The Devil’s Pawn: Marilyn Levinson
A pawn is the piece of lowest value in a game of chess. Pawns are manipulated and used by others in order to carry out their wishes. Pawns often have no choice but to follow the orders of someone who claims to care about them but does not. Taking advantage of these innocent people that are not always naïve but have no choice but to comply with their wishes is the main focal point of this chilling, spellbinding and frightening plot of The Devil’s Pawn by award winning and outstanding author: Marilyn Levinson.
Families are supposed to nurture and take care of their children. Some are closer than others. Simon Porte/Davenport is fifteen years old, smart, astute and has a keen sense of right and wrong. Even more he has powers that allow him to hear what other’s are thinking, see things that most would not and understand that the dangers he will encounter need to be stopped before it’s too late. His parents killed in a bizarre car accident and his sister assumed gone too, forced to live with his Aunt Mary and Uncle Raymond he enters a home filled with fear, deceit, lies and worse infusions. Uncle Raymond is more like a vampire or demon whose body dies off and needs energy to replenish. Finding the source in young girls many in the town of Buckley wind up mysterious dead. Rich, powerful and having the right connections, Raymond Davenport manages to overpower many, deplete his wife of any ability to think on her own and has a terrifying goal. As Raymond learns more about Simon and Simon encounters his uncle at rare times during the night he realizes that his goal is to take away his body, his mind and energy and become Simon. Dying off and needing to find a way to replenish his body Raymond even tries to convince Simon to allow him to adopt him or at least become his guardian. Under the pretext of leaving all of his wealth to him in his will, even with his own attorney, somehow Raymond gets the upper hand.
A phone call changes it all and an encounter with an older woman who turns out to be his aunt Lucinda gives Simon the courage to fight his uncle and hopefully reunite with his sister Lucy who is not dead. Fear, anger, deceit and lies fill the pages of this novel as Lucy reveals to Simon where she is, her feelings for Aunt Grace her guardian and her hope to live with her brother. But, first how can Simon stop what his uncle has put in motion? Working in a camp owned by his uncle and for a man named Craig, he learns more about the demonic goals his uncle has, just who might be his next victim and his plans for building condos in place of the baseball fields that the children need to play in. Raymond Davenport is not human. He is pure evil. Can Simon stop him before it’s too late?
Simon teams up with a lawyer of his own, hopes to convince the police of what his uncle is doing when the lawyer relates that he knows more than he let on. The transference that his uncle tries to do kills young girls, will take away Simon’s identity and life as he and his uncle become one and the same. Because he’s young and a teen he is impetus and endangers his sister Lucy who Raymond finds by tracking Simon’s phone. But, Aunt Lucinda might appear to be batty, old and was attacked and hurt by someone working for Raymond, she has a few tricks up her old cloak and wait until you learn what she tells Simon to do. Added in he has to deal with his friendship with a young girl named Tasha, his twin friends Andy and Pol who come to his aid and hopefully Aunt Grace who is distraught over losing Lucy. How will this all piece together? Can a 15-year-old teen stop what has gone on for years? Murder, attacks, a vicious man who wants to take about the playing fields and turn them into condos! Money is the reason and power is his game!
Author Marilyn Levinson takes us into a world filled with evil, demons, psychic powers, demented souls and a poor woman named Mary caught in a web that he hopes to escape but how? This is truly a story filled with deceit, lies, friendships tested, family love and loyalty and the hope that Simon can reunite with his sister and save his aunts from harm. How do you stop someone that has set a plan in motion that would take out Simon and overtake his body, mind and soul but others too? What happens when Aunt Lucinda teaches Simon some really great tricks of her own in order to take down Uncle Raymond? An infusion you won’t believe what this is and how hard it was for Simon to resist what his uncle had planned. But, what would this story be without a little friction between friends, a touch of romance and a spark of fun. Andy and Pol are twins and sometimes who or what is right in front of you well Simon doesn’t see it at first. Not understanding at times why Pol seems upset or distant he decides to go after someone else but what happens teaches him a lesson in how girls often use one guy to get another. With his thoughts about Uncle Raymond in the forefront Simon and Aunt Lucinda take action but what is great is that they can communicate without speaking telepathically and not in the same room and even greater so can someone else. How does this all work out? Wait until you read the explosive and surprise ending that the author created.
Simon is a great character who is smart, astute, and funny at times and definitely worked well with his lawyer and the police officer that was helping him. They realized and believed his outlandish story and one realized that the rumors about his family were true. How was he going to change things and what about Aunt Mary who seemed alert one minute and off the next? Characters vividly created, a plot line that kept this reviewer glued to the printed page and completing the book in one sitting. Let’s hope the author brings Simon back again. With dialogue that was crisp, clear and direct and one aunt named Lucinda that I really loved this is one book that teens, adults and middle school kids will love to read. Let’s give this book FIVE GOLDEN HUGS !
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine