Devil's Lair

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

This book is a difficult one for me to review because I think that we just weren’t a good fit for each other. I picked it up a few times and put it down again, lured repeatedly by its promise of some Gothic suspense. Just a disclaimer, which is purely my personal opinion, but if you are a fan of Jane Harper’s THE DRY, you are not guaranteed to automatically gel with this book, even if the blurb states so. I don’t think that comparing books to other best sellers does them any favours, UNLESS they are very similar in style. However, to me – whilst an entertaining read – DEVIL’S LAIR lacked the grit of Jane Harper’s or Sarah Bailey’s novels. This is not a bad thing for readers who love a good romantic suspense novel. But for someone who doesn’t do romance well, it was a bit like false advertising.

However, saying that, I can fully appreciate how DEVIL’S LAIR will be a good fit for readers who love a rural romance set in an atmospheric setting with some crime thrown in. There is a bit of murder and suspense, but in a non-confrontational manner that is more easily digestible for readers who shy away from graphic violence. I really enjoyed the Tassie setting and was thoroughly intrigued when the old mansion started to turn a bit creepy – even though there was not enough of that stuff in my opinion. Barrie sets the scene well, and I could easily picture those lush gardens set among green Tassie hills. Despite earlier misgivings, I came to like Callie and thought her to be a plucky character who was not afraid to face her inner demons and rise from the ashes of her traumatic past to make a better life for herself. I also really enjoyed Barrie’s writing style, which was the one thing that kept me reading to the end, even when the romance threatened to take over the storyline.

On the downside, there were so many characters with strange names to keep track of. Not a single Jack, Joe or Jane in the whole group!  They were each going about their daily lives, which took up a lot of the story with often mundane descriptions of everyday stuff that wasn’t relevant to the plot. Sometimes that works well for me, other times I get a bit bored. I thought that instead of hearing about tree planting and meals in the staff room, or random conversations between the twenty or so characters working on the property, I would have loved to see a bit more action, especially the spooky stuff that was going on in the old house. It had so much more potential to be super creepy! There was even a weird over-friendly guy who gave me goosebumps for all the wrong reasons and it skirted the border of spooky a few times, but never quite got over the finish line. 

Instead, I got a very predictable romance between the two main characters that held absolutely no surprises and little interest for me. As I said – not a good fit for this reader! At some point, my cynical mind coined the story as The Bachelor with some weird Gothic murders thrown in, which no one seemed particularly freaked out about. If I had found a few mutilated corpses on my property (who BTW were staff members of mine), my first priority would probably not be to feed the B & B guests and impress the visiting food critic. I could go on and on about all the things that bugged me about the crime elements of the book, but it would take way too long – let’s just say I had major issues with credibility here. Towards the end, I felt that the author was trying too hard to fit in as much weird stuff as possible – there were cases of mistaken identity, a few ritualistic murders, mental illness, a psychopath on a killing spree, witchcraft, things that go bump in the night ... too much, TOO MUCH! 

To sum it all up, I concede that DEVIL’S LAIR and I were not a good match. I suspect that many lovers of gritty Australian crime will struggle with some of the same elements that made my eyes roll back in my head like a Chucky doll, leading to the consumption of several paracetamol to quell the ensuing headache. I really think that comparing this book to THE DRY is doing it a disservice – fans of cosier mysteries and romantic suspense will most likely enjoy it much more than I did.
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This was a great read. Looking forward to reading Tess’s book next. Sarah writes a good suspenseful tale. Well done.
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Book blurb...
For readers of The Dark Lake and The Dry, comes this taut psychological suspense set in a dramatic Tasmanian landscape from bestselling author Sarah Barrie. 
A lonely widow, a sinister act, a remote mansion with a dark past... 
After the violent death of her husband, Callie Jones retreats to a cottage in the grounds of an old mansion in Tasmania. The relative remoteness of the place and the wild beauty of the Tasmanian landscape are a balm to her shattered nerves and the locals seem friendly, particularly horseman Connor Atherton and his siblings at the nearby property, Calico Lodge. 
But all is not well: the old mansion has a sinister past, one associated with witchcraft and murder. As Callie is threatened by odd events in the night and strange dreams overtake her sleep, she begins to doubt her own sanity. What's really going on beneath the surface of this apparently peaceful town? Are her friends and neighbours really who they seem? As events escalate, Callie starts to realise that the mansion may hold the key to unlocking the mystery, but the truth might have as much power to destroy as it does to save.

