Title: The Devil’s Safe
Author: M.J. Holt
Genre: Thriller / Suspense
Stella Fargo has recently moved back to her hometown of Seattle, Washington. Following a toxic and heart-wrenching breakup, she’s ready for a fresh start. Unable to find an apartment on short notice that is close to her college campus, she agrees to house-sit for Kit, her best friend from her childhood. Kit’s husband, Augie, is a known drug dealer who was murdered a few weeks before Stella arrived in Seattle, and after attending his funeral, Stella takes the offer to move into Kit’s house free of charge.
On night one, there’s a violent break-in. On night two, she finds herself interrogated by the police who believe she’s hiding millions in drugs that disappeared during Augie’s last deal. Sooner than she ever believed possible, she’s engrossed in a dangerous game of drugs and thugs, and she doesn’t know who she can trust. Her only option is to put her faith in the mysterious man who suddenly reappears from Augie’s past and jump headfirst into finding answers, no matter the cost.
The Devil’s Safe, by M.J. Holt, is a page-turning thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seat from cover to cover. Stella has a shocking amount of bad luck. An innocent agreement to house-sit for a friend quickly turns into a series of life-threatening events that creep into all facets of her life.
What will truly amaze readers is not just the pace at which Stella’s life crumbles around her, but also the strength of character she consistently shows throughout the book. When others would pack up their lives and give up hope, Stella plows through every obstacle and remains a well-balanced character. She spends a more than reasonable amount of time trying to get her life back to normal before biting the bullet and realizing that she needs to figure a way out of this mess herself since no one is going to do it for her. The author toys with readers’ heartstrings as Stella struggles to balance her desire to walk away with the helpless but nonetheless powerful drive to save those she loves from themselves. She remains relatable and real throughout the dramatic events of the story.
The book’s first-person narration style, utilizing short, blunt sentences, works well with Stella’s no-nonsense attitude. She relays her life in a clinical manner with little superfluous detail. Despite Stella’s straightforward and clear narration, some of the dialogue was hard to follow, at times, as it didn’t contain many details to help readers understand context via body language or facial expressions. Readers could find themselves lost during some of Stella’s conversations, specifically during the first third of the book. However, the author balances this by filling in the gaps later on in the story.
Egan is an interesting character who is bonded to Stella by mutual acquaintances and sheer bad luck. Having just been released from jail following a drug bust he claims was a setup, Egan seems far too connected with the seedy, drug-fueled underbelly of Seattle. She struggles with who she can trust. The tension created by her continued reliance on Egan for her personal safety will have readers questioning not just Egan’s intentions, but the security of Stella’s future.
There was never a dull moment in The Devil’s Safe. The terrifyingly quick timeframe in which Stella goes from good Samaritan to prime suspect in a drug trafficking ring will leave readers reeling. M. J. Holt combines a fast-paced plot, engaging and dynamic characters, and breathless suspense to delight readers of thrillers and mysteries alike.
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