The Devil’s Deep by Michael Wallace
“Unique & fascinating – featuring a patient with locked-in syndrome”
Chad Lett is a mute witness to an attempted murder. He is totally paralyzed, locked within a prison of his own mind.
After years of silence, he establishes contact with a nursing home worker through a single blinking eye. But then she is abducted and his doctor begins to administer cleaning fluid into his communicating eye.
Travel from the hell of a long-term care facility to the rain forest of Costa Rica as you unravel the mystery in this heart-pounding thriller.
Buy NOW @ Amazon
The Devil’s Deep is unique. It has unusual characters and settings surrounding an unusual case.
One of the key characters is Chad Lett, a patient with locked-in syndrome. It was both fascinating and terrifying to read the parts of the book told from his point of view and I wanted to shout at his carers to make them see his attempt at a message. Chad’s interactions with the evil Dr Pardo were especially heart stopping and emotive and made you keep reading to see whether or not he received the justice he so dearly deserved.
Fighting his corner were Wes and Becca, easy to like characters that carry along the action parts of this thriller and unravel the mystery. Wes is tenacious and won’t let a series of odd occurrences lie. Becca is a compassionate caregiver and together they add a dash of romance to the story.
One of the main settings is a care home for the severely mentally disabled, not a location that gets many pages in thrillers I’m sure, but that made it all the more interesting and makes you think about an often forgotten part of life. As well as the care home, the story darts across to Costa Rica for some exciting dive site action.
Overall this is an intriguing mystery/thriller based around sibling rivalry that comes together piece by piece to an ultimately satisfying conclusion.
“Are you alive? Blink if you can understand me.”
And the left eye had answered. Blink.
He was alive. Not just a body that breathed and a heart that beat while the brain sat cold and still. But a man, alive inside that body. A man who had just blinked his answer. As if to say, Yes, I’m alive. I’m alive and trapped in this hell. For God’s sake, help me!
He felt everything, heard everything. When his muscles seized, shards of pain stabbed through his limbs. When a fly landed on his face, he couldn’t twitch a muscle to chase it away.
No, Chad thought. No, don’t do it. Please, don’t. Please.
A single drop of liquid fell onto Chad’s exposed eyeball. It felt like a drop of boiling acid. His eye watered over and he screamed, or would have screamed, had he not lay there silently, motionless, taking whatever scalding poison had dropped into his eye.
The pain faded slowly from Chad’s eye, but not his terror. They had discovered the hole he had dug to freedom and were now bricking it over. When they finished, he would remain in his dungeon forever and ever.
If you would like to read about Chad’s struggles in “The Devil’s Deep”, buy your copy TODAY from Amazon.
Learn a little more about the author and his book with these snippets of previously unknown trivia that Michael has been kind enough to share!
I am best known for The Righteous, a series of suspense novels set in a polygamist cult in the desert Southwest. I wish I could say that this was invented from whole cloth, but the truth is that my own childhood was uncomfortably close to the stories in my books. I grew up in a very religious family in a small town in Utah. My own family wasn’t polygamist, thankfully, but I have a good number of polygamists nesting in the family tree.
One of my great-grandfathers went to Ireland on a mission and came back with a young Irish wife. This was an unpleasant shock to his first wife, who was expecting nothing of the sort. She was from England and had some prejudice against the Irish, which wasn’t helped by the situation. The two women maintained separate households, and when someone came to the house looking for my great-grandfather, my English great-grandmother would look down her nose and say, “He’s not here. He’s spending the night in Ireland.”
At least both women were adults. Another great-grandmother of mine joined the Mormons with her family, arriving in Utah from Sweden at the age of nine, and speaking no English. Five years later, at the age of fourteen, she married my great-grandfather, who was twenty-six. I have a picture of her holding my grandmother as an infant, and she does not look particularly content with life. Of course, I might be reading my own prejudices into her expression, but I don’t think so.
About the book
Several pieces of The Devil’s Deep came from my own background, as a writer’s best material often does. I speak Spanish and have traveled to Costa Rica, and the construction company back story in the book is not too dissimilar from my own family’s. Those things all add some seasoning.
The strange, almost surreal environment of a care center for the mentally handicapped came from a job I had in college, when I worked as a sort of nurse’s aide at an exceptionally poorly run facility. The facility took on all sorts of patients who had been too disruptive, violent, or disturbed for other care centers. It was an ugly environment, and I found myself wondering what it would be like to be a resident in the place.
It was a weird, and sometimes scary situation, and eventually the facility lost its state certification as a result. The corporation fired a bunch of us to try to convince the state not to pull our funding, but the problem was not in the staff. It was largely because of a clueless administration and the fact that they had too many difficult residents all living in one spot.
Years later, I was reading about locked-in syndrome, where people have a high brain stem injury that prevents them from communicating, but are fully conscious inside their own minds. And then I remembered the lowest-functioning residents at the care center, who could do nothing to care for themselves. Suddenly, I had the basis for a fascinating and frightening novel.
The Devil’s Deep stats:
Amazon.com rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars from 181 reviews
Goodreads rating: 3.64 out of 5 stars from 225 ratings
(Correct at the time of writing.)