Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Review of THE DEVIL CAN WAIT on Midwest Book Review

The Devil Can Wait (Sam Harper Mysteries)
Marta Stephens
BeWrite Books (UK)
ISBN 9781905202867

Reviewed by Thomas Fortenberry for Midwest Book Review.

The latest Sam Harper mystery may leave the devil waiting, but not the readers. This gritty mystery series lies at the crossroads of crime and thrillers, both 87th Precinct and Davinci Code. Bodies of teenagers are washing ashore in an apocalypse of murder and intrigue spanning the dark dangerous world, from Vatican to Colombia to Harper’s hometown of Chandler, Mass. Drugs to ancient religious secrets to serial killers, this book has it all.

But the book’s unrelenting drama isn’t what captures me. It is the character Sam Harper and author Stephens. She writes with a forensic authority that makes these pages bleed with real world angst. Detective Harper is a well-realized, no-nonsense cop, a streetwise guy who refuses to give up despite the odds. When the going gets rough, everyone else has given up, an easy option looms, and the race becomes overwhelming, Harper is just getting started. He is the original it ain’t over guy. He literally pushes himself beyond physical collapse to solve crimes. He refuses to let any criminal escape on his watch.

The Devil Can Wait is a good mystery. Sam Harper is a better cop. I can’t wait to follow his next career move.