Cover Image: Before the Devil Fell

Before the Devil Fell

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Having lived near Salem, Ma for years, I love a creepy witchy story. Did I say creepy? Creepy, creepy, creepy with a capital C. Read in the daytime.

Loved this.
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It's fall and I'm all about the creepy reads, so when this one popped onto my radar I knew I had to get to it this month.

Will Connor has made a life and a career for himself in New York but when his mother is injured in a fall, he has no choice but to put that life on hold and go home to take care of her. 

But for Will, home is definitely not where the heart is. He never quite settled into his mother's lifestyle, one he refers to as "hippie" but is, in fact, much closer to the occult than he'd prefer to admit. And then there are the accidents. Deaths that happen maybe a little too often and center around a specific group of families that all have a long connection to the small town. 

Will had pushed most of this to the back of his mind, but now that he's back it's all too viscerally real. But is there really something sinister and witchy to all of this? And if so, is there anything Will can actually do to stop it?

Before the Devil Fell is a quiet sort of dreadful novel. One that's steeped in witchy lore but eases you into it rather than being all up in your face!

It begins with Will in New York, where he teaches classes focused on folklore and legend. He has a strained relationship with is parents, but not so strained that he doesn't feel obligated to take care of his mother in her time of need.

But when he arrives, it's clear he's unsettled for more reasons that just family stress.

And then an old friend pops up. Sam, the neighbor girl, who he'd been having strange dreams about just prior to his return.

Sam makes people nervous, but it's unclear just why that might be even as the story begins to pick up steam.

There's a hum of creepiness that starts to seep in early on. A note that niggles at your brain as you're reading but stays steady in the background, growing oh so slowly more intense as the narrative flows on...

I loved it! It was the perfect blend of atmosphere and history, legend and skepticism, thriller and horror...A cross-genre read that plays on folksy, ritualistic horror!
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Will is part of the seven families that go back generations and countries. As a young boy he knows that something terrible happened to him, but he can't remember what it was. Teaching as an associate professor he digs into myths and legends assuming he will eventually remember. When he gets a call that his mom got injured and is in a coma, Will gets a chance to confront those demons of his past, both real and imaginary.

I enjoyed this book as it allowed the reader to give credence to the idea that witches and demons are real, without going over the top ridiculous. I liked that Will became an unreliable narrator at times, is he really seeing the ghost of his teenage love of is he just drunk. Did the neighbor girl Sam really see the ghost of her dead grandma in the garden or is there something in the tea?  This has elements of horror without being graphic or intense. This becomes a slow burn read, but you get caught in it and then can't out it down. I also enjoy that Will and Sam's relationship is real and isn't instant attraction and sex, he's cursed she's weird, everyone hates them so they have to work at it and it's not guaranteed. Definitely enjoyed Olson's novel and would read more by them.
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I had no clue.   I didn’t know that I could read a book and have no idea how it would end until the very end.   There were so many directions this book could have gone, and I love how it went.    The ending tied it all together perfectly and gave me an ending that I keep thinking about.  

Sam was an intriguing character for me.   I knew she was unique; she had a heart that would keep Will safe, and she knew much more than she thought she did.   Between Will and Sam, they took the clues they were given, the knowledge they had, and the information they discovered from various sources and put it all together so they had ideas on what they were up against.    The who they were working against was an unknown and a surprise to them both.   

I’d recommend this as a quick read with a paranormal twist and clues that are fun to try to follow.
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My Highly Caffeinated Thought: A darkly haunting and creeptastic novel of secrets and the effect choices have on the next generation.

BEFORE THE DEVIL FELL will have you looking over your shoulder while you read as you question every occurrence and every person you meet. I was addicted to the way the author weaves this eerie tale together, mixing the supernatural with the reality of a day to day life.

What I enjoyed about this book is the way the author unraveled the mystery of what is actually going on. He carefully revealed each secret and piece of the puzzle at just the right moment to thrust our characters into another spiral. This up and down within the story makes for a suspenseful ride. Then, as if the sins of the past aren’t enough, Olson throws in a paranormal and magical element with covens, exorcisms, and dark rituals. I mean…yes…crazy and dark…but oh so good.

