With insane killers imprisoned in a castle fortress rumored to house the Devil himself and a brutal serial killer terrorizing nearby Prague, the Devil Aspect has plenty of plot and a whole lot of creepy, gothic atmosphere.
It is 1935 in a rural village outside Prague. A new psychotherapist arrives at a mysterious castle, an insane asylum that houses the six most dangerous killers in Czechoslovakia. The therapist, Victor, has a theory that all evil comes from the Devil Aspect in each of us. Once under control, the desire to kill will be conquered. However, when talking to the inmates each states that someone who looked like the Devil did their crimes. Victor believes that their subconscious is attempting to deal with their guilt by disassociating themselves from their crimes.
In a parallel story set in Prague, a serial killer is menacing the populace. Kapitan Lukas thinks he has found the killer through forensic evidence but his suspect insists that another person, who looks just like the Devil, committed the murders.
The book has several sub-plots. Nazis are beginning to make themselves felt in newly formed Czechoslovakia. Victor’s love interest, Judita, a Jew who is deeply worried about the mood in her adopted country. The villagers are convinced that the castle covers a warren of tunnels that lead to the gates of Hell.
There is a lot going on in the Devil Aspect. Despite that, it is a compelling and quick moving read. It is highly recommended to horror fans looking for a more psychological slant. 4 stars!
Thanks to Doubleday Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.