On the same day that Stephen King and Umberto Eco both have new novels hitting the book shelves, Clayton State University’s Phillip DePoy dropped a bombshell in the sixth installment of his Fever Devilin mystery novel series, also released today. As DePoy explained to a rapt audience at a reading this noon in the Clayton State Loch Shop, he killed off Fever Devilin, the first-person narrator of the series, in the very first page of “A Corpse’s Nightmare.”
As can probably be guessed, Devilin is the corpse in question, leaving DePoy with something of a challenge after, in effect, writing the protagonist out of the script at the start of the book. Possibly more shocking is the thought that DePoy had in some sense committed a virtual literary hari-kari, since the Fever Devilin character, a Georgia folklorist by trade, sometimes bears a striking resemblance to author/folklorist DePoy. (And an alliterative connection as well… Phillip DePoy… Fever Devilin.)
However, not to worry, as DePoy made clear later in the reading. “A Corpse’s Nightmare” isn’t a one-page book, and the Clayton State Theatre will not need a new director for Thursday’s opening of “Moonshine and Magnolias.” As DePoy pointed out to his audience, while he liked the literary device of disposing of the first-person narrator at the start of the book, the challenge to the book came after page one – what to do for the rest of the story. It was a challenge that DePoy relished. In fact, he noted that most people will, consciously or unconsciously, look for challenges in their lives, a truism that should also attract readers to “A Corpse’s Nightmare.”
Without spoiling the suspense in the rest of the novel (Minotaur Books; $25.99; hardcover) suffice it to say that DePoy brings Devilin back to life, borrowing from a real-life medical miracle he witnessed decades ago as an X-ray technician at Piedmont Hospital. In fact, Devilin is so lively that DePoy fans will be pleased to know that the seventh Fever Devilin mystery is due at the publisher by year’s end.
"A Corpse's Nightmare" will be The Loch Shop Book of the Week from Nov. 8 through Nov. 11, selling at a 30 percent discount, so the $25.99 cover price will be reduced to just $18.19. The Loch Shop is located on the first floor of the Clayton State Student Center.
“Moonshine and Magnolias,” the fall production of the Clayton State Theatre, is a script written by Clayton State graduate Kalani Fraser (Fayetteville), under commission from Stately Oaks Plantation. A portrayal of the City of Jonesboro that will initially performed by the students of the Clayton State Theater, under the direction of DePoy, the show dates are Nov. 10, Nov. 11, Nov. 12, Nov. 17, and Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. All performances will be held in the Clayton State Theatre, room 132 of the University’s Arts & Sciences Building. General admission is $5, although LakerCard holders are admitted free.
Maybe Fever Devilin will be there, too.