Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Goodreads ratings
3.65 / 5

"Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" Summary

By J.L. Murray

urban fantasy | 192 pages | Published in 2012


Estimated read time: 6 min read

One Sentence Summary

Violet moves to a coastal town and becomes entangled with a mysterious and dangerous boy who may have supernatural abilities.


"Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" by J.L. Murray is a gripping young adult novel that delves into the themes of love, mystery, and dark secrets. Set in the small coastal town of Echo, the story follows Violet White, who becomes entangled with a mysterious and charming stranger named River West. As the plot unfolds, Violet discovers that there is more to River than meets the eye, and she finds herself caught between desire and danger. The novel explores the complexities of human nature and the blurred lines between good and evil. With its atmospheric setting and complex characters, "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" is a captivating read that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview and Setting

The story is set in the picturesque yet eerie town of Echo, where the fog rolls in from the sea, and the cliffs loom ominously over the ocean. Sixteen-year-old Violet White lives in the decaying family estate, Citizen Kane, with her brother Luke. When a charming and enigmatic stranger named River West arrives in town and rents the guesthouse behind Citizen Kane, Violet's life takes a dark and thrilling turn. River's arrival coincides with a series of strange and unsettling events in Echo, and Violet soon discovers that there is more to him than meets the eye. As the mysteries of Echo begin to unravel, Violet finds herself drawn to River even as she uncovers the dangerous secrets that he harbors.

Main Characters

The novel features a cast of intriguing characters, each with their own secrets and motivations.

Violet WhiteSixteen-year-old protagonist living in Citizen Kane, curious and headstrong
River WestMysterious and charming stranger who rents the guesthouse behind Citizen Kane
Luke WhiteViolet's older brother, troubled and artistic
Sunshine SparrowViolet's vivacious and free-spirited best friend
Freddie RothLocal boy with a crush on Violet, protective and loyal

Story Points Over Chapters

Chapters 1-5: The Arrival of River West

  • River West arrives in Echo and rents the guesthouse behind Citizen Kane.
  • Violet is immediately drawn to River's enigmatic charm, while Luke is suspicious of him.
  • Strange occurrences begin to unfold in Echo, including the unexplained behavior of the townspeople.

Chapters 6-10: Uncovering Secrets

  • Violet delves into the history of Echo and the mysteries surrounding the town.
  • River's true nature and abilities begin to surface, and Violet becomes increasingly intrigued and wary.
  • The bond between Violet and River deepens, despite the growing danger that surrounds them.

Chapters 11-15: Revelations and Consequences

  • The dark secrets of River's past come to light, revealing the true extent of his powers.
  • Violet grapples with her feelings for River and the implications of his presence in her life.
  • Echo is plunged into chaos as the town's secrets unravel, and Violet must confront the forces at play.

Main Events

The unfolding of the story reveals several key events that drive the plot forward:

Arrival of River WestThe mysterious stranger's arrival in Echo sets off a chain of unsettling events.
Uncovering Echo's SecretsViolet delves into the town's history, unearthing dark and hidden truths.
Revelation of River's PowersRiver's true nature and abilities come to light, posing a threat to Violet and the town.
Confrontation and ChaosThe climax sees a showdown between the forces at play, leading to a reckoning for Violet and River.

Themes and Insights


  1. The Thin Line Between Good and Evil: The novel explores the complexities of morality and the blurred lines between light and darkness, embodied in the characters of River and the town of Echo.
  2. Power and Temptation: River's abilities and their allure to Violet raise questions about the seductive nature of power and the consequences of yielding to temptation.
  3. Small Town Secrets: The setting of Echo serves as a backdrop for the theme of buried secrets and the darkness that can lurk beneath the surface of seemingly idyllic communities.


  • The novel offers a nuanced exploration of the human psyche, delving into the characters' internal conflicts and desires.
  • It raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of love, trust, and the choices we make when faced with uncertainty and danger.
  • The atmospheric setting of Echo adds an additional layer of mystery and tension, immersing readers in the haunting world of the story.

Reader's Takeaway

"Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" is a captivating and atmospheric novel that weaves together elements of mystery, romance, and the supernatural. Through its evocative setting and complex characters, the story invites readers to ponder the nature of temptation, the allure of darkness, and the intricacies of human relationships. The novel's exploration of secrets and the unknown will leave readers engrossed and contemplating the depths of the human soul.


In conclusion, "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" offers a compelling and immersive reading experience, with its richly developed characters, atmospheric setting, and suspenseful plot. J.L. Murray's exploration of love, mystery, and the complexities of human nature culminates in a novel that will resonate with readers long after the final page. Whether delving into the shadows of Echo or navigating the intricacies of Violet and River's relationship, this novel is sure to leave a lasting impression on those who dare to venture between the pages.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea'?

    The book falls under the genre of young adult fiction with elements of fantasy and romance.

  2. Who is the author of 'Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea'?

    The author of the book is J.L. Murray.

  3. What is the main premise of the book?

    The story revolves around a young woman who encounters a mysterious and alluring stranger in a coastal town, leading to a series of supernatural events and romantic entanglements.

  4. Is this book part of a series?

    Yes, 'Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea' is the first book in a series, followed by 'Between the Spark and the Burn'.

  5. Is this book suitable for young adult readers?

    Yes, the book is targeted towards young adult readers and features themes and characters relevant to that age group.