This surreal borderland genrebender follows the violent journey of one man trying to hold his family together.
Good to know
Drug & alcohol use
Buried in debt due to his young daughter’s illness, his marriage at the brink, Mario reluctantly takes a job as a hitman, surprising himself with his proclivity for violence. After tragedy destroys the life he knew, Mario agrees to one final job: hijack a cartel’s cash shipment before it reaches Mexico.
Along with an old friend and a cartel-insider named Juanca, Mario sets off on the near-suicidal mission, which will leave him with either a cool $200,000 or a bullet in the skull. But the path to reward or ruin is never as straight as it seems. As the three complicated men travel through the endless landscape of Texas, across the border and back, their hidden motivations are laid bare alongside nightmarish encounters that defy explanation. One thing is certain: even if Mario makes it out alive, he won’t return the same.
The Devil Takes You Home
Leukemia. That’s what the doctor said. She was young, white, and pretty. Her brown hair hung like a curtain over her left eye. She talked to us softly, using the tone most people use to explain things to a child, especially when they think the kid is an idiot. Her mouth opened just enough to let the words flow out. She said our four-year-old daughter had cancer in her blood cells. Our Anita, who waited in the other room, playing with Legos and still wrapped in innocence. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Those strange words were said in a voice that was both impossibly sharp and velvety. Her soft delivery didn’t help. You can wrap a shotgun in flowers, but that doesn’t make the blast less lethal.
The young, white, pretty doctor told us it was too early to tell for sure, but there was a good chance that Anita was going to be okay. Okay, that’s the word she used. Sometimes four letters mean the world. She immediately added that she couldn’t make any promises. People fear being someone else’s hope. I understood her, but I wanted her to be our hope.
The doctor gave us a moment to process what she’d said. Silence is never as cold and sterile as it is in hospitals. My wife, Melisa, and I breathed in that silence and waited. We didn’t look at each other, but I could feel the panic setting in, circulating through my wife like she was radioactive. I wanted to hold Melisa, to comfort her and say it’d be okay, but I was scared of making any sudden movement. I gently cupped my hand over hers, but she pulled away, quick and violent like an invisible shanking, so instead I stared at the doctor’s white coat. Embroidered in blue right above the pocket, it read: Dr. Flynn.
The doctor inhaled. From the other room, the sound of Anita giggling reached our ears. It felt like God had punched me in the heart, and Melisa choked back something. A sad woman is a blade hanging over the world, threatening to fall at any moment.
Why I love it
David Heska Wanbli Weiden
Author, Winter Counts
The Devil Takes You Home by Gabino Iglesias is one of the wildest rides I’ve ever taken as a reader. The book incorporates brilliant, hallucinogenic imagery along with truly unforgettable characters and a plot that will keep you awake long past your bedtime. It’s alternately thrilling, terrifying, and heartbreaking. It’s safe to say that there’s no other novel quite like it—I’m still thinking about the book months after I finished reading it.
The novel tells the story of Mario, a desperate man facing insurmountable medical bills due to his young daughter’s diagnosis of cancer. Having nowhere else to turn, he contacts an old friend, who arranges a murder-for-hire, which Mario accomplishes, although with some unexpected consequences. Mario then accepts a deadly mission with little chance of success: stealing a massive sum of money from a Mexican cartel. It’s not fair to reveal what happens next, but there are a few scenes in the book that I’ll never forget.
The Devil Takes You Home is part thriller and part horror, but labels don’t matter with a novel like this. It’s a brutal and beautiful book that reveals some uncomfortable truths about modern society, racism, and the struggle of working people in contemporary America. But most of all, it’s a great story with complicated and compelling characters. I loved it and know you will too.
Member ratings (6,080)
This book was insane. I loved the main character. This book made me feel so many emotions. I wasn’t sure if I should stop reading or keep going. So we’ll written. Not for the faint of heart ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
It drew me in from chapter one. The darkness, the beautiful writing, the sadness. It makes you think about what lengths you would go for your family. I couldn’t finish it fast enough! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Kansas City, MO
I truly loved this book. ❤️❤️❤️ Tbh I thought it much better than Razorblade Tears. This book explores themes of grief, racism, and poverty. Yes there is gore, but it didn’t feel out of place.
San Juan Capistrano, CA
This book left me SHOOK. It’s dark, beautifully violent, cartels dabbling in the paranormal, it’s about grief, it’s about Hispanic identify, racists get satisfyingly wrecked. THE ENDING IS WILD 10/10!
Jamaica Plain, MA
An excellent horror novel that has you chasing the real “devil” through every page. This story digs far deeper into the systems that allow this plot to exist than i’ve ever read before. One to watch.