Evil Inside by Philip Taffs

The Evil InsideA review C J Dee

ISBN: 9781848663992
Format: Paperback, 309 [excluding acknowledgements] Publisher: Quercus Editions Ltd (Hachette)
Rating: full starEmpty star Empty starEmpty starEmpty star 1 out of 5 stars

Guy Russell has just relocated with his wife and their young son to New York from Melbourne after they lost their second child. While the family get off to a good start in America, their lives begin to crumble. Guy’s wife descends into alcoholism and depression, even going so far as to attempt suicide. Guy begins an affair with a coworker and slips back into drug abuse. Their son, Callum, begins to exhibit bizarre tendencies towards cruelty and an obsession with the lost child. Guy begins to suspect an evil is taking over his family as revenge for the past he has struggled to keep buried for decades. He is the only one who can save his family and his sanity, but the battle for his soul is a losing one.

The Evil Inside has some good plot points that had potential. However, these points have been mixed with cliched tropes, a dislikable main character, uninteresting minor characters, plot devices that are crammed into the main plot and served up as a hot mess.

A good example of the things the story could have done without? A conspiracy theory subplot about Frank Sinatra having organised the assassination of JFK. Every time it came up I kept expecting there to be a solid point to it. Every time I was disappointed.

I had never before come across the evil-Albino trope but had heard of it from Dark Matter’s managing editor. So I was a bit horrified (the only point in the book that elicited this response) to find that a ‘dangerous looking’ drug dealer who guarded an area of a nightclub that was ‘only for the seriously perverted’ was a person with albinism. This fact does nothing to add to the plot. The character is only mentioned a few times after the initial introduction, usually as the ‘asshole albino’. There was no need for the dangerous looking drug dealer to be a person with albinism except to further spread the tripe— sorry, trope.

I don’t like giving away endings, even on books I can’t in good conscience recommend. However, the ending of The Evil Inside was unsatisfying. It tied up points at the last minute causing those points to be rendered completely unnecessary to the story.

The Evil Inside is labelled as being a ‘terrifying, engaging page-turner’ but I found it to be filled with worn out cliches, predictable attempts at scares and characters who are more disgusting than terrifying.