The Devil You Know by Emma Kavanagh

I’ve been meaning to read an Emma Kavanagh book in ages having heard her speak on numerous Crime Festival panels over the years, so decided to make a determined effort this time around not to let her latest book, The Devil You Know, slip down my TBR list. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Netgalley

About the Book

Up until yesterday I knew who I was.
Up until yesterday my life wasn’t a lie.

Rosa Fisher is the smart girl, the good girl. At twenty-five and mid-way through a PhD in the psychology of fraud, she thinks she has herself all figured out. Until that night, when the house is dark and she is all alone, and she hears an intruder on the stairs.

But the intruder isn’t looking for Rosa Fisher. He’s after someone else. And everything Rosa has ever known about her world is about to be turned upside down.

Determined to find out who she really is, Rosa traces her origins back to a small Canadian town, to a fire in a barn and a devastating family tragedy. Which forces her to question – if she can lie with such ease, was she ever really the good girl after all?

Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay | Apple Books | Hive

My Thoughts

Well, I wasn’t aware until I finished reading this book that it is, sort of, part of a series. I say sort of because each of the stories is standalone and yet there are recurring characters between the books and one central character that links them – the elusive Jackson Wolf.

I’ll be honest, this book kind of took me by surprise. I’ve always wanted to read a book by Emma Kavanagh, partly as I mentioned earlier, from having heard her speak at a few festivals but also because of her credentials in terms of personal experience in the field of Psychology. I knew she’d have great insight but I wasn’t really ready for how much this story drew me in. The main character in the book, Rosa Fisher, is studying for her PhD, specialising in Fraud and white collar crime, when she finds herself embroiled in a mystery which is intense and ultimately deadly. After her home is broken into, Rosa discovers something unexpected about her past, something that makes her head off in search of the truth, and that puts her well and truly in the sights of the aforementioned Mr Wolf.

From the very beginning of the book I found myself completely drawn into the story. Although the first chapter ends in quite a surprising manner, the rest of story begins in a rather unassuming way. But it doesn’t take long for the tension to start to build, with the author taking us not only on a journey into the world of the psychology of fraud via Rosa’s studies, but also of fear. The way in which she develops Rosa’s post traumatic stress following the break in, and the ensuing paranoia and nervousness as she makes her way to Canada and realises the extent of her situation is really powerful. There is nothing especially gratuitous, no great element of shock employed to set the reader on edge, more it is a culmination of lots of little moments that really gets under your skin and puts you one edge. Add to that the atmospheric tone of the writing and the landscapes, and you are set for all out chills.

The story is full of mystery and intrigue, with plenty to keep you guessing as to the real identity of Jackson Wolf. I know that I developed several theories during the course of the book, one of which proved a lot closer to the truth than most, but still I didn’t quite crack it. I loved the kind of contradiction that the author created in Wolf’s character. He is without a doubt menacing, and very deadly, and yet there is something about him which makes him hold back a little. You have no doubt that if he wants to, if he feels he needs to, he will not hesitate to kill. This is something that the author is able to explore both for Detectives and readers, using Rosa’s experience and training to allow her to confront this aspect of his character. It works well and makes him all the more intriguing to me as a reader. I do love getting to know a character with a dark side …

I liked the character of Rosa. She is stronger than she feels herself to be, but a little impetuous too, which gets her into trouble more than once. She is someone I was more than happy to follow throughout the book, and although her actions were sometimes foolhardy, they didn’t feel forced or unbelievable. Yes, there were times I also wanted to shout at my kindle, wondering what she was playing at, but the ability to generate that kind of frustration with a character’s actions is the sign of a good book (or a reader who needs to get out more – I’ll leave Ms Kavanagh to analyse the psychology of that one …)

I’m absolutely hooked now though. From the way in which the narrative really created a clear picture of the setting, of the history and tragedy that informed the main story, this is a series I want to know more about. Without question I’ll be going to look out To Catch A Killer to find out what came before. Luckily I just happen to have a copy already … Happy days.

About the Author

Emma Kavanagh was born in Wales in 1978 and currently lives in South Wales with her husband and two young sons. She trained as a psychologist and, after leaving university, started her own business as a psychology consultant, specialising in human performance in extreme situations. For seven years she provided training and consultation for police forces and NATO and military personnel throughout the UK and Europe.

Author Links: Twitter

5 thoughts on “The Devil You Know by Emma Kavanagh

  1. Wonderful review Jen. I have also wanted to read an Emma Cavanaugh book for awhile as I have read great reviews of some of her books. This one sounds really good, I love strong female characters. I will see if I can find other books in the series and maybe, read them in order depending on how many there are.

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