Conversations with the Devil [NOOK Book]


New York Times bestselling author Jeff Rovin has held readers in breathless suspense with his Tom Clancy's Op-Center novels.  He has created compelling characters with vividly rendered emotions and actions.  His page-turning thrillers have addressed questions of good and evil in our times.   Now, Rovin confronts the question of Good and Evil on the ultimate battleground.  A human soul hangs in the balance, and thousands of years of religious teachings depict only the beginning of ...
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Conversations with the Devil

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New York Times bestselling author Jeff Rovin has held readers in breathless suspense with his Tom Clancy's Op-Center novels.  He has created compelling characters with vividly rendered emotions and actions.  His page-turning thrillers have addressed questions of good and evil in our times.   Now, Rovin confronts the question of Good and Evil on the ultimate battleground.  A human soul hangs in the balance, and thousands of years of religious teachings depict only the beginning of the fight for dominion over man.  Psychologist Sarah Lynch is stunned when one of her young patients hangs himself.  Evidence reveals that Fredric had become a Satanist.  Intending to solve the puzzle of Fredric's death, Sarah attempts to conjure the devil--surely then she will understand what the teenager was thinking.  Sarah knows that belief in God and the Devil is a construct of the human mind and that people contain within them both good and evil.  Her own family is the perfect example.  Sarah's mother is still in denial about her dead husband's alcoholism, but acts as a wonderful grandparent to the son of the family's live-in housekeeper.  Her alcoholic brother bounces from girlfriend to girlfriend and job to job, but always there when Sarah needs him.  And Sarah herself?  She lost her faith more than a decade ago, during a personal crisis.  But she is dedicated to giving others the help she did not receive.  Even the nun who is Sarah's best friend cannot break through Sarah's shield of cynicism.  But Satan can.  The Devil himself rises in Sarah's office, sometimes a being of dark smoke and sometimes a creature of all-too-perfect, seductive flesh.  Most disturbing is Satan's claim that only by following him can people find real happiness.  In the Devil's theology, God is a brutal, jealous bully.  And as God and Satan battle for Sarah's soul, Sarah comes to believe him.  She forgets that he is the Master of Lies . . . .

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Psychologist Sarah Lynch's comfortable existence is shattered when a teenage patient commits suicide. When she turns up proof that the teen was involved in Satanism, Sarah attempts to understand his motivation for killing himself by trying, as he apparently did, to conjure the devil. To her surprise, she succeeds and before long finds herself in a losing battle for her soul. The New York Timesbest-selling author of Tom Clancy's Op Centercrafts a tense psychological thriller that builds suspense slowly and surely, exploring the seduction of evil and the struggle to overcome it. Fans of horror with religious underpinnings should enjoy the theological edge to this tale of souls in peril. For most horror and dark fantasy collections.

—Jackie Cassada
From the Publisher
"Rovin writes zesty action sequences."—Publishers Weekly on Fatalis

"An exhilarating high-tech adventure. The reader is in for a whiplash ride. Watch out, Tom Clancy."—Gayle Lynds, author of The Coil, on Tempest Down

"Takes the reader on a bone-chilling ride [full of] nail-biting suspense."—Publishers Weekly on Tempest Down

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466847248
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 5/27/2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 366,294
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Jeff Rovin has written dozens of novels, most notably Tom Clancy's Op-Center and its sequels, several of which have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list.  He's written nonfiction books about myths, religion, and the Bible and brings that research to bear in Conversations With the Devil.  Rovin lives in the New York area.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

New Englanders have always had a close relationship with death.

When the Plymouth colonists landed on hostile, unfamiliar shores in 1620, they were faced with starvation, disease, and unforgiving winter. They were saved by the Wampanoag natives, who showed them how to plant and harvest and store food. The natives were rewarded with devastating European diseases like smallpox, typhus, and "bad blood"—syphilis. But the colonists survived and prospered.

So did death, in many forms.

Free to own land, the New Englanders fought the Native Americans and each other to possess it. Free to worship, they killed those who chose heretical paths. Free to create militias, they fought proxy wars for European powers and started new ones. Weathered gravestones commemorating these sacrifices are far more plentiful than the covered bridges, taverns, and forests for which New England is popularly known.

Yet death is manifest in more than just the ancient cemeteries, those odd-shaped geometries that occupy an acre or two behind rusting iron fences, defying the lopsided roads that grew around them. Death pervades daily life. Modern families celebrate their ancestors' sacrifices in countless wars and skirmishes, honoring them in portraits and busts, on memorial streets and buildings, and with weathered ivory tombs. Dead leaders of government and industry are celebrated with post offices, official buildings, and schools.

