Evil is just one floor away in a pacey read

Setting aside associations of Edinburgh’s cobbled streets with one ‘Boy Wizard’, Anthony O’Neill has crafted a rather more sinister reality.

‘In Edinburgh, evil is just one floor away,’ he writes. Protagonist Cat Thomas relocates to the capital’s Dean Village to flee death threats related to her job as a fraud investigator, only to find that a devil of a neighbour (with a penchant for obnoxiously loud music) resides upstairs.

Initially I feared O’Neill was heading down a Sartre-esque existentialist path, expecting him to conclude that ‘hell is other people’.

However, when Cat is forced to ask for help, she finds that her friend Agnes’ approach to the problem is somewhat satanic, taking the book in an altogether more macabre direction.

I haven’t read a book that is as pacey as this in a long time, though the characters lack a little depth.

That said, if you’re averse to cliff-hangers, O’Neill ensures that no questions are left unanswered.

The Devil Upstairs, by Anthony O’Neill, published by Black & White, £8.99.

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