My thoughts…

I had no doubt I would enjoy this book. I’d heard so many good things about this author and her ability to plot a good story.

There is a sinister element to the story, with witchcraft and murder the main themes.  

I obviously felt for Callie when her life took a sinister turn, but she is a strong female character who I loved right to the end.

I also loved Connor, but was he too good to be true?  

You will have to dive into this story to find out.

This book is a must-read, but it may encourage bad dreams, or you may hear things going bump in the night.

Thanks to another great Australian author. Love Aussie authors!
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Devil’s Lair is a wonderful psychological thriller by Aussie author Sarah Barrie. A well crafted story set against the backdrop of the Tasmania wilderness, where murders are taking place and you will be kept guessing until the very end as to why everyone is so frightened and what is the motivation behind it all. 

It is easy to lose yourself in this murder mystery tale where elements of the supernatural combine nicely against a balance of new beginnings and a little romance. Although you might ascertain early on the who, it will be the why that will keep you turning pages with impactful revelations right to the very end. 

Sarah brings to life the magnificence of the Tasmania wilderness which provides the perfect remote backdrop for this thriller. The flora and fauna play a significant role in creating a suspenseful atmosphere. There are a range of well fleshed out characters, all with something to offer. The interactions, particularly between the Atherton family members, make it all appear so normal and relatable. There is Indy and Logan from Sarah’s previous book, however, this is most definitely a standalone read. There are characters you will love and some that will frighten and repulse you ... all comprising the necessities of a good murder mystery. 

With a little gothic flavour added to a murder mystery, Devil’s Lair is sure to please and keep you in suspense. If psychological thrillers are your thing, I have no doubt Sarah’s latest read will be sure to please. 



This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.
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Devil’s Lair is gripping, chilling at times but always compelling reading. This Australian romantic suspense come psychological thriller is set mostly in Tasmania, which conveniently enables author Sarah Barrie to use Tasmanian Devils to ramp up the fear factor for Callie, the central figure in this story.
Mental health plays a big role in Devil’s Lair both in providing plausible reasons for the actions of some of the less savoury characters but also in providing a solid background on which to build the story. Add in a touching second chance at love romance and you have the perfect balance. 
I loved Callie, who just goes from strength to strength as the story progresses. Is there nothing this woman cannot do? Add in her generosity of spirit and here is someone I definitely want on my team.
This book is skilfully crafted with enough plot twists to keep you guessing to the end. The characters are well rounded and believable and the story is beautifully balanced with just enough glimpses of normal life to counter the evil. I loved it! Could hardly put it down.
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I had never read anything by Barrie prior to Devil’s Lair, but the premise of this book in the Tasmanian setting intrigued me. At 448 pages it isn’t a light read, however I had this book finished in 3 days. I did find myself waning during the second third of the book and felt it lost a bit of traction, but nothing that diminished my desire to continue reading.

It had elements that made it a true page turner and I couldn’t wait to uncover the ending. The dark and creepy elements of the narrative definitely contradicted the tranquil setting of Tasmania; the iciness of the mystery worked wonderfully against the backdrop of the Australian landscape. I did correctly guess the perpetrator but there were a few other twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and definitely didn’t predict. Definitely a read for fans of Jane Harper to consider.
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This was an incredible Australian book with many twists and turns, and more than a touch of menace.

