The Hand of the Devil

The Hand of the Devil

by Dean Vincent Carter

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Overview

Ashley Reeves is a young journalist at freak-of-nature magazine Missing Link. His future's bright, even if he does spend most of his time investigating hoaxes. When he receives a letter promising him a once-in-a-lifetime story, he jumps at the opportunity. The only thing is, his life is exactly what it might cost him.
The letter is from Reginald Mather, a man who at first seems no more than an eccentric collector of insects, happy to live in isolation on a remote island. But when Ashley finds himself stranded with Mather and unearths the horrific truth behind the collector's past, he is thrown headlong into a macabre nightmare that quickly spirals out of control.
Ashley's life is in danger. . . .
And Mather is not the only enemy. . . .
Gruesome, compelling, and terrifying, The Hand of the Devil will make you never want to leave the house without bug spray again.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307495785
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 06/03/2009
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Dean Vincent Carter is 28 and sorts the post at a top London publishing house. He landed his book deal after catching an editor's eye with his witty emails. The author lives in London.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Read an Excerpt

I: Proposition

London September 2005





My name is Ashley Reeves and I’m extremely lucky to be alive.

It’s one thing to be told a scary story, and quite another to be right in the middle of one. But that was where I found myself only a few days ago, and I’m worried that if I don’t write down each and every detail of my horrifying experience on Aries Island, I may end up convincing myself that it was all fiction, the diseased imaginings of a young man on the brink of madness.

That I survived the ordeal is a mystery in itself, for I stared death in the face more than once. But perhaps the most worrying aspect of it all is what drove me to visit that island in the first place. I’m a journalist, and therefore naturally predisposed to pursue stories. But this story should have made me cautious right from the beginning, and I realized too late that I had let my ambition lead me into more trouble than I could handle.

This account is of an extraordinary creature. A creature so dangerous that if it had been able to reproduce, it could have wiped us all from the face of the earth.

Mosquitoes are just insects. Nothing more than tiny biological machines. But they are also carriers. They communicate diseases like malaria, yellow fever, West Nile virus, dengue and encephalitis. Transmitting infection seems to be their primary function. Mankind is perhaps the herd that mosquitoes are destined to thin: millions of lives have been claimed by malaria alone. But mosquitoes don’t know what they are doing. They don’t know they are carrying terrible diseases. It would be an incredible thing indeed if a mosquito, or any insect, were capable of thought.

But one thing I’m reminded of time and time again is that Mother Nature loves a paradox.

I think many journalists must come to a point in their career when they think they’ve heard everything. I came to that point surprisingly early, with stories about three-headed pigs, blue sheep and talking plants; the only thing that shocked me was the audacity of the idiots behind them.

The magazine I work for, Missing Link, was launched a few years ago. My editor, Derek Jones, left a news- paper he’d been with for several years and started up Link on his own, to cash in on the public’s fascination for all things “inexplicable.”

The magazine has done very well, building up a pretty respectable readership. I came on board some months ago, fresh from college with a degree in journalism. But by then certain changes had already taken place at Missing Link. Derek had just sold the magazine but had decided to stay on as editor. The new owner was obsessed with credibility and wanted Link to focus more on oddities and freaks of nature, than on what he deemed “nonsense.” Out went the little green men and in came the flora and fauna. Soon we were rebranded a “science magazine,” dedicated to the weird and the wonderful. For me it was an exciting time and I was keen to get into serious reporting.

Gradually, however, doubts crept in about exactly what I’d got myself into. I’d been aware for a long time that honesty and journalism could be a difficult marriage, but I was surprised by exactly how difficult it was. I had to accept that the distortion of facts was not merely commonplace but ever present. Gradually elements of the job lost their appeal, but one that didn’t was Gina Newport, the magazine’s star photographer. At twenty-two she was nearly a full year older than me, and I’d liked her, a lot, from the moment I laid eyes on her. But somehow I could never find the opportunity or guts to do anything about the way I felt. Such is life.

