Review: The Devil You Know by Elisabeth de Mariaffi

Review: The Devil You Know by Elisabeth de MariaffiThe Devil You Know by Elisabeth de Mariaffi
Published by Simon and Schuster on January 13th 2015
ISBN: 9781476779089
Genres: Thrillers
Pages: 306
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

The year is 1993. Rookie crime beat reporter Evie Jones is haunted by the unsolved murder of her best friend Lianne Gagnon who was killed in 1982, back when both girls were eleven. The suspected killer, a repeat offender named Robert Cameron, was never arrested, leaving Lianne’s case cold.

Now twenty-one and living alone for the first time, Evie is obsessively drawn to finding out what really happened to Lianne. She leans on another childhood friend, David Patton, for help—but every clue they uncover seems to lead to an unimaginable conclusion. As she gets closer and closer to the truth, Evie becomes convinced that the killer is still at large—and that he’s coming back for her.

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Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


drey’s thoughts:

Elisabeth de Mariaffi’s debut The Devil You Know is the story of a young reporter who’s assigned to cover the investigation into a suspected serial rapist and killer Paul Bernardo. Evie Jones’ childhood best friend was one such victim, and it doesn’t take long for her to start looking into that cold case while she does assigned research on past similar crimes.

What I really liked in The Devil You Know was the feel of the story. Elisabeth de Mariaffi has a deft hand in giving us the creepy-crawliness of a what it’s like to constantly look over your shoulder, wondering if the shadows are just that or something more menacing. I was on the fence as to whether Evie was totally paranoid or not paranoid enough throughout the book – at least until the end, when I was wondered if she was completely crazy to do what she did.

What I didn’t care so much for was the tone of the story. There are no quotation marks used in the dialog, which sometimes made it hard to determine who was “talking”. The voices also felt a bit flat and emotionless, as if Evie only let her real feelings out in her head. There was also a lot of backstory that I didn’t feel contributed much to the story, and her relationship with David was awkward for two people who’ve been close friends for as long as they have.

The plot itself wound around a bit, tangling with Evie’s mother’s and David’s father’s pasts. I thought it got a bit too convoluted, honestly – the bleak history and current high anxiety alone would’ve made for good reading.

Overall I would recommend this for fans of Elizabeth Haynes for the sheer creepiness of the story.

drey’s rating: Pick it up!

Have you read The Devil You Know? What did you think?

About Elisabeth de Mariaffi

elisabeth de mariaffi

Elisabeth de Mariaffi is the Giller Prize-nominated author of one book of short stories, How To Get Along With Women (Invisible Publishing, 2012) and the forthcoming novel, The Devil You Know (HarperCollins, Canada; Simon & Schuster, USA 2015).

Her poetry and short fiction have been widely published in magazines across Canada. In 2013, her story “Kiss Me Like I’m the Last Man on Earth” was shortlisted for a National Magazine Award.

Elisabeth now makes her home in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where she lives with the poet George Murray, their combined four children and a border collie — making them CanLit’s answer to the Brady Brunch.


  1. Hmm, the quotation mark thing is an interesting angle. I don’t like things too creepy (says the reader of those Nordic books), so we’ll see!

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