September 18, 2023

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

The Pale House Devil By Richard Kadrey- Novella Mini-Review

The Pale House Devil By Richard Kadrey- Summary

Goodreads Summary of The Pale House Devil By Richard Kadrey (review below): A gripping, snappy creature feature from the master of horror noir about two detectives—one dead, one living—hired by an embittered old landowner to banish a bloody cosmic monster from his ancestral home, perfect for fans of Cassandra Khaw, Charles Stross and Lucy A. Snyder.

Ford and Neuland are paranormal mercenaries—one living, one undead; one kills the undead, and the other kills the living. Heading west to look for work and wait for the heat from their last job to cool down.

There Tilda, a young woman, hires them to track and kill a demon haunting a mansion in remote northern California for wealthy landowner Shepherd Mansfield.

As Ford and Neuland investigate the creature, they uncover a legacy of blood, sacrifice, and slavery in the house. Forced to confront a powerful creature unlike anything they’ve faced before, they come to learn the biggest monster in this story might just be the person paying them.

The Pale House Devil By Richard Kadrey- Mini-Review

A mini-review for a novella seemed appropriate (115 pages). This is my first read by Richard Kadrey, so I jumped on the ARC like a cat in heat. And The Pale House Devil by Richard Kadrey was simply a blast. It did not disappoint. One of my favorite aspects of The Pale House Devil is the chapters from the monster’s point of view. They are sad, creepy, and funny.

It made a sound like the squishing, crackling noise the soft things made when it turned them inside out. This was its cry of pain and despair. It lay on its side in the dark basement, unmoving and completely visible because being invisible took too much enegery. The soft things upstairs had hurt it as much as anything back home. It felt a swell of pain and lonliness.

However, the monster isn’t the only character to enjoy. Ford and Neuland make a great pair of opposites. One that is alive and kills the undead, and one that is undead and kills the living. Their dynamic and back-and-forth dialogue is entertaining and, at times, poignant.

“‘There’s definitely something here,’ he said. ‘At least the old man isn’t completely crazy.’ ‘I generally prefer crazy to devils,’ said Ford. ‘Devils we can kill. Crazy doesn’t always pay up.'”

Review Summary

Thank you to Titan Books for an advanced copy of The Pale House Devil, which releases on October 3rd.

The addition of Tilda, granddaughter of the man hiring Ford and Neuland, is a perfect addition. She balances out the tag team of Ford and Neuland while providing a well-meaning character to root for.

‘Was that the devil?’ shouted Tilda ‘It wasn’t the ghost of Jack Benny,’ said Ford.

As you can no doubt tell, I’m quoting a lot. The dialogue is one of the strongest pieces of The Pale House Devil. If you like snappy dialogue and dry wit, Richard Kadrey has it in spades. The wit provides a writing style that feels easy, like Sunday morning (yeah, I know…). Despite the sometimes horrific, sometimes suspenseful, and all-around crazy elements of the book, Richard Kadrey keeps the tone light. That makes it an easy, fun read.

Being it releases in October, it is a great book to add to your Halloween TBR list!

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