The D’Evil Diaries by Tatum Flynn does exactly what it says on the tin – these are the diaries of Jinx D’Evil, the 666th son of Lucifer the fallen angel, ruler of Hell. In many respects, he’s a normal 12-year-old boy – he struggles with his lessons, misses his absent mum, idolises his big brother, and worries about disappointing his dad. Jinx’s main problem is that he isn’t very good at being evil – whenever he tries to be bad, he ends up doing good.
He’s so bad at being bad that when he’s sent to Earth for remedial lessons from some of the greatest monsters of all time (Edward Teach – better known as Blackbeard the pirate, and a certain Transylvanian nobleman called Count Dracula) not only does he fail to learn from the masters, he ends up turning them good.
Dad is not happy. He plans to send Jinx off to military school. So Jinx does the first bad thing he’s ever done – he runs away…
So begins a hilarious romp through the underworld, where Jinx meets up with the dead girl Tommy (who shouldn’t be in Hell at all) and uncovers a nefarious plot to overthrow his father.
The characters are brilliant. Jinx is a loser and failure, but funny and engaging. Tommy is a feisty ninja circus girl with a pocket full of shuriken. Loiter is a laid-back sloth demon, and Bruce… is a bat. (Named after Bruce Wayne, obviously.) Lucifer, Prince of Darkness, Enemy of Righteousness, Lord of the Flies, is convincingly portrayed as very human.
The pace is frantic, and the jokes come as fast as the thrills. There’s peril, adventure, scares, tension, and enough light-hearted humour to turn what could be a very grim subject (it’s about a revolution in Hell, after all, and the two protagonists are a demon and a dead girl) into a fun adventure. The balance between humour and action is just about perfect.
Nice artwork by Dave Shephard too, who provides interior illustrations as well as the cover art. The picture of Loiter the sloth demon riding in on the hell horses makes me laugh with his funny smiling sloth face juxtaposed with the snorting and snarling horned and spiked horses. So sue me. I like sloths.
Best new of all? The sequel, Hell’s Belles, is coming early 2016, and brings Tommy front and centre in her own adventure. Can’t wait!