Callie runs to the wilds of Tasmania when life with her husband takes an unexpectedly gruesome turn. Her assistant Paisley is more than helpful in giving her a safe place to land but things start to spiral out of control quite quickly in her new environment, despite fulfilling work and the attentions of a handsome local man.

There was a lot going on in this book and it was impossible for me to figure out how this tale would play out until right at the end, which is exactly what you want in a novel like this one.

Kudos to the author, I loved it!!
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This story is absolutely fabulous, edge of your seat suspense, fabulous setting and a romance that just made me feel so good with everything else that is going on in the story, fast paced and a must read, this is the second book in this series and we are back in Tasmania, time to make yourself comfortable because you will not want to put this one down until you find out all of the details.

Callie Jones is involved with the death of her husband Dale on a winery in th Hunter Valley, there had been a gruesome death of a woman and what happened next changed Callie’s life, she is encouraged to move to Tasmania by her friend and manager of the winery Paisley, she ends up on Paisley’s family home an old homestead that has a dark past and it is not long before Callie is having strange dreams. Callie meets Conner Atherton who with his family run the nearby guesthouse Callie ends up helping with their garden and feelings for Conner grow even though it is the last thing that Callie wanted.

Conner and his family have been through a lot in the past and when strange things start happening at their lodge Conner worries big time that evil is around, meeting the new neighbor Callie sets his blood afire after the last relationship turned so bad but he is sure Callie is very different. Danger is arriving and it appears that Callie is in danger and Conner is determined to keep her safe.

I cannot recommend this book enough it has everything that a romantic suspense reader wants in a story it is a psychological thriller with dark magic and secrets that have been kept for many years, and when it all comes to a thrilling end OMG I never guessed how it would all pan out, MS Barrie you have done it again what a fantastic story I savoured every word, I didn’t want to put it down. I loved Conner and Callie they had both been through so much but came through strong and in love, thank you, I hope I have given this book justice, I loved it.
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I was attracted to this book for its Tasmanian setting and the promise of a big, ol' spooky house. It delivered on both in a solid, slightly paranormal mystery with a touch of romance.

The arrival of a mysterious black envelope was the catalyst for a chain of events that turned Callie's life around. Within weeks she was a widow, and barely 12 months later had relocated from the Hunter Valley to the relative anonymity of Waldron Park, her friend Paisley's family estate just outside of New Norfolk in southern Tasmania. Living in a small cottage within view of the main house, Callie kept to herself and slowly began to earn the grudging appreciation of Paisley's prickly dad, Cliff, by taking him homecooked meals, taming the gardens and helping him out after a fall. But it wasn't enough to keep Callie busy, so after a surprise visit from Tess Atherton, she found herself over at Calico Mountain Lodge, taking on the role of landscaper.

As Callie settled into the rhythms of her new, quiet life, she began to hope the traumas of the past were behind her, but then things started to go wrong - a grisly murder in the nearby national park, strange noises near the cottage at night, the appearance of children's toys and books in her locked cottage...

After a great start, it took me a little while to settle into this book. I think my expectations may have been too high! But once I convinced myself that it wasn't meant to be literary, I was able to stop rolling my eyes, burrow in and just enjoy the ride. In fact, by the end I surprised myself by taking an interest in the author's previous Calico Mountain Lodge book (Bloodtree River) as a potential future read. NB although the two books have characters in common, I don't think my reading experience suffered for not having read the earlier book first.

As a native Tasmanian I love to read fiction set in that part of the world, but I can also be hyper-critical of errors or stretched-truths regarding geography. So, while I appreciate the author's affinity with the island state, I would just like to point out that if you're on the edge of Mt Field National Park, you would not be able to do a daytrip to Cradle Mountain and be back by mid-afternoon!! One thing Sarah Barrie has nailed in this book is the almost legendary atmosphere that the former asylum brought to the New Norfolk area. Reading the passages set at Waldron Park, I often found myself reflecting on this and wondering if that's changed in the 20 or so years since its closure. I remember clearly as a child how hurtful it could be to someone to utter the slur that they belonged in New Norfolk!! Oh, so cruel. The town's name was synonymous with mental illness and we weren't such a PC society back then.

