Book Reviews

{Review} DEVIL IN THE DARKNESS, by Archie Roy

Published by Valancourt Books on October 9, 2016
Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Ghost, Gothic, Horror, Mystery, Occult & Supernatural, Paranormal, Supernatural, Victorian
Pages: 192
Format: eBook
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En route to their honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands, Paul and Carol Wilson lose their way in an unseasonable blizzard and are forced to take shelter in remote Ardvreck House.

But this sprawling, dilapidated Victorian mansion, with its reputation as the scene of violent unsolved mysteries, is also playing host to an eclectic and mysterious group of people who are engaged in a bizarre experiment. It soon becomes clear that even more threatening than the worsening storm outside are the dangers within: The Wilsons and the rest of the assembled company may not survive their stay, as Ardvreck House, home to a century-old evil, refuses to give up its long-buried secret - the devil in the darkness.

Renowned professor of astronomy Archie Roy was also a prominent researcher in the field of the paranormal. Drawing heavily on his own experience and investigations, Devil in the Darkness (1978) is a chilling haunted house story in the tradition of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and Richard Matheson's Hell House. This new edition makes Roy's sixth novel available in America for the first time and includes a new introduction by Greg Gbur.

'Exciting thriller, as good as a Hammer movie, with supernatural doings in an evil mansion.' - Alastair Philips, Glasgow Herald

DEVIL IN THE DARKNESS, by Archie Roy, was originally released in 1978, and has now been published by Valancourt Books with an all new introduction by Greg Gbur. As with all of the “forgotten gems” I’ve discovered through the endeavors of Valancourt Books, this was a novel that I feel absolutely thrilled to have been able to read–having the distinction of being the first time it was available in America.

Archie Roy takes on the “haunted house” genre in a calculated way, reminiscent to me of Shirley Jackson’s classic, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE. However, Roy adds to the assembled “paranormal investigation” by throwing into the mix some military personal–intent on demolishing the building in the near future, several scientists–including one prone to excessive media coverage at all times, and an unfortunate couple en route to their honeymoon–Paul and Carol Wilson–who are forced into the gathering by an unfortunate snowstorm.

Ardvreck House is a dilapidated Victorian mansion in the Scottish Highlands. At the start of the story, we are informed of its evil and tainted reputation, along with the fact that it has been unoccupied or the last fifteen years.

“. . . Like an elderly, chronically ill person, Ardvreck House existed on the edge of final dissolution . . .”

The classic touches such as the unrelenting snowstorm and blocked roads, dramatically increases the claustrophobic sensation–especially in regards to the unexpected newlyweds. The tension of having to spend their wedding night in a decrepit, molding building that had been the scene of so many murders and suicides throughout its history, compounded with being thrust into the midst of a rather large group of strangers, and literally “trapped” for an uncertain amount of time plays on the nerves, emotions, and already discomforting feelings in quite a theatrical fashion. One simply could not have come up with a more unbearable set of circumstances.

“. . . All he knew was that he hated and loathed this house.”

Roy then combines his characters, and goes off into a bit of paranormal research regarding the history of Ardvreck House. As expected, tension is dramatically heightened at each and every new turn of events.

“In my researches . . . I found that in thirty years two owners and five servants committed suicide . . . “

The pacing of this novel is steadily increased throughout the entire duration, with no minor “lulls” to give the reader a mental break. It is–in my opinion–a book designed to capture and captivate the full attention of its audience from first to last page, without a single pause in action. Naturally, the crumbling Victorian estate fully cooperates in magnifying this feeling.

“With so many people living in the house again, it may be that it is, for want of a better word, powering-up again.”

Overflowing with desolate atmosphere, characters with unique personalities, paranormal testing, and supernatural occurrences of all kinds, Archie Roy’s novel is one I firmly believe deserves wider recognition in the literary field.

Highly recommended!

About Archie Roy

Aka: A.E. Roy

Professor Archie Edminston Roy, was educated at Hillhead High School and the University of Glasgow. He was married to Frances with three sons; Dr. Archie W N Roy, Ian Roy and David Roy.

Professor Roy was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal Astronomical Society, and the British Interplanetary Society. He was also a Member and past President of the Society for Psychical Research and Founding President of The Scottish Society for Psychical Research.

The asteroid (5806) Archieroy is named after him, with a registration in the IAU’s Minor planet center. He has also been elected a member of the European Academy of Arts, Sciences and the Humanities. He was a Patron of the Churches Fellowship (Scotland) for Psychical and Spiritual Studies and a member of the Scientific and Medical Network. Archie Roy conducted research in astrodynamics, celestial mechanics, archaeoastronomy, psychical research, and neural networks.

In addition Roy has published 20 books, six of them novels, some 70 scientific papers and scores of articles. His books have been published in the United Kingdom, United States, France, Russia, Italy and India.

In 2004 he was awarded the Myers Memorial Medal for outstanding contributions to psychical research by the Society for Psychical Research.


I am an avid reader/reviewer and collector of books--primarily horror, supernatural, and supernatural-themed thrillers.

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