Let’s be honest. I love a dark and creepy read. When you add in witchcraft, specters, and unexpected deaths, I am here for it all the way. BEFORE THE DEVIL FELL is just one of those narratives, I will not soon forget and may even keep me up at night.
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Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for my honest review

This was just what I needed for this time of year! Witchcraft, mystery, suspense, some twists and turns, and all of it wrapped up in a quick read. BEFORE THE DEVIL FELL had all the elements I was looking for. I would classify this as more of a suspense and mystery than a fast-paced thriller, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a quick read. This was also incredibly creepy and very atmospheric. The author transports us into that small town and we can feel how suffocating it can be when everyone seems to know something that you don’t. What secrets are they hiding? How far are they willing to go to keep them hidden?

Will returns to his hometown to care for his injured mother. He has always avoided going back home because of a horrific death that had occurred there when he was a child. Now that he’s back, he can’t help but feel that there is more to the death than what he was originally told. He tries to uncover the truth – but what really happened all those years ago?

Overall, if you’re looking for a quick and creepy read, then this should be on your TBR. There were a couple parts that felt a little bogged down but that didn’t take away from the reading experience for me. If you like witchcraft and covens, then this is perfect for you.
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I was very intrigued by the premise of Before the Devil Fell, but I'm just not able to get into the story. Too much telling and not enough showing; stopping at 30%. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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I really enjoyed Before the Devil Fell. This is the perfect read for halloween and fall. This book has everything, the occult, secrets, witchcraft, magic and a suspenseful mystery that I won't soon forget. l

The setting is a small New England town and was perfectly described down to each chilling detail. I have lived in New England my whole life so the accuracy of the setting quite impressed me. 

The characters were complex and well fleshed out. 

A great read that I highly recommend.
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When Professor Will’s mother, Abigail, falls down her back steps and into a coma, he is forced to travel back to his small hometown in Before the Devil Fell.

The village that Will grew up in is full of secrets. Were Abigail’s friends from his childhood doing something more sinister than having a new-age’y “spirit circle”? What happened when he was five to destroy the family feeling of the town? Is there still something supernatural lurking there?

I have mixed feelings about Before the Devil Fell. On one hand, the mystery was good and I was surprised by the perpetrator. But on the other hand, I wanted more from the supernatural element. For horror, I want it to be balls-to-the-wall scary. This was just “creepy” in an atmospheric sort of way. Perhaps I read the book synopsis incorrectly but I was expecting more New England shenanigans. You know like witches or demons or something. Possibly that is because it is Halloween month. I think as long as you are not expecting that aspect of the book to shine, this would be a 4 star read for the mystery. However, for myself, I would rate it as 3.5 stars rounded up.

Thanks to Hanover Square Press, Harlequin Books, and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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When Will Connor returns home to care for his injured mother he finds himself looking deeper into a tragic incident that happened years before during one of his mothers spirit circles. New England witches and a family full of dark secrets. This was pretty creepy at times and I really liked it. I recommend it for a perfect October read.
Novels N Latte Review
Hudson Valley NY
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Before The Devil Fell is a promising mystery that will leave readers creeped out! 

I was extremely excited to get my hands on this mystery by Neil Olson. I absolutely loved the setting and atmosphere to this creepy small town. There are plenty of moments that will leave you creeped out in this story.
I at first wasn't sure where the author was trying to take this story but felt that there was a bit too many details that caused the overall plot to diminish for me.

I was hoping for the author to elaborate within the plot of aspect of the seven families and felt the characterization was a tad weak.

Overall, it wasn't a bad mystery just nothing that special in my opinion.
3 stars! 

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Harlequin/Trade Publishing for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

Pub day; 10/8/19
Published to GR: 9/24/19
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Before the Devil Fell is one of those books where the premise is promising, yet finds itself bogged down by details that cause the plot to unravel a bit at the seams. I'm the type of reader where oversights, such as problems having the ability to be solved by a few simple questions or baseline communication, can break a reading experience for me. While these issues did cause me to lower my rating, I still enjoyed the atmospheric element that the suffocating small town brought to the table. If you enjoy witchy stories during the fall season, I recommend you consider this one, as it's an easy, quick read with chills and thrills abundant.
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This book was not what I was expecting at all. But I absolutely love reading stories that are so different than what the synopsis tries to tell us.

