Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“How long would it last? How long does the world allow anything unequivocal to last?”
This book was pure perfection. It had everything I love; mysterious characters, thrilling scenes, and that addictive, story-telling element that forces you to read pages and pages without a break. I just couldn’t get enough! Such a dark, captivating read that I recommend to everyone who loves a good thriller. Things aren’t always as they seem with this one! Here’s my stop on the blog tour with all these other incredible book bloggers.
In a quiet corner of Edinburgh, Cat Thomas is going through hell. She’s tried everything. He respects nothing. If your neighbour was making your life hell … Would you call upon the devil?
Cat Thomas, a brilliant fraud investigator, has just relocated from Florida to a dreamy flat in historic Edinburgh. Everything seems perfect. Everything seems serene. Except for the unbelievably noisy wannabe rockstar upstairs.
Soon Cat’s blissful new life is in ruins. Desperate, she’s willing to try anything. When all else fails, she makes an appeal … to Satan. And suddenly everything is eerily quiet. But her nightmare has only just begun …
I loved the opening to this book – the author’s tone is so easy to read, but at the same time, it had a kind of complexity to it that made it very satisfying. The main character, Cat, has moved miles and miles from America to Edinburgh, started a new job and found the ideal place to live at a decent price. It isn’t until a couple of weeks of bliss have passed that she realises she has a rather unpleasant neighbour in the flat above her. This guy seems to be the loudest person on earth and makes Cat’s life a misery. I instantly connected with Cat’s character; she was so likeable and relatable, and I could tell she’d be a very interesting character to follow through the book. I wondered if she’d ever pluck up the courage to confront this noisy neighbour, and I had a feeling that things were about to get even more disturbing.
I enjoyed hearing Cat’s take on the real reason why she moved to Edinburgh. The detail in this scene was fabulous and it’s clear her profession is a big part of her life. She also has her first encounter with Dylan, the guy upstairs, and I really felt the need to keep an eye on him. He acted strangely and was the perfect character to suspect. Cat’s friend and colleague, Agnes, suggests that she meets with a group of friends she knows, people that may be able to help her with the ever growing problem of Dylan. I had the same thoughts as Cat at this point; were they a group of hitmen who’d be able to take him out without arousing suspicion? I was eager to learn more about this group and just whether Cat would agree to take on their help.
Already, the book had drawn me in and I was enjoying the journey, even when we’d not even got to the really good stuff yet! With Dylan’s disrespectful antics continuing to worsen, Cat decides to be brave and confront him midway through one of his parties. I admired her bravery, but at the same time, I couldn’t help but think of what this could do to Cat’s life. Would he make her life hell? Would he actually apologise and start to respect her wishes? Somehow, I didn’t think the latter would be the case. Cat decides to ask Agnes about the group once more and decides to book in. I couldn’t wait to see who these people were and just how they’d be able to help her. The author has written the book in a way that forces you to ask questions constantly and keeps you guessing in every chapter. I feel this is such a clever talent and the author has impressed me no end already.
“She had a glimpse of the Great Sheldrake smiling at her, and over his shoulder, in the satanic darkness, the ghostly face of the man with gleaming eyes.”
I absolutely LOVED what came next. Cat, Agnes and the group she’d been waiting to meet had the most intense discussion in the most extravagant of places, and I thought this particular scene was unlike any other in a book of this genre. Things quickly become so dark and unexpected, and I found myself physically unable to stop reading! I felt like this was completely shocking to Cat too, and as their discussions escalated, she finds herself giving such complex answers to questions, even relating a lot of this discussion to her own experiences with her upstairs neighbour. I became so excited for what would happen next and just how this meeting would have an effect on Cat’s life. The beginning of the book has well and truly blown me away and I couldn’t wait to see how the middle of the book played out. Would Cat ever see her problem go away?
This story was turning into something I never even imagined it would. I was amazed by how detailed each scene became and I particularly loved the ending of the satanic ritual – how unique! I felt fearful of what the outcome would be long after Cat returned home that night and had question after question running through my mind. Had the ritual worked? If so, what could we expect to happen to the guy upstairs? The book became incredibly exciting and I began reading page after page with a kind of eagerness that wasn’t there before. The author’s words were so addictive and always kept me wondering what would happen next. It wasn’t until there was silence upstairs for a long while that I really suspected something. The way the story led up to that apartment being opened by police made my jaw drop in shock, and we start to get immense cliff hangers at the end of each chapter. Things were getting so exciting yet horrifying at the same time and I loved it!
