A thought-provoking, spell binding adventure ride filled with characters who quickly stole my heart. I am hesitant to admit it, but The Devil to Pay is the first Gary Blackwood novel I have read. This Tatamagouche author has a way with words, which had my heart racing and my fingers turning the pages quickly. The story is told in the voice of the protagonist, Simon, who weaves together mystery, code-breaking and a cast of characters who all play important roles in the story development. It takes place on a university campus in the late 1960s, an era and environment ripe with protests against war and for free love. With an homage to karate, a history of self-defence and staying true to yourself, the storyline was finely knit with flashbacks and foreshadowing. It’s clear the author has done his research and has captured a moment in time, with references to the effects of Agent Orange, cracking codes, the twisted humour of Mad Magazine, and the conflict of money over justice. It’s historical fiction with themes that are still relevant today.