Devil’s Heaven

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

As the tale opens, Neil Hockaday is emerging from an enforced stay at a substance abuse clinic. Hockaday was ordered into treatment by the NYPD in a last ditch effort to help him salvage his career and his life. As a newly dried out drunk, Hockaday is vulnerable in the extreme, particularly as a newly married man.

Hockaday loves Ruby Flagg, and she reciprocates, but both admit the relationship has someway to go before it achieves some measure of stability. After all, few honeymoons end with the groom hauled off the spend six weeks in detox. Ruby must not only deal with the stress of being married to a cop but also the strain of wondering if her husband will succumb to the manifold pressures to lose himself in a bottle. Meanwhile, she must determine how to express her concern without eroding his self-confidence, and he must learn how to accept her fear without resentment.

Hockaday fully appreciates the reason for his wife’s concern. He is deeply involved in one of the most devastating serial murders of his career. Someone is murdering gay men in a most grisly manner, and Hockaday feels the pressure as never before. The department would frankly prefer to sweep the whole affair, and Hockaday, under the rug. In addition to the pressure from his colleagues to back off, Hockaday finds himself assaulted by a murderous reality calculated to push anyone over the alcoholic abyss.

Thomas Adcock subjects his protagonist to severe psychic trauma from several directions, but his powers of description are equal to the task. Old readers will relish the new work, and newcomers will be fascinated.