The Deviant by Orren Merton
Heinrich Straus, an eight-hundred year old German vampire, is looking for a place to settle and Santo Paulo seems to have everything he needs: peace, quiet, and friendly people. But almost as soon as he arrives, a serial murderer embarks on a killing spree, and as the pale, leather-clad outsider, people look to Heinrich as the likely suspect...
With the proliferation of vampires in popular culture at the moment, it’s hard to know what book is really worth picking off the shelf or which film you should set aside time to watch. It was with this in mind that I began Orren Merton’s The Deviant, hoping it might have something different to contribute to the rapidly expanding vampire sub-genre.
A contemporary, urban account of the ‘outsider’ just trying to fit in, Merton’s premise doesn’t exactly ooze originality. But what it lacks in this department, it strives to make up for in others – to varying degrees of success.
Merton’s writing style is one of its successes, as there’s something about the steady, deliberate pace with which the tale unfolds that absorbs you completely into his story. Taking you on a minute by minute guide to Heinrich’s life, we’re made privy to his every conversation, gesture and thought no matter how mundane, as he discovers new love and life on the streets of Santo Paulo.
Ordinarily such detail would grate, slowing the book down and dragging it backwards, but here it only serves to envelop the reader further. This isn’t to say that the book couldn’t do with some serious editing – it could – but it articulates that Merton’s style is such that even the most mundane events can fascinate.
Unfortunately the author’s fluid storytelling cannot cover some of the novel’s more glaring issues – namely the plot. Although watching Heinrich’s tale unfold is far from unengaging, much of this is due to the inherent anticipation of where it’s all going. It doesn’t take long to figure out what’s going to happen, and when the serial killer’s identity is revealed, it’s of absolutely no consequence.
When reading The Deviant, I got the impression that Merton wanted it to be a character study of a being in turmoil, a being that belongs nowhere and who struggles to retain his sanity. Sadly this isn’t quite how it translates.
Heinrich possesses a demeanour that is polite, sensitive and completely transparent, establishing a disarming persona that holds little mystique yet somehow manages to come across as endearing. His short outbursts of violence are graphic and disturbing, keeping the novel from becoming too soft and its protagonist too sympathetic. Hope’s bubbly personality is convincing and believable, yet the couple’s relationship stimulates narrative direction and little else, as they lack any real chemistry.
On the whole, The Deviant feels just a little bit off balance. By the end of it, all the bits that should stick out in your head don’t, and all the bits you don’t expect to do. For example, the scene in which Heinrich tells Hope he’s a vampire is not particularly memorable, yet the couple’s first encounter at the library is.
Ultimately The Deviant falls down where holding fast is most needed. It contributes little to a well-worn genre and despite confidently constructed characters and an absorbing writing style, Merton’s narrative fails to satisfy, leaving you with the impression that he was trying to tell you something, you just don’t know what.
This The Deviant book review was written by Alice Wybrew
Have you read The Deviant?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Deviant reader reviews
5.9/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client and his castle. Soon af...
The Stress of Her Regard
When Michael Crawford discovers his bride brutally murdered in their wedding bed, he is forced to flee not only to prove his innocence, but to avoid the deadly embrace of a...
Anno Dracula series
It is 1888 and Queen Victoria has remarried, taking as her new consort Vlad Tepes, the Wallachian Prince infamously known as Count Dracula. Peppered with familiar character...
There are worse things in this world than al-Qaeda and North Korea, Zach. And they are just waiting for their chance at us. Sharp and ambitious, Zach Barrows is on his way ...
Amy Harper Bellafonte is six years old and her mother thinks she's the most important person in the whole world. She is. Anthony Carter doesn't think he could ever ...
It wasn't that she feared death. She just despised losing. Genetically engineered warrior Sephti would go to any lengths to destroy the fae that made her their killing ...
Mark is a Day Boy. In a post-traumatic future the Masters - formerly human, now practically immortal - rule a world that bends to their will and a human population upon whi...
The Dark Angel
Meredith Ann Pierce
The Darkangel, a vampire of astounding beauty and youth, can only summon his full power when he finds his 14th and final bride. But for Aeriel, whom he kidnaps to serve his...
Raylene Pendle (AKA Cheshire Red), a vampire and world-renowned thief, doesn’t usually hang with her own kind. She’s too busy stealing priceless art and rare je...
The Eastern Seaboard of the USA is experiencing the worst winter weather in living memory, and John Redlaw is in the cold white thick of it. He's come to America to inv...
Southern Vampire Series
Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much - not because she's not pre...
The Danilov Quintet
On 12th June 1812, Napoleon's Grande Armee forded the River Niemen and crossed the Rubicon - its invasion of Russia had begun. Charged with delaying the enemy's ine...
It wasn't that she wanted to live forever. She just didn't want to die. When artist James Wesley realizes Evie Reed is dying, he is so moved by the beautiful report...
Fae exile Amalie Shepherd takes refuge from her nightmare past by burying herself--and her heart--in operating her Texas horse ranch. That's where the immortal Nick Fle...
The Last Vampire
Kathryn Meyer Griffith
The earthquakes with their falling ash, the global floods and the devastating fires arrive first. Then the worldwide plague with its stench of death. And as mankind suffers...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her alone. Garbled warnings from bizarre creatures keep her up at night. And there’s a time portal in the keg room of the bar where she works. Soon, Hallie is tumbling through...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...