On a day beginning with a bad omen - black vultures, known locally as John Crows, crash through the local church windows - a handsome and charismatic stranger drags the village preacher from his pulpit and takes over both church and congregation. Promising vengeance and damnation, he wastes no time delivering both, and in doing so starts a power struggle that sets the village of Gibbeah on a path to destruction.
With language as taut as classic works by Cormac McCarthy, and a richness reminiscent of early Toni Morrison, John Crow's Devil is a terrifying and moving novel about religious mania, redemption, sexual obsession and the eternal struggle between the righteous and the wicked.
'Feels contemporary and necessary, exploring how religion can be used as justification for mankind's deepest urges'.
'A relentless excavation of an isolated village in which sex, violence and Jesus form a combustible trinity of catalysts and salves'.
‘Dense, lyrical and richly over the top'.
'Introduces us to his extraordinary talent...James jumps effortlessly between cut-glass English that would not disgrace Jane Austen, and the ripe, flexible, witty language of his childhood. Superb'.
'James's slice of Caribbean gothic has terrific power and verve: it's quite a debut'.
'John Crow's Devil is undoubtedly breathtaking for its imagination and its storytelling'.
‘A powerful first novel … Writing with assurance and control, James uses his small-town drama to suggest the larger anguish of a postcolonial society struggling for its own identity.'
‘A writer whose importance can scarcely be questioned.'