The Devil Inside

Front Cover
Pantera Press, Feb 4, 2020 - Fiction - 350 pages

Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Revelation 2:10

In a peaceful coastal town, a young woman is found brutally murdered, a piece of scripture held tightly in her hand. Local detective Charlotte Callaghan is put on the case, and she’s glad for the distraction – Gull Bay can be a hard place to keep a secret, and she’s holding on to a few.

After Charlotte asks her brother, Father Joseph Callaghan, about the verse, her suspicions fall on his parishioners. Then a second victim is found, along with another biblical message.

A dark betrayal is concealed within the small community. For Charlotte, there’s something personal about this case, something that threatens the very core of her beliefs. Can she unravel this mystery before it tears her town apart?

A gripping crime novel about murder, betrayal, and the monsters who hide in plain sight.


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The Devil Inside is the first novel by Australian police officer and author, D.L. Hicks. Detective Charlotte Callaghan is already dealing with challenges she can’t share, so a brutally murdered young woman holding an intriguing clue is just the distraction she needs. A note printed with a biblical verse: in the small coastal town of Gull Bay, it quickly leads her to Father Joseph Callaghan, her step-brother. Perhaps one of his parishioners? Not for a moment does she believe he could be involved, but she needs to be thorough.
Witnesses put suspicion on a local homeless man, although the killer has been meticulous at the scene, leaving no trace. When a second body turns up, again with a piece of scripture, the pressure is on Charlotte more than ever to find the murderer and ensure her brother is in the clear.
Soon enough, Father Callaghan is visited in the confessional by a troubled soul who seeks his assurance about the sanctity of the confessional. Whatever he might suspect, he cannot, of course, share anything with Charlotte. But that’s not the end of the strange incidents, or the killing.
The story is carried by four main narratives: three in the present day (Charlotte, Joseph and the killer) and one in 1987 (the young victim of a sexual predator). This is a tale that illustrates the reality that mandated policies and procedures within the Police Force might not always be strictly followed, and demonstrates the long-term effects of childhood abuse.
And wow, what a page-turner! Filled with twists and red herrings, and if, from certain clues, the astute reader has, by the last third of the book, settled on the identity of the perpetrator, this in no way deters from the enjoyment of the read. Hicks gives the reader quite a shock in the final pages and a chilling last line! A gripping and thought-provoking debut novel.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Better Reading Preview and Pantera Press.

Selected pages


Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29

Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Chapter 37
Chapter 38
Chapter 40
Chapter 42
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About the author (2020)

D.L. Hicks is a police officer with the Victorian Police. In his twenty-five years of service he has been on the frontline of everything from drug busts to serious collisions and all manner of violent crime. His debut novel, The Devil Inside, examines the line between good and evil and how circumstance can alter a person’s life in the blink of an eye. He lives in Geelong with his family.

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