Devil House

Macmillan Audio Jan. 2022. 11:17 hrs. ISBN 9781250818942. $26.99. M
Mountain Goats singer/songwriter Darnielle (Wolf in White Van; Universal Harvester) narrates his third audiobook with the same brisk lucidity that his prose has, differentiating characters only as much as necessary but hitting notes of wry observation with the tone his true-crime writer protagonist, Gage Chandler, might employ. When starting a new true crime book, Gage’s creative process requires direct access to the scene of the crime for full sensory detail, so naturally he buys and moves into a former porn store in suburban Milpitas, CA, site of a 1986 double homicide, though its most intriguing details have disappeared under new paint. Gage’s unreliability as a narrator—and as a writer—is overshadowed by his sensitivity toward his subjects and Darnielle’s engaging performance. Suspense builds, though, as perspectives shift and new context reflects on Gage’s writing career as a whole, puncturing the illusion of journalistic detachment in his lurid line of work.
VERDICT Highly recommended for fans of unexpected, yet perfectly set up twists; with music by Darnielle and bandmate Matt Douglas.
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