Several miles south of Devil’s Lake, Michigan, lies a town whose charm is trumped by its name. Devil Town may be beautiful and unique, but it offers no remorse for locals who have left the city limits. Val Stevens is a local born and raised, and after an eight year hiatus, she’s come back to town to stir up some old flames. Cracked like glass from life’s quirky twists of fate, Val keeps to herself and wards off the local “Devilers”, like a bad disease. But even someone as fiery as Val, can’t deny the appeal of a friendship with an intriguing stranger, or the ghosts of her past.
With the help of Anderson Pane, Devil Town’s newest resident, Val unearths pieces of herself she has lost along the way, while chipping away at the edges of those who caused her to shatter. She quickly learns that in order to face her future, she needs to forget everything she thought she knew about her past. A task which proves to be equal parts shocking and healing.
Can Val walk among the shards of who she was in order to find out she is? In a place where secrets run deeper than the depth of Devil’s Lake itself, the answer bubbles to the surface, in a twisted turn of events, history, love, and even death.
There’s this saying in Devil Town…
I’m sure most small towns have a tagline, or a saying that the residents chime and the outsiders don’t understand. It’s probably just part of small town living. Keeps things just secretive enough, yet still allows a little room for explanation.
For us Devilers though, we live by a few short words. “Once a Deviler, always a Deviler.” Basically it’s as clear as glass. You don’t get away from places like Devil Town. It stiffens your drink and tucks you in at night. It’s in your blood. It clots you. It keeps you. It beckons you back. It’s a powerful place and boasts a powerful hold on your heart. Even if you get away from it, you’re never really away, and you’ll always come back. People always end up back in places they don’t want to be. Always.
I’m a Deviler, and I’ve been beckoned.
I swirled the plastic drinking glass in my hands as I tried to come to terms with going back. Devil Town. What a cheery name. Let’s get something straight off the bat. I didn’t choose the name of the place I grew up in. It chose me. If I would have had something to do with it, I would have chosen something much different than Devil Town. But Michigan was a vast state full of questionable decisions. One of those decisions is why would they name a series of lakes that spread across the countryside, Devil’s Lake? And why on Earth would they choose to name one of the towns that borders those lakes, Devil Town? And who are they?
I didn’t have time to worry about history, because the pilot informed the entire congregation on flight 7801 from LaGuardia to Detroit, that we would begin making our descent into the city soon. It was time to finish our drinks. The tiny stewardess with the trash bag implied that. I don’t recommend ever chugging a gin and tonic, but drastic times call for drastic measures. That being said, I also don’t recommend wasting a gin and tonic either. I winced at the burning sensation left in my gut by the tonic water and noticed the long-haired woman sitting next to me wince, as well. Maybe it was the gin that left the burning sensation, or maybe it was the impending truth that I was returning to the one place I swore I’d never come back to.
Possibly a little bit of both.
Hayley, (HB Stumbo) resides on a dairy farm in Ohio, with her husband and fur children. She's easily excitable and slightly loud, but she's a Leo so that's just how it is. She loves words, good stories, and often gets sucked into books with ease. When she isn't writing stories, she enjoys cooking, seeing the world, drinking Vodka and Tonics, and live indie-folk music. She wants you to know that Tom Petty is the greatest American musician of all time, and she was likely born in the wrong era. Hayley is the author of two other novels, and has a half dozen more ideas in her head. She can found online at www.hbstumbowrites.com, and is also active on Instagram, Facebook, and sometimes Twitter. She loves meeting new people and connecting with strangers, so feel free to look her up!