Sunday, January 15, 2023

The Devil You Know - Detective Margaret Nolan #3

The Devil You Know is the third procedural mystery featuring Detective Margaret Nolan by P. J. Tracy. Due out 17th Jan 2023 by Macmillan on their Minotaur imprint, it's 304 pages and will be available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. Paperback due out 4th quarter 2023. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

This is a well engineered plot with several disparate threads entwining into a whole, including high profile Hollywood personalities and murder. All the characters seemed to be either irredeemably awful/shallow/predatory or irretrievably broken and suffering from PTSD/addiction/psychological problems (or a combination of all of the above). It makes for an often uncomfortably voyeuristic read in places.

The chapters are told in alternating third person and it's not always immediately clear which character is being written about without close attention. The prose is more intricate and flowery than is often the case with modern procedurals. It makes an interesting change from the usual. There are some content warnings, including addiction, sexual abuse (of a minor), and mentions of suicide and suicide ideation (brief mentions).

The mystery, resolution, and denouement are self contained in this volume, so it works fine as a standalone, with the codicil that there are developing relationships between the main and returning secondary characters. Readers reading the series out of order will encounter some spoilers for the earlier books. 

Four stars. It's a satisfying and well written somewhat gritty modern procedural. It's not at all derivative, but fans of Michael Connelly, Harlan Coben, and Robert Crais will find a similar feel. (Especially to Connelly's Bosch books). 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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