The Devil Aspect

Written by Craig Russell
Review by Mike Ashworth

Czechoslovakia, 1935. A remote castle serves as a lunatic asylum for six homicidal lunatics – too dangerous ever to be released. Dr. Victor Kosarek, a young, idealistic psychiatrist, is determined to use revolutionary techniques to unlock their secrets and force them to face their murderous actions. At the same time, a serial killer known as “Leather Apron” is terrifying the population of Prague as he carries out a series of depraved, shocking murders in the city. Is there a link between one or all the inmates in the asylum and the devilish killer? This is a time when the Nazi threat is looming over the country, forming a dark background against which the murders seem to hint at the bloody madness that will engulf not only Czechoslovakia, but Europe itself.

With a strong plotline and characters, this is a fascinating thriller. It is a taut, dark and gothic tale that unfolds against the backdrop of ethnic tensions in Czechoslovakia in the mid-to-late 1930s. If you like dark historical thrillers, this is for you. Just don’t read the last thirty pages before you go to sleep – you’ve been warned! Recommended.