Wednesday, December 10, 2008
A cursed papal ring, a Columbian drug smuggler, three dead bodies washed ashore in Massachusetts, and a demonic prophecy, mingle together to create a captivating, suspenseful and action-packed mystery in The Devil Can Wait by Marta Stephens.
When the third body of a teenage boy is uncovered by a man and his dog along Chandler Bay, Detective Sam Harper and his partner, Dave Mann are left with more questions than answers. With little to go on, they search to find the one thing that connects these murders and will lead them to the killer.
Jennifer Blake, an ambitious newspaper reporter looking for the story that will catapult her to the top, agrees to pick up a ring from a pawnshop for her former college professor. When both the pawnshop owner and the professor turn up dead, Blake is moved to the top of Harper's prime suspect list.
What makes the ring so valuable that someone would kill to get his/her hands on it? How are the deaths of the pawnshop owner and the professor connected to the boys pulled from Chandler Bay? And will Harper be able to uncover the truth before the murderer finds the ring and unleashes pure evil upon the earth?
This is the second book in the Sam Harper Crime Mystery series by Marta Stephens and the first book of hers that I have read. I'll definitely be spending the money to get Silenced Cry--the first book in the series.
The Devil Can Wait captivated me so deeply that I had to go back and look over some of the details in order to write this review. Stephens wove a complex plot into a set of engaging and creepy characters and came up with a huge winner for mystery fans. As the reader flows through each chapter, the mystery deepens; twists and turns drive the reader forward as she seeks to uncover the truth right along with Harper.
Sam Harper is a well-written character. Edgy and driven, but still vulnerable after the loss of his last partner, Harper still hasn't managed to clear his ex-girlfriend's clothes out of the closet. The unfolding romance between Harper and Jennie Blake is predictable, but doesn't take center stage. I liken it to an episode of the Rockford Files or Magnum P.I. where the romance exists only as an aside to uncovering the truth.
My only challenge with the novel is that there were so many characters introduced in the first few chapters, that when they were reintroduced using physical characteristics or by wearing certain clothes, I had to go back and figure out who they were. But this only happened a couple of times and once the pivotal characters were all in place, I never wanted to put the book down.
The Devil Can Wait will draw the reader in from the first word to the last, and leave her anxiously awaiting the next book in the Sam Harper Crime Mystery series!
Title: The Devil Can Wait
Author: Marta Stephens
Publisher: BeWrite Books
U.S. Price: $15.99