Story A Day: “The Devil You Know” by David Dean

shortstorymonth320x320A quick post today, given an intensely busy schedule  (a final meeting with an independent study student, another two dozen essays to grade, and a suddenly dead iPhone to figure out how to fix)… but I’m glad to have finally caught up with David Dean’s latest story for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Dean is one of my favorite short story writers, and “The Devil You Know” (from EQMM‘s June issue) follows a young teenager slowly learning the truth about her intensely secretive grandmother—and about herself—on a day when sudden whim led her to skip school and return home early. Several things in the balance here—a combination of darkness and light, including a brief flirtation between the teenager and a police officer checking things out in the neighborhood—but in general the story traces a long legacy of violence (not uncommon in Dean’s work) and turns an eye on political terrorism too (a theme I don’t recall from his previous stories). More to say, but duty calls. — Art Taylor

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0 thoughts on “Story A Day: “The Devil You Know” by David Dean

  1. Ray Kolb

    I read this just a couple of weeks ago. I liked the story overall although I thought it started out slow. The little twist at the end was nice.

    1. artandliterature Post author

      Hi, Ray —
      Just read your own review of the story (after Googling the title to see if EQMM still had an excerpt up). I’m a big fan of Dean’s stories generally (he’s a good friend too, I should add), but I agree the pacing here at the beginning was perhaps a little slower than necessary to set the story in motion. Perhaps more urgency on the main character’s part would’ve done the trick, instead of those more uncertain, occasionally purposeless movements through the house in the beginning…? Given the circumstances (fed up with another move), she could certainly have been driven to transgress her grandmother’s orders—passionate about getting behind that door.

      My favorite of Dean’s stories is “Ibrahim’s Eyes,” if you have an interest in checking it out. It’s available here as part of EQMM’s podcast series: