 2019 and it will take some doing to knock this bad-boy off its pedestal! What else can I say? A journey into the darkest recesses of your soul; where the lines of reality are blurred and you just have NO CLUE what is going to happen – are you ready? Prepare yourself… and welcome to the gates of hell!