Recommended for readers of thrillers, mystery, crime and romantic suspense.
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Thankyou to Harper Collins Australia for providing me with a copy of Devil's Lair in exchange for an honest review.

After her husband dies in horrific circumstances, Callie's life is left shattered.  She welcomes an escape to Tasmania, to live in her friend's cottage, away from the media attention and everyone who knows about her past.  Despite her fears about anyone learning who she really is, she finds friendship in her new colleagues at a nearby lodge. 

But things are not as they seem at her cottage.  From her friend's brother, who won't take no for an answer, to the noises she hears in the woods and strange symbols she's seen in the main house, she can't shake the feeling that something is very wrong.  When even more sinister events start to take place at the lodge, no-one's really sure who is in danger next.

Devil's Lair was a chilling thriller, with enough creep factor to keep me awake at night, and some incredible twists at the end!  I really enjoyed the different characters and found it quite easy to connect to (or despise) each one.  Unlike a lot of other thrillers I read, I didn't find myself slapping my forehead and cursing the characters for being unbelievably stupid - they were very real and acted in ways that we're easy to believe.

Sarah Barrie's descriptions of the setting were so vivid, I really found it easy to picture the surroundings.  Even the detailed descriptions of Callie's landscaping work was interesting!  

I don't want to say too much more and give anything away, but I'm really looking forward to reading more of Sarah Barrie's work and I'd recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a good, creepy, thriller!
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This is actually the first book I've read by Australian author Sarah Barrie though she's penned the Hunters Ridge series and I understand this is loosely linked to her 2018 release, Blood Tree River.

I kinda guessed the 'whodunnit' part here which is eventually partially handed to us. The why wasn't as predictable though and sets up the suspense in this book quite nicely.

Barrie creates a great sense of place here. We visit the Hunter Valley briefly but most of our time is spent in Tasmania and her descriptions of the Central Highlands and views of Cradle Mountain are striking. And alluring. I've only been to Hobart (and surrounds) but would love to explore more of that part of Australia.

I loved the characters Barrie offers us and assume readers met the Atherton family from (fictional) Calico Mountain in Blood Tree River. Here, they're linked to our lead character Callie through her friend, Paisley.

Originally from Tasmania Paisley knew Callie's husband and worked for the couple on their Hunter Valley property, becoming Callie's best (and now, only) friend.

Paisley's family (the Waldrons) and Athertons are neighbours (kinda) though the 'Weirdo Waldrons' have been beset by rumours and innuendo since Paisley and her brother Ned were young - thanks to her mother's job at a mental health institution and outreach work. 

Indeed, when Callie moves into a cottage on Paisley's childhood property she finds the house quite eerie and hears stories of witches and devils.

Callie's just killed her husband however (oops sorry, #spoileralert) and needs solitude and respite from the press. Alas however, whatever had suddenly plagued her husband and led to him behaving VERY out of character (killing someone himself) seems to have followed her to Tasmania. Though we learn pretty quickly it was there all along and it's she who ran headlong back into it all.

I liked the balance of romance and intrigue Barrie offers we readers. Callie's presented with a romantic interest pretty quickly (and I don't mean Paisley's persistent and possibly sociopathic brother Ned) but struggles with the idea of moving on after so recently 'losing' her husband. And of course the Atherton family seem to be genuine and morally upright characters. I gather Connor's brother Logan and his (now) wife, police detective Indy were the focus of Blood Tree River so we don't spend much time with Logan, rather it's Connor and Tess (their sister) who befriend Callie and recruit her to help with their bed and breakfast business, Calico Lodge.

In the background people are getting killed after receiving an envelope similar to that which Callie saw her husband ignoring just before his death. There's obviously a link but it takes a while to piece it together.

