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Wayne Johnson, Author THE DEVIL YOU KNOWWayne Johns $23 (400p) ISBN 978-0-609-60964-4

In Johnson's slow-to-start but ultimately satisfying literary thriller set in the early 1970s, 15-year-old David Geist is a sensitive high school student and cross-country runner whose mental landscape is colored by a simultaneous resentment and love for his recovering alcoholic father, Max, recently returned to the family after years of estrangement. David ventures with Max and his younger sister, Janie, on a trip to the northern Minnesota Boundary Waters area on what he hopes will be a healing vacation with his father. But a gang of redneck thugs from the local meatpacking plant has taken to the lakes at the same time in order to assassinate their supervisor, who is threatening to interfere with their black market beef-stealing operation. After the murder—and still in a killing rage—Penry, the gang's leader, hunts down and attacks Max, who had verbally insulted him earlier, and rapes Janie. David arrives in time to kill one of Penry's accomplices with the hunting knife Max has given him as a present, but Penry escapes. In the end, with the help of a mysterious local outlaw, David confronts Penry in a dramatic and tragic showdown. Johnson (Don't Think Twice ) lays the coming-of-age nostalgia on thick and sweet at first and may lose some readers early on as a result. But after several chapters of overly wistful, throat-clearing prose, he delivers a riveting, character-driven tale of action and loss set in a beautiful and remote corner of wild America that's sure to please a wide range of readers. 8-city author tour. (Mar. 9)

Reviewed on: 02/23/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-1-4000-8227-8
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