Martyrdom is pictured and revered in houses of worship.

Along the coast of New England, death rides every breath. The salty sea air is rich with the odor of dead fish and flora. Inland, in places like Delwood, Connecticut, predators of all sizes and species move through the low hills and forests. Schoolchildren learn that the word "fall" signifies falling leaves but adults know better. Like the vespers church bell tolling day's end, it is the echo of our fall from grace. Yet those with the will to persevere and a bright slant of mind wait for hope to be renewed, stronger and more precious, on the other side of winter.

Only briefly, of course, for fall returns. Death always has the last word.

Outsiders embrace New England's autumnal beauty but the locals resent it. The creeping chill closes windows that remained cheerfully open during the summer. It wraps people in jackets and cardigans, in defiantly colorful and branded sweatshirts. It turns them inward. Grasses wither to brown, leaves burn red, and skies go pale. Spirits fade and die too, locked inside walls and garments.

There was nothing anyone could do about that. But Sara Jacqueline Lynch did everything she could to keep the skulls of Delwood from growing too dark and dreary.

The psychotherapist always saw more faces in September and October than at any other time of year. Some of those faces were familiar, like Delwood Deli owner Billy Roche. The middle-aged butcher seemed to fall for a new summer transplant every year, a New York sophisticate he fancied more than his wife. The emaciated urbanites talked to him and listened to what he had to say. It didn't matter that the only thing he had to say was about meat and barbecues. He got to look into their eyes. Roche's attractions usually died in mid-October, along with the rest of Delwood. Then there was Barri Neville who could not stand having her children come back inside and wanted to know if it was wrong to wish that she had never had kids.

"No. It's good you did," the psychotherapist told her.

Sara said it was natural to feel frustrated and that Mrs. Neville should find private time away from the house and family. She suggested the woman join a reading club at the library or do yoga at the gym of the nearby community college.

Instead, Mrs. Neville opted for two therapy sessions a week. That changed to none after a month or so, when the bills started backing up and Mrs. Neville had to increase her hours at the supermarket checkout counter.

For some patients fall marked a chilly end to cautious optimism. Computer repairman Chun Park grew drearier about the prospects of gaining his parents' approval to marry a non-Korean. Claudia Cole felt that it would be a mistake to come out of the closet. Like the trees, people shed their leaves, deprived themselves of sunlight to conserve water.

The fall invariably brought new faces at Sara's family practice as well, mostly disconnected kids who had matriculated from area junior high schools to Litchfield County High School. Sara treated adults to pay the bills, but her main interest was in adolescent problems. She felt a special connection with teenagers who felt like they didn't belong—with their families, in their communities, among their peers.

Sara listened closely and made suggestions designed to involve the parents, but only when the kids were somewhat surefooted about themselves. That tended to happen naturally when parents backed off a little. With some kids, the process was ongoing. She had written about this in her doctoral thesis at Yale. Although the larger subject was the relationship of gifted children with one or more narcissistically deprived parents—resulting in jealousy and criticism—she wrote about what she called the Fall Phenomenon. People crawled into their heads the way they withdrew to their homes in autumn. Threatened by strangers—in this case children, who bring not only their own personalities but also the ideas of other families into the home—adults often hold more tightly to their own values. They overenforce their own ideals on children in order to maintain control in a suddenly hostile environment. Many children break under the dual stresses of external and familial pressure.

Preserving families was important to Sara and getting parents to respect their children was the heart of that. She had enjoyed great success in that area, rebuilding families from the smallest members outward.

With one sad exception.

Her own.

There was no Mr. Del.

It was generally assumed that Delwood got its name from "dell" since the town of 2,499 people was located in a small, secluded section of the Housatonic Valley in middle-western Connecticut. Some old-timers suggested that it was actually short for "Devil's Wood." That idea was rooted in rituals that refugees from the Massachusetts witch trials were said to have performed on the far side of the river.

A number of Sara's younger patients suggested it was just the Yankee pronunciation of "dull."

The valley was on the very edge of western New England just a few miles from the New York State border. Because it was an average two-hour drive to New York, Hartford, or New Haven, without convenient highway access, Delwood was not a bedroom community. Everyone who lived there full-time was either retired or worked in the county, some of them on the local dairy farms that spotted the region, most in shops that catered to regulars, weekenders, hunters, and day-trippers. In addition to the nearby high school, "Delac," the Delwood Academy, was located off Route 6, the county's main road. The coeducational Delac was an elite private school that had been the breeding ground for two presidents, three New England governors, and nearly a dozen ambassadors. It was a pipeline to Yale, which was where Sara Lynch had met many Delacians. She herself was not one of them. She went to Nathaniel Lyon Free School, named for the first Union general killed in the war. Lyon was not from Delwood but from Eastwood. A winter storm had pinned him at the local Graham Inn for several days on his way to West Point and he became a borrowed hero.

