Killer Nashville Book of the Day

Devil’s Pocket by John Dixon/ Reviewed by G. Robert Frazier


Purchase Devil’s Pocket or read other reviews through Killer Nashville’s affiliate,*

John DixonJohn Dixon

In today’s society where everyone gets a trophy no matter how you finish, it’s no wonder that kids get so excited about do-or-die worlds like The Hunger Games, the Divergent series, or The Maze Runner. The imaginary free-for-alls that make those books and movies so popular seem to provide kids with an outlet for their competitive spirit… At least in a literary kind of way.

Author John Dixon’s latest young adult novel, Devil’s Pocket, rides that trend with its own kill-or-be-killed funeral games. The novel focuses on 16-year-old Carl Freeman, who has been technologically enhanced by a chip in his head, and hundreds more throughout his body, turning him into a lightning-quick, lethal super soldier. Along with two other members of Phoenix Force, he will be pitted in the squared circle against the best young fighters in the world in a deadly competition. At stake: $10 million, bragging rights, and their very lives.

But as the body count continues to grow, Carl becomes more and more disillusioned by the game he’s been forced to play. Barely able to keep his temper in check, he and former girlfriend Octavia, who represents an opposing team, begin to plot their escape and the demise of the Few, a collection of masked overlords who run the games for their own nefarious purposes. The tension boils over into an explosive climax reminiscent of a James Bond movie.

A former youth services caseworker, prison tutor, and middle school teacher, Dixon expertly uses his firsthand knowledge of what makes kids tick to delve deep into Carl’s inner turmoil—and into the mindsets of Carl’s teammates, the headstrong bruiser Agbeko, and the rebellious, devil-may-care Tex. Dixon’s own boxing skills—he was a former Golden Glover—are evident in his in-ring action scenes, which shine with blood and brutality. Dixon deftly combines these specialties, and crafts an emotional, action-packed tale of teenagers finding their identity, challenging authority, and discovering maturity within themselves.

Devil’s Pocket is the follow-up to the critically acclaimed and Bram Stoker Award-winning Phoenix Island. You don’t have to read that one to catch on, as Dixon efficiently brings readers up to speed. For more about John Dixon, visit his site at and follow him on Twitter at @JohnDixonBooks.

G. Robert Frazier is a former journalist and editor, having worked at several newspapers in Middle Tennessee. He is a reader for the Nashville Film Festival and Austin Film Festival’s annual screenwriting competitions, serves on the La Vergne Library Board, and is an active member of the Nashville Writers Meetup and Tennessee Screenwriters Association. He is currently working on a mystery/thriller novel and a screenplay. You can locate him online at and

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