The White Devil

Grip­ping from be­gin­ning to end, The White Devil is an un­for­get­table novel by an au­thor at the height of his pow­ers.

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Fiction - CLAIRE FOSTER

Domenic Stans­berry Molo­tov Edi­tions Soft­cover $15.95 (232pp) 978-0-9967659-1-6

Domenic Stans­berry’s thriller The White Devil shows a mas­ter­ful touch for per­spec­tive and char­ac­ter, un­spool­ing a sul­try story of pas­sion, re­venge, and be­trayal that in­vokes the great age of Ital­ian film noir.

In a Rome still un­der John Paul II, Vicki Wil­son’s lovers keep turn­ing up dead. Vit­to­ria, as she’s known in Italy, is a small-time model and ac­tress, rec­og­niz­able but hard to place. Guided by her delin­quent brother, Johnny, Vit­to­ria en­ters the up­per cir­cles of Ro­man so­ci­ety. Be­fore long, she’s min­gling with the high rollers, cor­rupt se­na­tors, and pow­er­ful movers. Among them is Paolo Orsini, who quickly claims Vit­to­ria. Too bad he’s mar­ried; too bad his wife, an ag­ing film icon, is mur­dered. Vit­to­ria soon finds her­self at the heart of a scan­dal. Is she in­no­cent, or just turn­ing a blind eye to the facts?

Vit­to­ria is a per­fect main char­ac­ter. Her beauty al­lows her to get close to strangers eas­ily. It gives her ac­cess to the se­cret parts of life, the back­room deals. At the same time, she’s strangely opaque, like a mir­ror that holds light with­out di­vulging a re­flec­tion. Her brother, though fiercely pro­tec­tive of her, is pos­ses­sive. He bro­kers her re­la­tion­ships, nudg­ing her into the bed­rooms of the rich and pow­er­ful. As Vit­to­ria fol­lows Johnny’s guid­ance, nor­mal life falls away and is re­placed by the sur­real. She’s un­sure of whom to trust, and even ques­tions her own mo­tives.

Stans­berry keeps this thriller cen­tered by pin­ning his char­ac­ters to Italy’s time­less hills: “Tus­cany spread out in front of us, beau­ti­ful, an­cient. The land­scape had a runic qual­ity, like a puz­zle wait­ing to be solved.” The cin­e­matic cliffs, beaches, and ar­chi­tec­ture con­trast with the vi­o­lence that lingers, like a cloud, around

Vit­to­ria. When she’s able to fi­nally see through it, she has two choices: feign ig­no­rance, or take re­venge of her own. Grip­ping from be­gin­ning to end, The White

Devil is an un­for­get­table novel by an au­thor at the height of his pow­ers.

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