cover image The Devil Himself

The Devil Himself

Peter Farris. Arcade CrimeWise, $26.99 (264p) ISBN 978-1-950994-51-9

This riveting crime novel from Farris (Last Call for the Living) opens with Maya, an 18-year-old sex trafficking victim, inside the trunk of a car being driven to Georgia’s rural Trickum County by two thugs. Maya’s pimp, Lucio, has ordered her killed because she knows too much about the shady activities of a prominent politician who’s now her only client. The car stops on property Lucio owns (“swampland full of gators”), where Maya makes a failed effort to escape. Just as one of the thugs is about to shoot her, he’s hit in the head with a rifle stock. Maya’s rescuer, Leonard Moye, a reclusive former bootlegger who lives with a mannequin he treats like his absent wife, gently nurses the injured Maya back to health. Meanwhile, Lucio learns where Maya is and sends another crew after her, but Leonard easily thwarts this attempt as well. A third attempt to get Maya raises the stakes. Eventually, a Trickum County deputy sheriff, suspicious about what’s been going on at Leonard’s place, gets involved. Narrow escapes, violent encounters, and deep Southern culture shape this into an exciting tale. Noir fans will be well satisfied. Agent: Mark Falkin, Falkin Literary. (May)