Edgar award winning novelist Domenic Stansberry has returned with a chilling new noir: The White Devil.
The White Devil tells the story of an aspiring American actress who—together with her brother— is implicated in a series of crimes dating back to their childhood. The novel begins in Rome, among the American ex-patriot community, and from there follows the siblings’ deadly obsession with an aging Italian movie star and her charismatic husband.
Stansberry’s protagonist, Vicki Wilson, narrates the story in a voice alternately intimate and distant, tender and cold, ultimately hiding as much as she reveals. The result is an elegant tour de force, a psychological noir exploring the murky depths of unwholesome impulse and erotic desire.
Stansberry is no stranger to such terrian. An earlier novel, The Confession, received the Edgar for its portrait of Marin County psychologist accused of murdering his mistress. Stansberry’s North Beach Mystery series—featuring San Francisco investigator Dante Mancuso—also received similar acclaim. A book from that series, The Ancient Rain, was named by Booklist as one of the best books of the past decade.
PRAISE FOR DOMENIC STANSBERRY
“Suspense… illicit passion… murder. . . Stansberry does it with originality, through the freshness of his imagery, and the lyricism of his lament.” The New York Times on The Last Days of Il Duce.
“Brilliantly imagined . . . packs an emotional wallop genre fiction rarely delivers.” Kirkus (Starred Review) on The Ancient Rain.
“Fascinating, beautifully written—an enviable achievement.” San Francisco Chronicle on Manifesto for the Dead.
“This series... .revitalizes the classic detective story, injecting it with a noir sensibility that both evokes the old masters and seems altogether new." Booklist on
The North Beach Mystery Series.
“Compelling … equal parts contemporary crime fiction and dark existential poetry.” Publishers Weekly on Naked Moon.
“A masterful novel . . . by a master of the genre.” Book Reporter. Com on The Confession.
"In the tradition of Graham Greene, ... a moving chronicle of humanity, disquietingly black and totally absorbing." Los Angeles Times on The Spoiler
"A neo-classic among pulp fiction fans." January Magazine on The Confession.
"A gripping novel... incendiary.... this gritty, noirish exercise in murder and drugs feels uncomfortably like the real thing" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on Chasing the Dragon
"Takes a seemingly soulless contemporary phenomenon--dot-com speculation--and gives it the same chilling, metaphorical resonance that the postwar noir masters gave to a darkened city street or a tilted Venetian blind. " BOOKLIST (Starred Review)on The Big Boom
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About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A psychological noir set in the shadowy streets of Rome. With echoes of The Talented Mr Ripley and The Flamethrowers - and just a touch of Hitchcock. IN THE STREETS OF ROME, VICKI WILSON'S LOVERS KEEP TURNING UP DEAD. Vittoria, as she's known in Italy, is a small-time actress who left behind a dark past in her native Texas and followed her fading writer husband to the Eternal City. Guided by her controlling brother Johnny, Vittoria soon enters the upper circles of Roman society, mingling with shady cardinals and corrupt senators. Among them is Paolo Orsini, who quickly falls prey to Vittoria's charms. Too bad he's married; too bad his wife, an aging film icon, is murdered. From the ravishing beauty of Rome to the pristine beaches of Malibu, Vittoria finds herself at the heart of a lethal chase, spiraling dangerously out of control... My friends - this book is something special. It pays homage to the play The White Devil by John Webster - and feels like your deeply entwined in a dark 1950's noir film. Set largely in Rome, the story follows Vittoria and her brother as suspects in a series of murders that seem to follow them wherever they go. Don't for one minute think that this is a standard crime whodunit - its not anything of the sort. Domenic Stansberry has re imagined the crime genre entirely with this book, making it sexier, more sinister, smoldering, and tense. I could not put this book down - the story moves along at the perfect pace, and has the most wonderfully flawed lead characters - unreliable, untrustworthy and somehow, completely delightful nonetheless. Domenic slowly unravels Vittoria and Johnny's backstory, chapter by chapter, in a way that has you simultaneously horrified and curious at what could be coming next. I was completely absorbed by this story, and I was desperate to find out what had happened, and who had done it. Domenic writes so gorgeously that you feel like you are IN Rome - all I wanted to do while reading this was find an outdoor cafe to sit at, while sipping wine and wearing oversized sunglasses. He manages to bring Rome to life as a character in itself - I will absolutely be taking this to read when I travel over there, there could not be a better pairing. This book is truly something unique, delicious and intoxicating. If you love a crime and drama, with a splash of high society, then make a point of getting a copy of this onto your to-read list ASAP.
Short chapters, short sections, shifting times and places… Domenic Stansberry’s The White Devil is a fast, first-person read with deeply flawed characters, an unrelenting sense for noir, beautiful cities and people, and a deep dark tie to a modern time of change. The protagonist is fleeing a danger, as yet unexplained, when the story begins. She is guilty or innocent, beautiful or ugly, powerful or weak… the reader has yet to learn. And in learning, the reader will see Rome’s darkness, man’s inhumanity, sexual temptation and power all rolled into one—or into two, since this protagonist has a brother and their lives are wholly intertwined. Politics and religion form a backdrop, not unsurprisingly as the story’s set in Rome around a time of papal change. But the foreground is painted in decadence, where power replaces romance, and temptation replaces hope. Emotions true and manufactured, like the highs and lows of society’s underworld, bleed from the page. The story’s very European despite its American protagonist, definitely noir despite its soul-searching, and hauntingly Hemmingway-esque. Not for the faint-hearted or the pure of spirit, The White Devil is a fast, furious read of trials and temptations, love, lust and loss. Disclosure: I was given a copy and I freely offer my honest review.