I must confess to not being completely convinced by the backstory which resulted in the revenge attacks decades later. There seemed to be a few extra secrets floating around or some paranoia at least. Some who knew the history weren't particularly worried by the events of the past but others (a two staff members from Calico Lodge) seemed very nervous. There were also some linkages that weren't fully explained and were ultimately incredibly coincidental.

Of course I'm being picky in my usual logic-loving way, and need to remember we're talking fiction; and this is an enjoyable read. In addition to an atmospheric sense of place, Barrie has created great characters readers come to care about so keeps us riveted to the end.

3.5 stars
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Callie and Dale were living happily in the Hunter Valley in NSW, working on their vineyard when the unthinkable happened. After a time, Callie needed to get away, so her friend and associate persuaded her to head to Tasmania to Paisley’s property where she could quietly regain her life, grieving in peace. The stone cottage beside the old mansion was a boon for Callie and popping in on Paisley’s dad Cliff with occasional meals wasn’t difficult. When Callie found herself helping Paisley’s friend Tess with the landscaping at Calico Lodge, she realized her landscaping skills were still in her – she loved working with the dirt and plants; shaping the grounds to look beautiful. She could see her future once again doing something which gave her peace.

But strange events kept Callie awake at night – the dreadful howls of the devils sent chills down her spine; she didn’t feel comfortable inside or around the old mansion. And when ritualistic and gruesome murders occurred and events escalated, Callie felt threatened; she was terrified. Tess’ brother Connor was helping but even he didn’t seem to have any answers. What was going on? Was it connected to her husband’s death? What was she to do?

Devil’s Lair is an incredible psychological thriller by Aussie author Sarah Barrie. Set in the dense Tasmanian bush, the danger and breathtaking imagery jumped off the pages. Tense, gripping – the twists and turns were spectacular. I thoroughly enjoyed the well-crafted characters and loved the story. Highly recommended.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
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Two years after Callie’s life is devastated by a shocking incident she flees relentless scrutiny to find sanctuary in a rural cottage in the Central Highlands of Tasmania. Changing her name, and her look, Callie hopes to make a fresh start, and when she is unexpectedly offered a job at nearby tourist retreat, Calico Lodge, she decides it’s an opportunity too good to pass up. Made to feel welcome by the owners, particularly Connor Atherton, and slowly winning over her gruff landlord at Waldron House, Callie begins to believe she can escape her past...until a psychotic killer revives a long held grudge.

Blurring gothic sensibilities with psychological suspense, The Devil’s Lair by Sarah Barrie is a gripping thriller that kept me compulsively turning the pages until the early hours of the morning. I experienced an almost visceral reaction to the sense of unease that builds as the story unfolds, finding myself startling at every unexpected noise outside my darkened window.

Barrie establishes the disquieting presence of Waldron House with descriptions of ‘shabby green walls and scarred wooden floors’, dim rooms crowded with boxes and dusty antique furniture, and the overgrown, wild gardens. Strange symbols are carved or drawn on door frames, the cellar door sports a large padlock, and chunks of black tormaline are placed on window sills. Add to that the odd noises and other strange occurrences that begin to plague Callie, as well as the disturbing rumours that persist regarding the property’s history, and the grandeur of Waldron House begins to lose its charm.

Callie is a sympathetic character, the tragedy that caused her to flee the Hunter Valley is horrifying to contemplate, and then, just as she begins to find her feet in Tasmania, members of the community are targeted by unspeakable violence, and Callie experiences a cascade of unsettling events that causes her to question not only her safety, but her sanity.

Contrivances were easy to dismiss as I got caught up in the story, and as the truth about the past and present unravels, Barrie stuns with plot twists that reveal shameful secrets, dangerous obsessions, and horrifying acts of revenge.

