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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

In this utterly gripping thriller, Sarah, the fearless heroine of Orphan Monster Spy, hunts a rogue German doctor in West Africa who might be a serial murderer. Still hiding in plain sight as "Ursula Haller," the Shirley Temple of Nazi high society, Sarah Goldstein gathers information for Captain Floyd at parties, and when he learns of a German doctor who went rogue in West Africa, she wants to help him hunt the doctor down. Rumors say the doctor has discovered a tool of germ warfare known as "the Bleeding" that could wipe out whole nations. The journey begins as a thrilling adventure for Sarah but as they get closer to the doctor, and see more effects of "the Bleeding" in the communities they pass through, their trip turns from caper to nightmare. A biracial German/Senegalese girl who travels with them, a black French priest with a foul mouth, and the doctor's glamorous daughter round out the cast of this unbearably high-stakes thriller that pushes Sarah to face the worst humanity …

Devil Darling Spy

by Matt Killeen

Overall Book Review:

Devil Darling Spy is an intense tale of espionage, death, and destruction. Set in Central Africa during World War II, the novel follows Sarah, a troubled young woman with a mission to stop the Nazis. It is highly recommended to read the series’ first novel — Orphan Monster Spy — before starting this one. A good portion of the characters from the first story are referenced in this second book. Author Matt Killeen explores heavy themes of racism, colonialism, and good vs. evil while creating complex characters and action-packed events. Unfortunately, several of the scenes seemed unbelievable at best, especially when young Sarah solves the problem in a room full of experts. There are also multiple flashbacks, hallucinations, and/or memories of Sarah’s that were confusing. Devil Darling Spy isn’t exactly darling, but it is a thrilling spy novel. 

Review of an Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Viking

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  7 religious exclamations; 6 mild obscenities; 8 derogatory names. Note:  There is frequent swearing in German, which is not tallied.

Violence/Gore:  Frequent verbal threats including a gun pulled on someone and a knife held to a girl’s throat. Multiple implied occurrences of violence including characters with scars from beatings and bruised faces. A character walks across human bones. A character wishes to hurt others and dreams of killing. Frequent secondhand reports of violence include remembering being physically abused as a child, tellings of Jews and Polish being rounded up and shot, mention of 200 Jews being locked in a synagogue and burned, alluding to cutting up a body, shooting and/or killing, burning people and things with flamethrowers, children getting their arms cut off, wartime bombings, people trapped and left to drown, use of poisonous gas, torpedo ships. The book includes frequent brief scenes of violence including physical violence, ships being torpedoed, shooting, explosions, being hit with a wrench, and whippings. A few frightening scenes include finding a doctor’s death lab and trying to inject a deadly disease into a character. A scene of destruction of property with no casualties occurs. A few non-detailed scenes of violent death include shooting people point-blank in the head and/or face, sailors being crushed, and bombings. Several scenes of blood and gore include finding dead soldiers, seeing bullet holes in heads, shooting and killing characters, sickness that makes the ill bleed.

Sex/Nudity:  A few sexual references including a showgirl; a report of rape; allusion to sexual abuse; mention of children being sterilized; mention of a ‘famous British homosexual’. 

Mature Subject Matter:

Murder, World War II, battle, mercenaries, sabotage, pipe bombs, menstrual cycles, diseases including smallpox and malaria, chemical weapons and gas warfare, human experimentation and research, dissecting and desecrating bodies, espioiage, death of family members, extermination/massacre/genocide, slavery and racism, mention of forced labor and bomb containing disease, drowning, superstitions and folk tales, Stalin and wiping out his people, concentration camps, anti-Semitism, allusion to rape and sexual abuse, thoughts of murder, mental illness, kidnapping, stealing, breaking and entering. 

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Characters smoke and drink, especially at parties. One party is described as “thick with tobacco smoke and drinks”. A character remembers her alcoholic mothers. A main character is addicted to morphine. He is frequently described as a ‘junkie’. In one scene he is found unconscious, with a syringe in his arm. Another man is described as a ‘comatose drunk’.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My mother was the one who sparked my love of books. Long before school instruction, she sat me down and taught me to read. My childhood was filled with trips to the library and bookmobile to find great books. My first loves were The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lingren. Now as a mom and speech pathologist, I am constantly looking for good, clean books to use at home and in therapy. I enjoy reading many different genres, but my favorites are usually historical fiction. I married my best friend, the “boy next door”, and we have a beautiful little girl who we often find sprawled out on the floor, flipping through picture books. Together our family likes to swim, run and play tennis. Besides reading, I also love to bake, garden and travel.