Thursday, September 5, 2013

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery...who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror, April Genevieve Tucholke weaves a dreamy, twisting contemporary romance, as gorgeously told as it is terrifying—a debut to watch.

Once I saw a blurb for this book that read:

"A gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and F. Scott Fitzgerald, set against a creepy summertime backdrop--a must-read for fans of Beautiful CreaturesThe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, and Anna Dressed in Blood."

Sold! I'm completely obsessed with - or at the very least, I've enjoyed - every one of those titles and authors, my love for this one should come as no surprise. It was DAMN GOOD.

I haven't read many gothic horrors, or old school creepy classics, but Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea has me inclined to - April Genevieve Tucholke did her job well.

I usually associate gothic-type atmospheres with the old deep south, but Tucholke brought the coast to life, filling the pages with just the right tone to convey the perfect amount of eerie and dreary of Echo, Violet's small, quiet seaside town. The doom and gloom feel served well, especially with the arrival of River, who - let's face it - is as dreamy as he is mysterious. You're aware from the title and synopsis that he may or may not have sinister motives, yet he's an intriguing and smooth enough character to allure you (and Violet) anyway.

The rest of the cast is great, and each of them distinct, from Violet's jerky twin brother Luke, to her boy-crazy best friend/neighbor Sunshine, and then there's Violet and Luke's home, the old rundown mansion referred to as Citizen Kane, which also serves as quite the supporting character in the story.

Apart from the story itself, the gorgeous writing was another factor that had me glued to the pages - Tucholke can sure string some words together.

This is a debut that has everything - characters you'll care about, mystery, a wicked romance, and an ending that wraps up well enough, yet still leaves you yearning for the sequel. And though this book has a certain ominous vibe to it, non-horror fans need not worry - it certainly provides more thrills than chills, but will satisfy every reader all the same.

A perfect read now that we're heading into fall and Halloween is nearing, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is in stores now, and you should most def pick up a copy!


  1. My favorite aspect of this book was most definitely how atmospheric it was. I loved the gothic details of the crumbling house and the graveyard those spooky kids hang out in. I agree that the book wasn't scary, but it was certainly eerie. I had some small issues with this novel, but will definitely pick up the sequel. Great review!

  2. I'm a little wary of this book because of some bad reviews, but I'm going to give it a try. I hope I like it as much as you did.

  3. I've heard mixed reviews of this book, but it looks creepy and right up my alley. Thanks for the review!

  4. EEE!! I've been looking forward to this book since the start of 2013, and I'm really excited to read it! The way you've described Violet's seaside town made me curious and afraid at the same time, and well, River is definitely someone I have to know! Love your review of this book and I HAVE TO get my hands on this book =)

    Alicia @ Summer Next Top Story

  5. Gothic AND a coastal setting? I'm so in. (I already requested it from the library, so I'm glad to see it was a good idea!)


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