Last Monday, a day that now seems lost in the mists of time, was the day the letter from Reginald Mather arrived. It was a glorious early autumn day, so I decided to run to work, taking my favorite route along the canal. After I’d reached the office, I showered, dressed and went next door to the newsagent’s to buy a carton of orange juice. Sitting behind my computer, I opened the juice and began sorting through the small pile of mail the office assistant had brought me. Mather’s letter was at the bottom, and was the only one that didn’t end up being filed in the trash.

The letter was brief, something that caught my attention straightaway. Usually the lunatics who write in waste page after page of paper trying to convince me that they have an amazing story for the magazine. Mather’s letter was businesslike, concise and therefore more credible.

Dear Mr. Reeves,

I have in my possession a specimen known as the “Ganges Red,” a unique strain of the Aedes aegypti mosquito family and the only one of its kind. If you were to ask an expert about it, they would no doubt tell you that it does not exist.

I have enclosed a map that will help you find your way to Aries Island, located in the middle of Lake Languor. I own the only house on the island, so you should have no trouble finding me. A boat can be chartered from Tryst harbor. I know the harbormaster to be a very helpful fellow, and can assure you that his rates are most reasonable.

It would be splendid if you could come right away, though of course I understand that a journalist’s schedule must be fairly tight. I regret that I have no telephone, so shall expect you at any time, or otherwise a letter to say that you cannot come.

I must ask for your discretion in this matter. I am keen to share my discovery with the world, but being a private man I need to keep certain details to myself. Therefore I ask, if it is possible, that you should not divulge the specifics of this letter to a third party.

I have the honor to be, sir,

your obedient servant,





Reginald C. Mather

I read it through a second time. Unlike most of the letters I received, it was intriguing. I had a hunch that Mather’s claim was genuine, and that there could be an exciting story lurking behind it. At the very least it could mean a day out of the office. I read it again, then made up my mind to talk to Derek.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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Hand of the Devil 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
adpaton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A giant telepathic mosquito - hmmm.... I'm surprised this had not yet been made into a film - set somewhere in America of course. The English have not done B-grade schlock horror well on the screen since the Hammer days. A young journalist sets out in response to a letter, ending up on an island with a most peculair collector who claims to have the only specimen of a giant and immortal mosquito called The Ganges Red, aka The Lady or The Hand of the Devil. Thanks to a storm, our hero is stuck and has to spent the night and the following day makes some unsettling discoveries. Okay, it's not particuarly well written and the gore is laid on with a shovel - at one stage he falls into a charnel pit of decaying corpses - while realism is certainly not one of the writer's priorities. I enjoyed it though. So sue me. Maybe too violent and bloody for the children of 50 years ago, I think the 21st Century youngsters who giggle through porno-horror films like Saw might actually find this a little tame. Which makes it about right for me. An exciting read plus did you know that male mosquitoes don't bite? See, educational as well!
C-Guevara More than 1 year ago
I+bought+this+book+on+a+whim+and+it+turned+out+to+be+a+hidden+gem.+The+plot+is+full+if+twists+and+turn.+Above+all+this+book+is+an+amasing+thriller+and+will+give+you+goosebumps.
Maria Moscowitz More than 1 year ago
this boo is like a windy road tistingaround spooky corners. this book is also not for kids under 10 years of age because of the sex, violence, and very bad wordon the other hand, adults, have fun reading this book....and if you still don hink ifs apropriate well...it is very detaliled sex that would make sex sound fun for your kids and tell them how to do it just perfectly!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Bugs. Honestly, I don't particularly care for them. They seem to like munching on me, even though I'm pretty sure I'm not the type who is made of sugar and spice. I also suffer from arachnophobia; I absolutely, positively despise spiders. Those hairy bodies, those spiny legs, those googly eyes. Spiders truly freak me out. So, I guess I should start by thanking Mr. Carter for not making the bug in his story a spider. On the other hand, he made the bug in his story this ginormous, otherworldly red mosquito who managed to give me nightmares. I guess that means his story was effective; it also means I'm suffering from hallucinatory mosquito bites just from reading THE HAND OF THE DEVIL.