The second part of the book seemed to go in the exact opposite direction. After a new tenant moves in upstairs, Cat is still on edge due to how quiet this new guy is and why she rarely hears him make a sound. Is he hiding something or is he genuinely being the kind, considerate neighbour? As a reader, part of me thought Cat was just over thinking things and that this guy was completely different to the guy who lived there before, but then the other part of me also questioned a lot. He didn’t seem traumatised by the story of the person who lived there previously, and his quietness seemed a little unnatural. Who doesn’t even flush the toilet?! The book was reaching a crucial point, I could just feel it! The suspense and tension I felt was just building and I couldn’t wait to see how part two of the book unfolded.
As well as the suspenseful main story including some horrific murder, a little bit of stalking and a new unfathomable neighbour, I also really enjoyed hearing about Cat’s career at ABC in Internal Frauds. I loved how well she was able to interrogate people and get the answers she needs, even if her boss doesn’t appreciate it. I couldn’t help but wonder if all this would come in useful at some point, or exactly how this would link in to the story later down the line. Meanwhile, Cat and Boucher, her new neighbour, get to know each other a little better and she even shares some very personal details with him about her life. I felt that after learning more about him, our thoughts of whether he’s genuine all seem to check out, which helps Cat to trust him more. But could we? I was still in two minds about him!
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
Things quickly turn very ‘devilish’ (if I can use that as a word) and mysterious, and I found my mind to be constantly working over time. It felt as though there was a huge secret to uncover at this point and every page was a crucial part to the solving of the mystery. I felt Cat had her own suspicions about the people she comes across and the story was so very involving at every turn. The author had me hooked and I felt this particular story had a much more creepy edge than I was expecting. It’s strange; I was confident that such a controversial theme would be enjoyed by many, whether they believed in ‘the devil’ or whether they think it’s complete fiction. Your mind might even be changed when you find out how the story ends… I loved the build up to the end of the book and I just couldn’t stop reading until I found out what happened!
After Cat meets a woman who says it’s her job to protect her, things get even more weird. Who was she? And who was she planning on protecting Cat from? Cat finds herself thinking about this scenario more and more, and my curiosity was at an all time high. The book seemed to have surprise after surprise and things only continued to get deeper the further we get to the end. I had a feeling Cat wasn’t safe, but was it Boucher that she needed to be protected from? I had genuinely no idea where the story was going to go, but I found myself becoming increasingly concerned for Cat’s safety. The story was quickly becoming one of those which makes you scared to be alone, and I simply loved how weird, dark and horrifying it became. What else could Cat possibly have to go through? Would things continue as they were forevermore?
Part three of the book was my favourite by far. In some ways, it seemed like a completely different story entirely, but it made us think about a whole lot of things we’ve experienced so far. The book gets darker and we start to get answers about what we’ve questioned for a while. With more murder revealed, does Cat have an idea of who the murderer could be? Is she able to put all the pieces together and understand exactly what is happening? I felt so sorry for this character – after only wanting some peace and quiet from a noisy neighbour, she’d managed to summon the Devil. But who was it, and was she even safe anymore? I had a few theories for how the story would end, but after reading other reviews, I wasn’t confident I’d be right…
Each problem Cat has, the Devil seems to solve. With characters dropping dead left, right and centre, Cat is terrified about its next move. Could she flee without being found? Unlikely, but she’d have to take it. Her life begins to spiral out of control and she lands herself in more danger than we could have ever imagined. What was the author trying to do to me?! I was desperate to find out what happens and if Cat would be able to stay safe. This part of the book was very intense and had me reading quicker than ever, incredibly keen to know the outcome. Even the smallest of scene was crafted in a way that makes you fear for Cat’s life. I couldn’t fault any of it!
“There was something about the whole nightmare – the swirling fog, the palpable sense of evil – that she could no longer tolerate.”
Agnes attempts to explain everything to Cat, and a lot of it I hadn’t even picked up myself which I really enjoyed. And the twist? Amazing!! I was so surprised by Agnes’ explanation and I loved the unexpected turn. Would this change things for Cat? The ending of the book was complete perfection and I was so glad it ended the way it did. Even though the ending wasn’t a bright and cheery one, it does keep your imagination alive and I personally don’t think it could have ended any better. I was sad the book ended but is definitely one that I’ll be reading again. The experience was unlike anything I’d ever had! A solid five stars, and would probably give it six if I could!
Witches, satanic rituals and the devil upstairs quite literally make this one of the most weird yet wonderful books I’ve read this year. Completely thrilling from beginning to end, this book combines an intense horror with a demonic story line to create an addictive, mesmerising read. I’m gobsmacked, but at the same time, I loved everything about this book! The author throws you off course constantly and creates the ultimate twist that not even the best detective could have predicted. I’d definitely recommend for anyone who loves a thriller but is craving something that little bit different to the norm. Absolutely incredible!
Thanks so much to the author of this amazing book, Antony O’Neill, and Love Books Tours for my copy of the book and my place on the blog tour! You can purchase your own copy of The Devil Upstairs now on Amazon, available on Kindle and in paperback or hardback.