Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Date Read: July 18, 2016
Source: Tiffany McDaniel / St. Martin's Press
Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.
Sal seems to appear out of nowhere - a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he's welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he's a runaway from a nearby farm town.
When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.
I really enjoyed this one. I seem to always be on the hunt for something original and different when it comes to my reading and this one really hit the mark. I love a dark story and this one did not disappoint. Not only was the story dark, it really dealt with a lot of different things in an impressive manner. I thought that the writing was beautiful and really added to the tale.
The book is mostly set in the summer of 1984 in the little town of Breathed, Ohio. There are a few flashes into Fielding's future where we learn how deeply the events of that summer impacted his life. At the start of the book, Fielding meets a little black boy wearing a dirty pair of overalls. This boy says that he is the devil and came due to the invitation set forth by Fielding's father but asked to be called Sal. Sal quickly becomes another member of the eclectic Bliss family.
The town of Breathed isn't nearly as welcoming to Sal. Since he is the devil, he is blamed for lots of things that go wrong. Despite the feelings against Sal, he seems to be one of the most level headed characters in the story. The advice he shares with Fielding and the rest of his new family shows a wisdom that is truly remarkable. Sal, Fielding, and the rest of the Bliss family were really colorful and interesting characters that all added a lot to the story.
The writing was spectacular. Seriously. I am amazed that this was the author's debut novel. The way this story was put together really shows remarkable skill. The words flowed in such a way that it was really a treat to read this book. I almost felt like I was there with the Bliss family since the descriptions in the book were so vivid. I thought the pacing was very well done with a lot of difficult topics being covered.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something dark and different. The writing and the story are equally strong in this wonderful little story. I rarely accept review requests from authors but I am so glad that I decided to take a chance on this book. I will definitely be reading more from this author in the future and can't wait to see what else Tiffany McDaniel will come up with next.
I received a copy of this book from Tiffany McDaniel and St. Martin's Press via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
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