Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.
Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town.
When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.
To be a breakout debut novel, Tiffany McDaniel hits a homerun, knocking it out of the park. A bit dark and depressing, but in an oh so refreshing way. There wasn’t much predictability in this story. I really enjoyed taking this journey back to 1984 and seeing things, feeling things that maybe you shouldn’t feel about a book about the devil. It’s a make you sit up and think about your life and the choices you make kind of story.
It sucks you into it until you can feel the hot of the summer, the hatred of the townsfolk, the love of family, and the yearn for ice cream. There is some language and adult situations; they are written, not to be adding vulgarity, but to deepen the emotions you get from the narration. There is a scene, I’m not going to go into details about because I don’t like spoilers, but you can feel the angst, the hatred, smell the horrendous odors, taste the foul bitterness of burning.
Don’t take my word for it, read this book for yourself. This book has the makings of a classic.