Reviews of Dark Fiction

His Own Devices by Douglas Wynne

Having been a fan of Douglas Wynne’s Spectra Files books, I was excited to read something new from him. HIS OWN DEVICES shows how well he can branch out from his usual fare to something that’s mightily compelling!

Jessica is doing her best to run a household and raise her son while her husband Matt is serving in the military. Worries about him soon take a back seat to her worries about her son Gavin, and the time he spends on internet gaming. He loves to watch a You-Tuber named Rainbow Dave, and even Jessica gets used to Dave’s voice, because she pays close attention to what her son is doing online. Rainbow Dave has developed a new game and has privately invited some of his top followers to play. Gavin gets an invite and before you can say You Tube, he’s receiving private messages within the game, asking him to perform certain tasks. What are these messages about? Why is he being contacted personally? You’ll need to read this to find out!

HIS OWN DEVICES made me doubly thankful that my son was grown before most online gaming became a thing. This stuff is crazy! Prior to reading this, I though the primary problems with the internet and teens was Facebook or TikTok or whatever other social media in which bullying could take place. I had no idea gaming had become this big. Luckily, I didn’t need to know a lot about it to enjoy this book.

I related to Jessica as she did her best to keep her son safe and to keep his spirits high while his father was off serving his country. Both she and her son lived for the opportunity to Face Time whenever Matt was able to contact them. And they also both lived in fear of a time when that contact stopped.

I think the pall of Matt’s service hung over this book like a cloud. Always there, always in the background. Will today be the day that soldiers show up at the front door? Jessica had her hands full keeping all the balls of her daily life in the air. I think her tension and stress permeated this novel and that helped to keep it interesting and moving forward at a brisk pace. I’m not sure that,without the military angle, I would have enjoyed this book as much as I did.

Douglas Wynne has been a personal favorite of mine over the years and I was a bit wary about this book, it being more of a techno-thriller rather than horror. But good writing is good writing and Mr. Wynne never fails at that!


Thanks to the author for the e-ARC of this tale in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!

His Own Devices Book Cover His Own Devices
Douglas Wynne
Science Fiction, Techno-Thriller

In 2016 an occult cabal activates a psychic trigger in a popular video game and a countdown to chaos begins.

While her husband is deployed in Afghanistan, Jessica Ritter finds herself navigating the pitfalls of parenting on her own. That includes moderating her ten-year-old son's screen time—an obsession that hits a fever pitch when YouTube sensation Rainbow Dave releases an addictive new iPad game. Gavin knows he isn’t supposed to keep secrets from his parents, but when his achievements in the game unlock personal messages from Dave instructing him to embark on real world mini-quests, he can’t resist.

In the aftermath of an ambush that leaves her husband missing in action, Jessica grapples with fear and sorrow while clues to a threat closer to home evade her detection. Rainbow Dave, the charismatic host of Scream Time, is America’s cool big brother—a gamer who built a video empire on the strength of his personality. He is also the focus of a shadowy conspiracy hell-bent on sowing chaos with vast technological resources. Dave’s anonymous benefactors have granted him a glimpse of paradise between the pixels, and the real world hasn’t looked the same since. Now, wired with a head full of unholy revelations and a crate full of dangerous devices, he’s on a mission to help his fans “level up” at a live event. Scream Time is coming to town, and it may be too late to stop a deadly game.

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