A compelling and darkly atmospheric tale, Devil’s Lair is a riveting thriller. I enjoyed it so much Ive ordered Blood Tree River, also by Sarah Barrie, which shares the novel’s location and some of the characters though it is not directly related.
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A wonderful thriller, that is quite chilling at times. After the death of her husband Callie has moved to a cottage in the grounds of an old mansion in Tasmania, a property owned by the family of her friend Paisley. She finds work at a nearby property, becoming close with the owner Connor, but odd things start to happen. A doll shows up from nowhere in a locked house, and Callie is having nightmares, or is she? Are the nightmares actually real memories?

Soon a body is discovered, killed in a violent manner, and things start to spiral out of control. Is the killer after Callie? Or is he after something else entirely? As events climax to the breathtaking finale some surprising truths come to light.

I found Devil's Lair to be a gripping thriller, freaking me out on occasion, and I have no hesitation recommending it. This is the first book I've read by Sarah Barrie, but it certainly wont be my last.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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18mths ago Callie’s husband died in horrific circumstances and she is still trying to rebuild her life after finding out her marriage with Dale had been built on lies.
Her friend Paisley convinces her to move to New Norfolk in Tasmania for a while, staying in the cottage on the family property and to keep a eye on Paisley’s Dad for her until she can move back herself.
But the property has a sinister past and Callie is caught up in it....

I loved this new book from Sarah Barrie, she has become my favourite Australian Romantic Suspense writer and this story didn’t disappoint.
We are brought back into the world of the Atherton’s and their guesthouse ‘Calico Lodge’ as featured in the previous book ‘Bloodtree River’ and this worked really well. The was a gothic element to this story and I loved the creepiness and sinister atmosphere surrounding it. The growing relationship between Callie and Connor worked for me too.

For most of the book there was a simmering tension but for the last number of chapters it had me filled with dread to a heart pounding conclusion.
It was the perfect read for a rainy day, a day of total escapism.
I’m hoping we have a story for Tess next.....

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a digital ARC to read
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy.

This was a cracking good read.

Sarah Barrie has done a marvelous job of conveying the feel of Tasmania. Beautiful, with a touch of menace. Her characters were engaging and complicated, particularly the main protagonist, Callie. She felt very real, and I did love the descriptions of her work as a landscape gardener.

The mystery was interesting, though in the end, felt less important than the characters and the setting. I would love to read more from Sarah Barrie!
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Devil's Lair by Sarah Barrie... wow!!  I love a good Australian story and this one just sucked me in. It is first book by this author that I have read and I will certainly be on the look out for more now. I loved the rural settings and the character story in this book. It had such a dark and spooky feel but at the same time I could imagine the beautiful surroundings it was set in.  Once you start reading this you are instantly caught up in Callie's world and pray that things work out well for her. I really liked this character and hope we will see her again.

The story starts in the gorgeous Hunter Vally, one of my favourite places to visit (and not just for the wine!!)  it is a lovely part of Australia, beautiful scenery. Callie and her husband Dale run their own winery and Bed and Breakfast and are happy. Until one night when Callies world is turned upside down. Everything that she thought she knew is shattered and her life changes forever. She flees to Tasmania with her friend Paisley to try to escape the media and start her life over.  Paisley arranges for her to live in a cabin on the grounds of her family's estate. A lot of new characters now come into play and it took me a while to keep them all straight and how they all linked. But as I kept reading it all became clear. Callie starts working as a landscaper in the grounds of the hotel and starts to feel happy and safe again. But then gruesome murders start to happen around her. The spooky stories and happenings have her questioning her sanity.  And there is a new man in her life, but she is not sure she is ready for that just yet. 

The ending of this book had me gasping! I certainly did not see it coming and it was brilliant. I was pulling for Callie, she is a great character that has had a tough life and deserves to be happy again. There is a lot of character development in this story by I found it to be a quick paced book that I just wanted to keep reading. I hope to see a follow up in the not too distant future.

Thanks to Harper Collins, HQ Books and NetGalley for my advanced copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased
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This was my first Sarah Barrie read, so I wasn't sure what to expect, however I knew that the blurb intrigued me and I needed to read it.