The author did a marvelous job weaving a story with so many little threads and hints of what was happening nd a foreshadowing of what was to come. I truly did not figure out anything until the ending. I was just absorbed in the storytelling.

The story is completely unique. I’m obviously not a expert in the writings of authors that tie witchcraft into their story. But I love the psychological build up and the bits and pieces that drop along the way that build into those suspenseful thrills we love.

The conclusion was unexpected but also very fitting. Those secrets eventually come out and get you!

There was several areas in this book that are definitely creepy. A lot of my updates I posted as I was reading it use that word specifically. But it’s also somewhat of a nod to the history of the eastern states. Stories that get passed from generation to generation fuel this novel.

Unique, engrossing, dark, and definitely a bit ominous! Loved this story!
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Will returns to his hometown to care for his injured mother. He had spent many years distancing himself from his hometown that haunted him in many ways. Are the things he sees all in his head, or is there a reason behind these things? As will digs into his family's history, he finds that there might be something more to the witchcraft that he always thought was just some "fad" that his eccentric mother and her coven was practicing. Forced to stay and face his demons, Will has to figure out what is real and what is not. 

The mystery kept me intrigued. At first, I wasn't sure what to make of the paranormal aspect. Was it real or imagined? The story developed at a great pace and the conclusion was good and surprising.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. These opinions are my own.
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I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

William and Samantha met as children in a town populated by seven families from Wales.  According to folklore, a demon is among them.  Unexplained deaths and near misses propel the friends to search into the families' pasts in order to stop the violence.
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Will was happy to escape his hometown. When his mother becomes sick, he goes back. It is hard for him to accept the truth of what is happening to him and who the people he grew up with really are. While there, the truth about his childhood slowly unravels.

It was the mystery that kept me interested. At first, I wasn't sure if the paranormal aspect was real or imagined. There was a life changing event in Will's childhood. More and more clues about what really happened were gathered as the story went on. The conclusion was good. I was surprised by who the bad guy was.
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This book is the perfect read for the Halloween season! I could have used a family tree because there were a lot of people and their relationships to each other to keep track of, but it is a minor issue and the story flowed along regardless.  The pacing was good, the premise was engaging, and the characters were interesting.  I enjoyed it and would recommend Before the Devil Fell to readers who like a mystery with supernatural elements that is set in the real world.
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Thanks to Net Galley and the publishers for this ARC.  This is a spooky tale about witchcraft. Will Conner goes back to his hometown after his mother has an accident. He soon begins to remember and wonder about one horrific night in his childhood.  It seems the whole town knows something he does not. Something about him? About that night? He and his childhood friend set out to discover what really happened and what it means for Conner.
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When it is hot as heck outside and there is nothing cool to do but reading as everything else makes you end up a sweaty mess, it is the perfect day for a speed reader.			
I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  			
From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.			

Will Connor returns to his hometown, a village north of Boston, to care for his injured mother. He’s kept his distance from the town since high school, but once home he finds himself reexamining a horrific incident that took place during one of his mother’s “spirit circles.” His mother had embraced the hippie generation’s fascination with New Age and the arcane, but the unexpected death of a close friend put an end to the meetings of the modern-day coven.

Or did it?

As Will looks deeper into his family’s history he discovers that her practices weren’t so much a passing fad but the latest link in a long tradition of New England witchcraft, which still seems to hold a strange power over the town. Will hopes that unearthing the facts about the death will put his questions to rest, but there are those willing to resort to violence to keep those secrets buried.

Ooooh ... covens.  New England. Hallowe'en. Witchcraft --- cool things to read about in October when the book comes out. (I have always wanted to go to Salem,  but not in October as I hate tourists.) The book is spooky and ethereal and had a gripping plot - once I picked it up, I could not put it down. The characters were interesting and the premise a perfect conundrum - this is the perfect book to suggest to your patrons or to read yourself!

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "Social Influencer Millennials" on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it 🎃🎃🎃🎃 in honour of my favourite holiday!
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