The Housatonic River slashed through the valley from Massachusetts on its 130-mile journey to the Long Island Sound. The river had powered the early metalworking mills that caused the growth of the region, which included the manufacture of bullets and artillery shells. The munitions were shipped down the river to the navy yards in New York and Groton. It was the only time Delwood exported rather than hosted death.

The Lynch family were latecomers to Delwood. They had arrived in the late 1940s, when Sara's father Robert was mustered out of the navy. He had spent three years in the Pacific Theater and unlike his fellow sailors who settled in post-war communities across western Long Island, Robert took his new Savannah-raised bride, Martha, to Connecticut where he had it in mind to build and sell his own handmade furniture. Using funds from the G.I. Bill they bought a large fixer-upper on the river, which Robert restored while thinking about, then talking about, then taking a few steps toward setting up his business. Martha opened a small shop in town to sell antiques, which she thought would be a perfect adjunct to her husband's trade. Robert could restore the furniture they sold. He did a little of that, and it ended up being the family's sole source of income as Robert Lynch spent more time drinking, smoking, and fishing with his young son Darrell than he did working.

The way Martha later described his symptoms, Robert was suffering from what would now be described as post-traumatic stress disorder, with a list of medical and psychological ways of treating it. He would have had more at his disposal than just the self-prescribed booze and cigarettes. Because of it, Robert's business, like his life, never went much farther than ambition.

Copyright © 2007 by Jeff Rovin. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2013


    This novel had promising potential but fell flat in many aspects. It's far too long without the thrill to keep your constant interest. I kept waiting for the main character to wisen up and stop seeking trouble, but... It could have been so much more! The ending fizzled. I don't recommend it, especially considering how long it takes to read (almost 900 pages).

    ~ DO ~

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2013

    Never read it.....but

    Try his first book called Vespers. That was a really good book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 8, 2010

    Don't waste your time with this book!

    This book is the reason I found this website... Just to give it a bad review and warn other readers! This book is terrible (Note: my standards aren't even very high). This is the first book I have ever read by this author. I hope he was just having a bad month, because he wrote a lot of other books, and if they are all this bad, how sad that would be.

    It's not that I didn't like the premise of the book (because I did), it's just that it was so poorly written that it actually distracts from enjoying the book.

    The characters are never fully developed, the plot is choppy, and the climax is disappointing. Let me give you an example: somewhere in the second half of the book the author introduces a completely new character and a new inner struggle of the main character, both of which become main parts of the climax, and neither of which have anything to do with the supernatural aspect that the first half of the novel focused on.

    It fizzles at the end. Very disappointing!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer


    In somewhat isolated Delwood, Connecticut, two hours on back roads to any major city, the Delwood Academy, affectionately known as ¿Delac¿, is considered a pipeline to Yale. Though she never attended the school, psychologist Sarah Lynch works with some of the students who go there as many suffer from isolation with where they live as they have virtual choices re the Internet.-------------------------- Still when Sarah learns that one of her Delacian patients, Fredric Marash committed suicide she is despondent and wonders how she failed him. Rationalizing that she will not make the same mistake twice, she looks at what turned Fredric into a Satanist and if that worship of the Devil led to his taking his life. Sarah lost her faith in God years ago after the Lord failed to heed her desperate prayers during a tragedy. However, the cynical rationalist is unprepared for Mr. Devil to visit her at her office. The glib visitor spins a different take on the bible and the war between him and God but conceals that the latest battleground is Sarah¿s soul as he seductively offers her the choice of happiness while he claims his adversary demands kneeling in total adulation.--------------------- Once the Devil makes his initial appearance that occurs just after the opening set up of place, time and catalyst, readers will not be able to put down this fascinating ¿dialogue¿. Sarah is terrific as she has doubts about God in spite of her best friend who is a nun. Her friend tries to counter what Sarah sees within herself, her family and with her patients. When the slick Devil arrives he smoothly provides her choices that look so much nicer and freer than what God commands of the faithful. Who will win the latest war between Heaven and Hell not fought as End of Days universe-wide Armageddon, but instead one soul at a time?----------- Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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