“The greatest danger in seeking out the Devil, my dear doctor, is that you might find him”
1930s Czechoslovakia , Dr Viktor Kosarek is on his way to begin a new job at the Hrad Orlu Asylum for the criminally insane, home of 6 Patients know as the Devils Six.
Kaptain Lukas Smolak is investigating a series of killings, people being butchered by the “Leather apron” a killer who appears to be targeting German nationals and has disturbing similarities to Jack the Ripper.
The asylum is as high tech as money can buy and Viktor begins to treat his patients with new untried methods, to reach into their psyches like never before.
WW2 and Nazi Germany simmer throughout this book and the Village around the asylum feels like an unwelcoming place, the locals scared and close knit, occult rumblings , local myths and legends strong in the community, outsiders from the Asylum are not welcome.
Straight from the outset you can feel the brooding gothic atmospheric way this book is written. The writing is superb dealing with Mental health and phycosis at any time must be hard to write about, but basing it 1930s Eastern Europe must be infinitely more difficult yet it’s just fantastic.
The characters draw you in, even more so the 6 murderers. especially for me , The Sciomancer. They are written so superbly and each is more sinister, more evil than the last.
Professor Romanek the head Dr at the asylum has a mysterious way about him and the staff all seem slightly off, Judita the administrator. who becomes Viktor’s love interest has an air about her which fills you with uncertainty, she seems lost at times.
It’s a dark, brooding , intense macabre toxic tale of the occult , the devil, the supernatural, of dark Eastern European myths, Legends and Demons.
It fills you with an anxiety and fear I don’t usually feel whilst reading, I’ve read a lot of horror, but this book really was disturbing and I challenge you not to look over your shoulder especially whilst reading in the dark!
It quite simply stunning and it’s my top read of 2019. Its going to take something very special to beat this book this year
Thank you to Net Galley for my free review copy, as ever this has not influenced my review score at all.