5.0 out of 5 stars An Unexpected Surprise
My first exposure to author Steve Emmett and his debut novel Diavolino came at the hands of my wife. Having recently re-acquired internet access at home and a Kindle as well, she finally had at hand the tools to pursue her dream of becoming a published author. She immediately began developing a core of people to follow via Twitter, which supports a thriving community of both independent and traditional authors. Based upon her experiences, two things immediately became clear to me: the sheer number of aspiring authors out there and the fact that all of them seemed to have the next great novel they were schlepping to anyone with a pulse.
She read Steve's book and raved on it. She convinced me to give it a read as well. I will admit that my first inclination was to dislike the book. Of those aspiring authors she had read, few seemed to have produced anything I thought worth the effort. Additionally, while her chosen genre of expression is horror, I am not much a fan of such. So, reluctantly I delved into Diavolino with a jaundiced eye, determined to find flaw with it. To say that I was quite pleasantly surprised, to the contrary, would be an understatement.
Diavolino starts out in England, takes you to Italy and eventually leads you into the pits of Hell. It is fast-paced from the very beginning as you learn about just what Diavolino is. It is much more than just a secluded island on the Italian coast. It serves as an entrance to hell and Satan's best
hope for escape.
Steve has a good way of telling a story. He embraces one of the first tenets of writing and writes what he knows. Steve has intimate, first-hand knowledge of the location in which his story is told, and it shows. His rich descriptions of the terrain, the architecture, the people and places therein is obviously deep and genuine.
All books proceed at a pace. Some, to use an analogy, are like ocean liners. They steam along a prescribed course, at a determined pace and hold one's attention based on luxurious amenities. Some proceed more like an amusement park ride. They are fast, breakneck journeys of indeterminate length and unknown surprises. Diavolino is akin to the E-ticket ride from hell.
The book scurries along at a relentless pace, dragging the reader along with it. While it contains the occasional mental pause akin to a coaster chugging up a grade, it soon enough reaches the summit and plunges one through so many twists and turns that severe dizziness is a real possibility. While astute readers can usually predict just where a story is heading, Diavolino defies one to do such.
Steve has an interesting approach to the characters who play out the story. He struts them out on stage, provides a thumbnail sketch of them and then thrusts them into the tale. While, at times, I would have liked to have had more back story on them, the protagonists especially, I came to appreciate Steve's approach. His characters fit seamlessly into the story because they are portrayed in the same overall style as the book itself. It is as if the reader is told, 'Here is X. Here is what you must be told to have a minimal understanding of X. Now, let's get on with the story. Fill in the details for yourself.'
It lent an (intended?) air of suspense and mystery to the tale not knowing quite as much about everyone as one might have liked. It was as if to say, to use the analogy again, one might strike up a relationship with fellow passengers on an ocean liner but the fat guy in the Hawaiian shirt, in the next car of the coaster, you already know plenty about to enjoy the ride. It is a style of characterization I could grow to like.
So,to summarize, if you are yearning for a different kind of read; one that crosses genres back and forth, this contains all of the horror/suspense/thriller elements one could ever ask for. It is at times gritty, at times wondrous, at times horrific and at all times simply a really good yarn. Steve continues to pursue the elusive success that a first novel may not always garner. He is currently in development of several works, one of which is pegged a sequel to Diavolino. I can not strongly enough encourage you to give this fledgling writer the opportunity to become the icon that he has the potential to be within the Horror field.