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A Q&A with Craig Russell, author of The Devil Aspect

The Devil Aspect

Award-winning author Craig Russell took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his latest novel, The Devil Aspect.

Can you describe The Devil Aspect in 10 words

Literary Gothic thriller woven through with myth, folklore and madness.


What was your initial inspiration for The Devil Aspect?

It sprang mainly out of my interest in abnormal psychologies, especially misidentification disorders, and Jungian psychology as well as the mythology of Central and Eastern Europe. The initial idea came when I was visiting Hrad Karlstejn castle in Bohemia—as dark and menacing a place as you can imagine (I always say if Dracula was on Location, location, he would reject Hrad Karlstejn as having a bad vibe). I suddenly imagined what it would be like converted into an asylum and the idea was suddenly and completely there—Bob’s your confined deranged homicidal uncle!


What research did you have to do for the novel?

Too much to list here! There are so many stands and elements to the book—geographical, historical, cultural, ancient Slavic myths and legends, the political dynamics of inter-war Central Europe, Jungian psychology . . . The strange thing is that through the research was continuous and extensive, it was in no way onerous. I enjoy the research almost as much as the writing.


Are any of the patients that Victor treats in the asylum based on real-life criminals?

No. I always feel to do so lacks imagination. All of the Devil’s Six came from my imagination; my unconscious, if you like. Which, let’s face it, is quite a scary thought.


You’re also the author of two very successful crime series, the Lennox series and the Jan Fabel series. How is The Devil Aspect different to the crime fiction you’ve written before?

To start with it’s not crime fiction. There is a crime element in it, but I like to think there is so much more going on in this book. It’s Gothic horror, it’s psychological suspense, and it’s a historical novel. In many ways, it’s similar to the Fabel series of novels, which tend to be driven by historical and mythological elements. Even the Lennox novels are historical pieces, so the skill set was already there.