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The Devil Latch by Sonya Hartnett

The Devil Latch (1996)

by Sonya Hartnett

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Kitten Latch knows that he is special, that he has an unusual mission: to exterminate the evil that is his grandfather, and become the new Devil Latch himself. Kitten knows this because the twin devils have come to him and told him, have advised him of what the Natural Parents want from him. All of this stands to be derailed, though, when Kitten meets Amy, the new neighbor who has moved in next door, and the story takes a slightly more gothic-romance turn.

It's here where the book falls into a slight identity crisis: the gothic horror-romance drops hints at turning into a vampire story, but then drops that thread as if it never existed. This is frequently listed as "fantasy" or "supernatural," but I think it's a more straight-up story of mental instability--after all, when a crazy person says they're hearing demons, do we believe they have honest-to-goodness demons living in their skulls? The elements of horror, romance, and painful, bitter family histories muddle together, and while they mostly emerge unscathed, it's not entirely flawless.

I'm erring on the side of generosity in my rating, because I suspect I'd have liked this a lot more as a physical book rather than an audio recording. Unfortunately, the paper book was not available in either the library system I work in or live in, so I settled for the audio, against my better judgment. Hartnett's writing is a little too complex to not be on the page, and it's harder (for me) to keep track of details when I'm not seeing the words.

I was feeling pretty cranky about most of Hartnett's work not having been published in the US, but the more of it I'm tracking down, the more convinced I become that publishers have made the right choice. I do think I'll be re-reading Thursday's Child, though, to remind myself why I fell in love with her books in the first place. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Lockie Leonard's survived the worst year on record. His first year of high school, a new town, his first mad love affair - it's all behind him. But the world of weirdness hasn't finished with him yet. His family is in a shambles and then an old flame comes scorching back into his life.… (more)

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