Jennifer Thorne skewers all-too-familiar family dynamics in this sly, wickedly funny vacation-Gothic. Beautifully unhinged and deeply satisfying, Diavola is a sharp twist on the classic haunted house story, exploring loneliness, belonging, and the seemingly inescapable bonds of family mythology.
Anna has two rules for the annual Pace family destination vacations: Tread lightly and survive.
It isn’t easy when she’s the only one in the family who doesn’t quite fit in. Her twin brother, Benny, goes with the flow so much he’s practically dissolved, and her older sister, Nicole, is so used to everyone—including her blandly docile husband and two kids—falling in line that Anna often ends up in trouble for simply asking a question. Mom seizes every opportunity to question her life choices, and Dad, when not reminding everyone who paid for this vacation, just wants some peace and quiet.
The gorgeous, remote villa in tiny Monteperso seems like a perfect place to endure so much family togetherness, until things start going off the rails—the strange noises at night, the unsettling warnings from the local villagers, and the dark, violent past of the villa itself.
(Warning: May invoke feelings of irritation, dread, and despair that come with large family gatherings.)
About the Author
Jennifer Thorne is the author of Lute, The Wrong Side of Right, The Inside of Out, Night Music, and (with Lee Kelly) The Antiquity Affair. American by birth, she now lives in rural England with her husband and two sons.
Praise for Diavola
“You think your last family vacation was horrifying? Diavola is about to give you a run for your money. Tuscany has never been creepier.”—Liz Kerin, author of Night's Edge
“First, she took us to a terrifying British isle, and now to a terrifying Italian villa? Jennifer Thorne is the travel agent from Hell, and Diavola is an exquisitely paced, thoroughly entertaining thrill ride. The delightfully dysfunctional family dynamics draw you in, while the dread cinches tight around your ankles. Like any dish that bears its name, this book will make you sweat.”—Nat Cassidy, author of Mary: An Awakening of Terror and Nestlings
“Jennifer Thorne scorches the petals right off The White Lotus with this supernatural downward spiral of gut-wrenching, teeth-baring terror. If you thought vacationing with your family was a living hell, look no further than Diavola as a primo esempio that there are deeper, darker levels to descent that would make even Dante blush. This isn't your mama's Italian gothic, this is a literary garrote strapped right at your throat, and my God, does it ever squeeze.”—Clay McLeod Chapman, author of Ghost Eaters
“A wholly unique, wicked twist on the classic haunted house story, Thorne’s Diavola will take you on a vacation like no other. I feverishly flipped the pages of this inventive horror novel, as enthralled by the family politics as I was by the ghosts.”—Lee Kelly, author of With Regrets
“Imagine The Exorcist meets The Haunting of Hill House in a creepy Tuscan villa with lots of atmosphere and a vein of dark humor running throughout. Brilliant!”—Gabriel Dylan, author of Whiteout
Praise for Lute
An NPR's Best SFF & Speculative Fiction Book of 2022
"Lute is an understated masterpiece of folk horror by Jennifer Thorne, an exceptionally talented new voice in the genre....Thorne’s prose is elegant in its simplicity, embracing a quiet minimalism that only enhances its sense of horror. Lute is a stunning achievement for an author new to the genre. This is the type of novel that will haunt you for years to come."—Grimdark Magazine
"A creepy, atmospheric story... [Thorne] teaches a master class in slow-burn terror."—Paste Magazine
'Dreamy, moody, mysterious, and haunting... [Lute] will capture your imagination as bodies drop to the floor."—Charlotte Hollingsworth, Horrorbound
"The novel’s pages are dotted with gore and loss, sure to pull on the heartstrings—and occasionally the stomachs—of even the most stoic of readers."—Bookpage (starred review)
“[Thorne] melds traditional gothic horror with folk horror in this exceptional tale. . . . . A very close exploration of grief, along with the ways it brings a community together and tears them apart, is the beating heart of the novel, palpable on every page.”— Kathleen Townsend, Booklist (starred review)
"Thorne’s subversion of folk horror tropes and focus on small, intimate beats make for a gripping reading experience."—Publishers Weekly
"Equally horrifying as it is beautiful, Lute will slip under your skin, haunting you until you've turned the very last page. Folk horror at its finest."—Kim Liggett, New York Times bestselling author of The Grace Year
"Lute is as alluring as it is terrifying. Thorne’s prose is exquisite, her storytelling masterful, the setting a haunting character in itself. I wanted to savor every passage, but I was desperate to see who the island would claim next. I devoured this book.”—Elle Cosimano, author of Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead
"Is there a dark side to paradise or a bright side of hell? That's the genius of Lute. . . . This is the only creepy island I was actually sad to leave when I turned the last, spellbinding page."—Chandler Baker, New York Times bestselling author of The Husbands
“Riveting, atmospheric and haunting, Lute feels like a dark, mesmerizing spell. I promise once you begin this taut, unrelenting stunner, you won’t be able to put it down.”—Lee Kelly, author of City of Savages
"A creepy, atmospheric tale of familial drama, bizarre history and supernatural events, this entertaining story explores the nature of sacrifices and the way we sometimes become prisoners of our decisions."— Gabino Iglesias, author of The Devil Takes You Home