Welcome back to the book club! In February, we read A History of Fear by Luke Dumas for The You’ll Read Too Bookclub! If you wish to access all of the latest updates/information, click here. Spoilers ahead!
Quick Reminder: This month we are reading ‘The Twisted Dead’ by Darcy Coates!
Today I’m going to discuss the book in the same way I normally do my Instagram videos. You can find the recorded talk on my book club Instagram page. I’ll give a quick plot summary plus my overall star/scare-factor ratings. Then I will share the discussion topics and trivia questions. Please include all of your answers and opinions down below. I want to know exactly what you thought. I’ll also leave the answers to the trivia questions at the very bottom of the post, so if you wish to guess without being spoiled, do not scroll to the end until you’re ready. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
A HISTORY OF FEAR BY LUKE DUMAS – FEBRUARY 2023
Grayson Hale, the most infamous murderer in Scotland, is better known by a different name: the Devil’s Advocate. The twenty-five-year-old American grad student rose to instant notoriety when he confessed to the slaughter of his classmate Liam Stewart, claiming the Devil made him do it.
When Hale is found hanged in his prison cell, officers uncover a handwritten manuscript that promises to answer the question that’s haunted the nation for years: was Hale a lunatic, or had he been telling the truth all along?
OVERALL STAR RATING
I gave this book 4/5 stars. I am such a sucker for a Devil-made-me-do-it story. The mixed-media format broke up the pages and kept it interesting. There were letters, interview transcripts and various documentation to review. I did feel the middle part dragged a bit but once everything started to unfold and we were given more answers, I was fully invested. I also loved the ending. It really left things open to interpretation, making it the perfect book club pick.
OVERALL SCARE-FACTOR RATING
I gave this book an overall scare-factor rating of 3/5 stars. The fear lay in the uncertainty of what was happening to the main character. It was more disturbing than scary. There were some very intense moments, coming from an unreliable narrator with a troubled mind.
1.) Was D.B. real or in Grayson’s head?
The beauty of this story is that we will never truly know the answer to that question. Whilst it does seem viable that Grayson worked through his own repressed homosexuality in a twisted way, the photographic evidence of D.B. and his dealings with Edmund Hale suggest there was some truth to his madness. If I had to choose, I would lean more toward the Devil being real. It’s just the horror fan in me.
2.) Why was it important that Scotland remember the Devil?
If we look at this question from the lens that D.B. was real and using Grayson, I would say it was to regain notoriety in a society that thinks for itself. The Devil would have been more popular before science and logic emerged as the most probable way to explain things in the world.
3.) Was Grayson a product of his upbringing or inherently troubled?
Looking at Grayson’s upbringing, it was no surprise he turned out the way he did. He didn’t receive love from his mother, father or brother. He was made to feel ashamed of who he was at a very young age, hence repressing his sexuality. I personally don’t believe he stood a chance.
Easy: Where did Grayson attend college?
Medium: What was the name of the LGBTQ+ bar?
Hard: Who was D.B. to Edmund Hale?
I hope you enjoyed the book club discussion in this post and on Instagram. As mentioned above, share all of your thoughts in the comments below! If you have any feedback/suggestions to improve the book club, please let me know. I look forward to talking to you all next month! Thanks for reading!
Peace & Love xoxo
TRIVIA ANSWERS: Easy: The University of Edinburgh. Medium: The Silver Stag. Hard: Dougal Blair.