Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Review for "The Devil Can Wait"

Memo to: Lou Holloway, Captain, Chandler Police Department

From: Sam Harper, Homicide

Subject: Latest report on our case, "The Devil Can Wait."

Lou, just received the following report written by officer A. F. Stewart from Internal Affairs. Looks like we're in the clear. Thought you'd want to see it ASAP.

* * *

I was impressed by Marta Stephens’ first novel Silenced Cry, and was looking forward to her next book. I was not disappointed, finding The Devil Can Wait even more enjoyable. Again, as with her first book, I was drawn in by the realistic character interplay, especially the portrayal of the often frustrating work of a homicide detective.

The book begins in the middle of a messy crime spree, with the discovery of the latest teenage body in a string of possibly related murders. Short-handed and overworked, Sam Harper and his partner have no leads and a workload of aggravation. Throw in several more strange murders, a homicidal Colombian, a cursed ring that could bring the apocalypse, an attractive, vibrant reporter slated to become a damsel in distress, and Sam Harper is up against the clock to save lives by solving the case.

“He didn’t need one of Jack’s lectures on viable evidence. Not now. What he wanted was a neon sign pointing straight to the killer. As it was, there were as many possibilities for how that tiny bruise got on the boy’s finger as there were reasons to keep digging for answers.”

Marta Stephens does an admirable job of blending a solid crime mystery with an exotic supernatural touch and the undertone of religious beliefs. She never veers into the outrageous or unbelievable, but still manages to keep that small air of “what if”, integrating it all into a fabulous whole.

“The urgency that prodded him two minutes ago was suddenly gone. It’s nothing but hogwash, he told himself. A wives’ tale told to scare the shit out of weak men and innocent children.”

I am fast becoming a rabid fan of Ms. Stephens, appreciating her reliable plot work and her memorable characters. Her superb protagonist, Sam Harper, is a genuine, somewhat imperfect, thoroughly human personality. From his dedication to the job to his rather messy personal life, it is this character that breathes vivid life into the pages of her books.A definite recommend for all fans of crime/mystery fiction.


  1. Marta, I love how this reads like a police report. Even though this is out of my comfort zone (I'm a girlie girl romance novel type), I appreciate the unique quality of the writing technique. It makes me want to step out of my comfort zone a little further and read this book. Officer A. F. Stewart did a fine job of summarizing your book.

  2. Margay, you're new around here. Glad you stopped by--welcome.

    Stephens grabbed her car keys and ran out of here mumbling something about being out of coffee again--writers!

    Anyway, didn't want to keep you waiting. Oh, don't worry, she's used to me reading her e-mails. Besides, this is my blog and she promised to stay out of the way.

    So, in response, yeah, sometimes getting "... out of the comfort zone" is what gets you there. Sometimes it even turns the tides.

    Catch you later,

  3. Sam,

    Nice to know you are in the clear! Keep up the good case work! I look forward to following your journey! Great report.

  4. Thanks Moira. Appreciate your support—I’ll tell the others in my unit.

    None of us breathe easy until Internal Affairs comes through with their reports. You know how it goes, one wrong move and they'll nail you. Then again, a good report is as satisfying as an ice cold beer in mid July.

  5. Wow, great report. This novel sounds like a wonderful read. I'd love to review it.

  6. Sounds like this person knew what they were talking about. a good review for a good book.

  7. Hey Sam,

    Looks like you picked up another fan. Tell that Marta woman she better keep finding new adventures for you.

    When you get a free moment, I would love to sit down for a chat.


  8. Mayra, yeah, it was an interesting case all right. At least one good thing came of it, but it's personal. Now that the case is closed, the information is public record. Just let me know if you want to scan the pages.

    Jo Ann, sounds like you're familiar with it. Are you?

    Cheryl, it's a good thing I opened this e-mail instead of Stephens. Man, she gets touchy about my cases--worries that I'll get fed up and leave if she doesn't assign the tough one to me. Give—me—a—break.

    Now, about that chat ... for you, I'm always available, you know that. Give me a call. I'm in the book.


  9. Sam, it's a good thing Jennie is so trusting. Sounds like you've got a lot of female 'fans.' You need a strong relationship with a strong woman like Jennie to be able to handle this! ;o)