Wednesday 8 December 2021


I used to think that I'd escaped Southport . . . Now I realised, Southport had been coming for me all this time.

Erin Sloane was sixteen when high school senior Andre Villiers was murdered by his friends. They were her friends, too, led by the intense, charismatic Ricky Hell. Five people went into West Cypress Road Woods the night Andre was murdered. Only three came out. 

 Ativan, alcohol and distance had dimmed Erin's memories of that time. But nearly twenty years later, an ageing father will bring her home. Now a journalist, she is asked to write a story about the Southport Three and the thrill-kill murder that mesmerised the country. Erin's investigation propels her closer and closer to a terrifying truth. And closer and closer to danger.

This is a book that caught my eye a few months ago while checking out Hachette's monthly catalogue, but I've been so busy with my own writing that I didn't get a chance to pick it up until now.

When Erin Sloane was sixteen, a high school senior was murdered in the woods by his friends. These kids happened to be her friends too. Now, sixteen years later, she's a journalist and agrees to write a story about the Southport Three. But her investigation opens up old wounds and ultimately puts her in danger...

I really enjoyed this. It's a powerful and well-written story that unfolds at a good pace and features a narrator with many (many) flaws. She also has a tragic past.

Erin isn't a great person and keeps lots of secrets from everyone, including herself. She's only comfortable after swallowing pills with a sip of alcohol and smoking the days away, but once she embarks on this journalistic journey, she discovers how much of her life and memories are shrouded by lies.

After so many years of pushing away the painful memories of her childhood friends and family, she's forced to face everything head-on. She also has to accept her role in everything as she recalls all the terrible things she went through.

I also enjoyed the Resident Alien chapters because they filled in some of the gaps. Or did they? That's the thing about this book. Everyone lies.

I Shot the Devil is an addictive story. As soon as I started, I couldn't wait to uncover all the mysteries and experience the revelations with Erin. Our narrator is prickly, tormented by the past, mostly heavily intoxicated with a cocktail of prescription drugs and alcohol, but her voice is strong. Her trauma vivid. Her need for answers as shocking for her as it becomes for the reader.

Sometimes I felt sorry for her. And other times she made it hard to like her.

This crime thriller deals with abuse, addiction, murder and so many awful secrets. Too many things are kept hidden, but are there to be found if Erin dares to delve below the darkness.

Overall, I thought this was a great book but have to admit that the ending left me feeling a little hollow. Not sure what I was expecting, though.

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.

I Shot the Devil, September 2021, ISBN 9780733642760, Hodder Children's Books

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