Author: Luke Dumas
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: December 6, 2022
Grayson Hale, the most infamous murderer in Scotland, is better known by a different name: the Devil’s Advocate. The twenty-five-year-old American grad student rose to instant notoriety when he confessed to the slaughter of his classmate Liam Stewart, claiming the Devil made him do it.
When Hale is found hanged in his prison cell, officers uncover a handwritten manuscript that promises to answer the question that’s haunted the nation for years: was Hale a lunatic, or had he been telling the truth all along?
Unnervingly, Hale doesn’t fit the bill of a killer. The first-person narrative that centers this novel reveals an acerbic young atheist, newly enrolled at the University of Edinburgh to carry on the legacy of his recently deceased father. In need of cash, he takes a job ghostwriting a mysterious book for a dark stranger, but has misgivings when the project begins to reawaken his satanophobia, a rare condition that causes him to live in terror that the Devil is after him. As he struggles to disentangle fact from fear, Grayson’s world is turned upside-down after events force him to confront his growing suspicion that he’s working for the one he has feared all this time—and that the book is only the beginning of their partnership.
A History of Fear is a propulsive foray into the darkness of the human psyche, marrying dread-inducing atmosphere and heart-palpitating storytelling.
An eerie literary suspense debut following the harrowing downfall of a tortured graduate student who’s been nicknamed the Devil’s Advocate for his sensational crime: murdering a classmate, then claiming the Devil made him do it.
The Devil is in Scotland.
Grayson Hale has been accused and found guilty of killing his classmate Liam Stewart. Grayson justifies the killing by saying that the Devil made him do it. Over a year later, he is found dead in his cell by suicide.
After his death, a manuscript written by him comes to light. From it, we learn that Grayson's father was a pastor and that his life was not easy growing up. As a kid, Grayson was terrified of the devil and anything related to him. As a teenager, he became an atheist.
When his father passes. Grayson decides to go to Scotland, a place his father had visited as a young man. Grayson believes living there will bring him closer to his father. Then a stranger asks him to become a ghostwriter for a novel about the devil. This act will forever change the course of his short life.
To be honest, I was disappointed. The story was not scary. I found the narrative to be repetitive. The pace was also too slow. I did feel terrible for Grayson. He had a terrible life and a worse ending.
A complimentary copy was provided by Atria Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.