What a dark, psychological story with touches of the gothic.

Callie's story is not a fun one, she has really been through the wringer yet come out the other side, ready to move on with her life.

Witches, monsters, all that she never believed were real have come out in force to mess with her mind. And all the while, these monsters are humans.

There are so many characters written into this story, it could at times leave you scratching your head wondering huh?, however the story it sold with such pace you are never left wondering for long, as you are swept up in the next intrigue of the story.

There were some twists and turns, and I really did not know whodunnit until Ms Barrie really wanted us to know. So many red herrings had me wondering if I knew anything!

I did have a couple of WTF moments as things were revealed - and that is a good thing. Usually I have a pretty good idea of who did it or at least where the story would go, but this time I wasn't even in the same postcode!

I enjoyed this story, and look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
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“Devil’s Lair” is a tricky novel to review; I found it something of a potboiler, overheated, and stretching credulity too far, and yet it was very hard to put down while I was reading it.

Callie is happily married, running a business with her husband Dale, with no clouds on their horizon. And then a dreadful tragedy leaves Dale dead and Callie facing unimaginable problems. She winds up in Tasmania, fleeing from her past. She thinks she’s found a haven on Connor’s property – a hotel and restaurant, which also offers rural activities for guests. 

But has her past followed her there? Or did something dark from this place of beauty and peace reach for her on the mainland?

The characters and their relationships are the greatest strength of this novel. The growing friendship between Callie and Connor is powerful, and the attraction between them leaps off the page. Their romance is the most believable part of this novel, and I found myself hoping for the best for them.

Other characters are well drawn, and their quirks and behaviour are believable and help to bring Callie and Connor into focus. I enjoyed reading about these people and their lives.

I found the thriller/ mystery elements of the novel a lot weaker. I picked up on a couple of key elements fairly early on. Although the middle section was well executed, with genuine tension to it, the revelations at the end just went over the top. I found it hard to credit the “solution” to these elements of the plot, and the way everything got piled on in the last part of the novel... well, it just didn’t work for me. It didn’t feel credible or real.
But this novel is highly readable, and the combination of a strong writing style and the vivid relationship between Callie and Connor made it hard to put down. It’s just that when it was finished, I felt dissatisfied and a bit jaded.

If you like books with strong relationships, you’ll probably enjoy reading “Devil’s Lair”. If you’re more of a crime reader, you’ll probably find yourself pulled along to the end – but you may not be very satisfied when you get there.
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Sarah Barrie has very quickly become a must read author for me, and I've been looking forward to her newest offering.

Devil's Lair, takes us back to Calico Mountain and the friends we made in her previous book Bloodtree River.

After her husband's violent death, Callie is desperate to start over. Her friend, Paisley, sets her up in a cabin on her family's property in Tasmania. It's a quite place for her to regroup, figure out what she wants and how she can achieve it.
Over at the Calico Mountain ranch, Connor is still reeling after the events of Bloodtree River and Jules' betrayal. 

I find it a bit hard to judge whether this would work as a standalone book. You're definitely better off having read Bloodtree River to get an idea of Calico Mountain and the events that Connor has previously experienced. 

Highlights of this book:
I love the Atherton family interactions. Logan, Connor and Tess are great, fun characters and their interactions are realistic, they behave like a loving, caring family. It just doens't feel fake, they feel like real people.
Also on that note, the return of Indy as a character. I seriously love her. She's just so awesome and kickass and take charge. I love that her story hasn't ended and hope we keep getting to see her.
The vivid descriptions of the Tasmanian countryside. Barrie does a beautiful job of bringing this town and it's inhabitants to life. I can completely visualise these places.
The creepy nature of the suspense in this one. It just felt so much for vicious than that of Bloodtree River, and so completely juxtaposed to the beautiful surrounds and lovely people. I love it.

Lowlights:
Paisley. I really struggled with her as a character.

A good, creepy tale, with just a dash of romance.
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