The Devil’s Fan Club by Mark Kirkbride – a review

This review first appeared on Nightstand Novels who sent me a copy of The Devil’s Fan Club by Mark Kirkbride.

There is a serial killer on the loose and it seems to twins James and Louise that for some reason the killer is targeting their friends and acquaintances. The twins are trying to rebel against the strict religious upbringing forced on them by their parents and so are excited that at a fancy dress party they meet the Devil, in the guise of Nick. He invites them to join a very exclusive club called the Devil’s Fan Club, however there is one catch. In order to join they will have to do an initiation test, kill their parents.

I am in two minds over this book. I thought the story itself was an interesting idea, and the ending was quite clever, but overall I found it just seemed to be trying too hard. I’m not easily disturbed by fiction, as someone who spends their spare time reading crime books you soon learn that fiction and reality are very separate entities; however I think this book just went too far for no reason.

The relationship between the twins was incredibly strange, and I’m not really sure of the purpose of this. If it was to make the reader understand why they are so easily influenced by the ‘Devil’ then I think it was unnecessary. There are other more believable ways to make people seem mentally unstable. Whereas the ‘Devil’ was a well written if somewhat sinister character, but would in the end have made more of an impact had the twins been more normal.

Personally I was not keen on the writing style. I realise its personal preference but to me it seemed that the writer was just using too many unnecessarily complicated words. I’m all for learning new words but I almost got the sense that the writer had gone a bit free and easy with the thesaurus (remember that episode of Friends where Joey writes the letter to the adoption agency?) For example ‘They gradually coalesced to form something inchoate, something vaguely marsupial – every transmogrification….’ Really, they were just having sex!

There also seemed to me to be some dubious grammar, now I admit it’s been a long time since I was at school and the rules may have changed but I was always told that you didn’t start a sentence with ‘And’. I know it’s often said that rules are meant to be broken, but to me rules like these are there for a reason and it interrupts the flow of the story.

Despite those complaints I quite enjoyed the book and I thought some of it was well written. There were some scenes that felt like they were in a proper old fashioned horror story and the idea was a good one. Unfortunately the style of writing was not for me.

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