Ashley Reeves is twenty-one, a bright guy who works as an investigative journalist for the magazine Missing Link. Where they once centered around inexplicable stories based on alien sightings and the like, they now focus on freak of nature stories that deal with facts and scientific proof. Ashley still finds himself dealing with a lot of hoaxes, so when he receives a letter from one Mr. Reginald C. Mather, he's undeniably excited. Mr. Mather has asked for Ashley to join him at his home on Aries Island to view the Ganges Red, a very unique mosquito that he claims to have in his possession. Curiosity piqued, Ashely sets off to visit Mr. Mather and his mosquito in the middle of Lake Languor.

It turns out that Reginald Mather was telling the truth. He does, in fact, own the Ganges Red, also known as The Lady or The Devil's Hand. Reginald delights in telling Ashley stories about his very unique, and slightly frightening, bug friend. Some of the stories seem outrageously fantastic, such as the fable that The Lady is the reincarnation of a woman from a Vietnamese tale. Or that the Ganges Red has been alive for hundreds of years, killing and destroying numerous humans on its voyage.

As Ashley finds himself trapped on Aries Island during a storm, he realizes that although The Lady seems to be more than just a simple insect, the danger he's finding himself in might actually be coming from Mather himself. It seems the former doctor, now turned recluse and devoted keeper of the Ganges Red, is hiding a murderous secret of his own, and it's just Ashley's luck to have stumbled upon it. As Ashley fights for his life from the wicked Mr. Mather, he will have to suspend everything he's ever thought to be true to understand the true nature of The Devil's Hand and her hold over Mr. Mather.

If you're looking for a book that will unnerve you, mess with your mind, and play on all of the fears you've ever had, then THE HAND OF THE DEVIL is definitely the book for you. Unable to stop reading even while I was scratching at my faux mosquito bites, this is one story that will stay with you long after you've finished it--whether you want it to or not.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bugs. Honestly, I don't particularly care for them. They seem to like munching on me, even though I'm pretty sure I'm not the type who is made of sugar and spice. I also suffer from arachnophobia I absolutely, positively despise spiders. Those hairy bodies, those spiny legs, those googly eyes. shudder Spiders truly freak me out. So, I guess I should start by thanking Mr. Carter for not making the bug in his story a spider. On the other hand, he made the bug in his story this ginormous, otherworldly red mosquito who managed to give me nightmares. I guess that means his story was effective it also means I'm suffering from hallucinatory mosquito bites just from reading THE HAND OF THE DEVIL. Ashley Reeves is twenty-one, a bright guy who works as an investigative journalist for the magazine Missing Link. Where they once centered around inexplicable stories based on alien sightings and the like, they now focus on freak of nature stories that deal with facts and scientific proof. Ashley still finds himself dealing with a lot of hoaxes, so when he receives a letter from one Mr. Reginald C. Mather, he's undeniably excited. Mr. Mather has asked for Ashley to join him at his home on Aries Island to view the Ganges Red, a very unique mosquito that he claims to have in his possession. Curiosity piqued, Ashely sets off to visit Mr. Mather and his mosquito in the middle of Lake Languor. It turns out that Reginald Mather was telling the truth. He does, in fact, own the Ganges Red, also known as The Lady or The Devil's Hand. Reginald delights in telling Ashley stories about his very unique, and slightly frightening, bug friend. Some of the stories seem outrageously fantastic, such as the fable that The Lady is the reincarnation of a woman from a Vietnamese tale. Or that the Ganges Red has been alive for hundreds of years, killing and destroying numerous humans on its voyage. As Ashley finds himself trapped on Aries Island during a storm, he realizes that although The Lady seems to be more than just a simple insect, the danger he's finding himself in might actually be coming from Mather himself. It seems the former doctor, now turned recluse and devoted keeper of the Ganges Red, is hiding a murderous secret of his own, and it's just Ashley's luck to have stumbled upon it. As Ashley fights for his life from the wicked Mr. Mather, he will have to suspend everything he's ever thought to be true to understand the true nature of The Devil's Hand and her hold over Mr. Mather. If you're looking for a book that will unnerve you, mess with your mind, and play on all of the fears you've ever had, then THE HAND OF THE DEVIL is definitely the book for you. Unable to stop reading even while I was scratching at my faux mosquito bites, this is one story that will stay with you long after you've finished it--whether you want it to or not.