When six year-old Evan is kidnapped from his foster home, he is dragged into a world of shadows, monsters, and fire. At first, all Evan can think about is how to escape from his violent captor, a man who calls himself Rook; but Evan quickly learns that Rook is the only person with the power to protect him against a host of more horrible dangers. As Rook’s true nature is revealed through mysterious, magical acts, Evan must wonder if Rook is indeed a person or rather a monster himself.

Pursued across the wintery Southern Ontario countryside, with the baying of police dogs at their heels and deeper horrors lurking in the woods, the orphan boy and the roguish man begin to understand each other. Evan admits that he also has mysterious, magical powers, but doesn’t know how to control them. Rook becomes more intrigued with the boy, and Evan, a child that has never felt at home, begins to believe in a place where he belongs—with Rook.


Michell’s mystical horror novel is a promising debut . . . Michell subtly upends expectations with a genuinely insightful examination of the essence of good and evil. By the novel’s end, Michell delivers an invigorating chase story, a suspenseful horror-action hybrid with memorably warped characters, and terrific B-movie cinematic flair.
— Publishers Weekly
Michell’s novel is large in achievement despite its compact page count. I would have liked to know more about the creatures of the underworld, or the relationship between Rook and Gabriel, but I’m a sucker for Neil Gaiman-esque gods-on-earth narratives. Michell is interested in using Evan and Rook’s short journey to explore the relationship between good and evil.
— Canadian Notes and Queries
I burnt through Only the Devil is Here in one fevered night. Stephen Michell is the real, raw deal: a fierce young writer with chops and heart.
— Nick Cutter, author of Little Heaven, The Troop and The Acolyte
Only The Devil Is Here is a gripping, cinematic supernatural thriller, shot through with unsettling imagery and startling insights into the nature of good and evil. Suspenseful, scary and unexpectedly moving, it’s a wild ride from start to finish.
— David Demchuk, Giller Prize nominated author of The Bone Mother
With Only The Devil Is Here, Stephen Michell announces himself as a new and powerful presence on the literary horror scene. This is curt, violent, poetic storytelling, a Cormac McCarthyesque journey from darkness into even deeper darkness, suffused from moment one on with gothic nighttime awe and terror yet also shot through with the slimmest threads of hope—intimations of numinosity, if not of salvation. For all you probably won’t like where it takes you, it’s just so damn hard to turn away.
— Gemma Files, Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of Experimental Film
A blighted natural landscape being traversed by a man and boy has become a popular motif in contemporary fiction, informing such novels as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and John Jantunen’s A Desolate Splendour . . . Michell shows that he’s a capable writer with this kind of material in several cinematic sequences.
— Alex Good of goodreports.net
Only the Devil is Here is a breathless debut that moves too fast to accommodate bulky backstory. As such, the true nature of the characters, their origins or intentions, are only ever glimpsed. Who’s good? Who’s evil? Is the division between one and the other really so neat? Michell keeps the details—the idiomatic abode of both God and the Devil—elusive. It’s in that murky moral unknown that Only the Devil is Here thrives.
— Andrew Hood, Bookshelf Reviews
Michell’s writing, characterisation and pacing are strong enough to make the book an enjoyable read. The central relationship is engaging, the action relentless, the carnage gleeful. We care enough about Evan and Rook that the inevitable confrontation with their enemies is genuinely tense, and the final scene surprisingly moving.
— Stewart Horn, Ginger Nuts of Horror
You think you know where Only The Devil is Here is going . . . and then it goes somewhere else. Super-creepy northern gothic with terrific pace and scares.
— Andrew Pyper, author of The Only Child and The Demonologist
An outstanding literary horror debut, the lean, muscular prose of which barely contains the bursting, profoundly human heart of the novel. Only The Devil Is Here is the work of a natural storyteller at the start of what will doubtless be a very long, very promising career.
— Michael Rowe, award-winning author of Enter, Night, Wild Fell, and October