The Devil You Know
by P. J. Tracy
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Pub Date 17 Jan 2023 | Archive Date 31 Jan 2023
St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books
Darkness is nothing new to LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan, but in P.J. Tracy’s The Devil You Know, even she isn’t prepared for the scandalous deception of deadly proportions that shakes the very foundation of Hollywood and its untouchables…and leaves her entangled in its rotten core.
Los Angeles has many faces: the real LA where regular people live and work, the degenerate underbelly of any big city, and the rarefied world of wealth, power, and celebrity. LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan’s latest case plunges her into this insular realm of privilege, and gives her a glimpse of the decay behind the glitter.
Beloved actor Evan Hobbes is found in the rubble of a Malibu rockslide, a day after a fake video ruins his career. It’s not clear to Nolan if it’s an accident, a suicide, or a murder, and things get murkier as the investigation expands to his luminary friends and colleagues. Meanwhile, Hobbes’s agent is dealing with damage control, his psychotic boss, and a woman he’s scorned.
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Average rating from 113 members
This ARC was provided to me via Kindle, from St. Martin’s Press and #NetGalley. Thank you for the opportunity to preview and review. Opinions expressed are completely my own.
Perfectly balanced, well-paced and a strong plot.
This book, The Devil You Know, continues the series with Maggie Nolan, Detective in Los Angeles, and Sam, the PTSD former soldier, he's not in this book much, this time. But Maggie has a case, or two, or three, that all seem linked and affect Hollywood greatly. One of their adored actors died in an earthquake, but was he alive or dead before that happened? Murder or accident? Maggie has to find out, then more bodies appear. Very good book, love the characters and highly recommend this book.
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books for the copy of The Devil You Know. This is the third book I have read in the Nolan series. I love the writing style, but Nolan is not really an interesting character to me so the book was difficult to get into. If you enjoy stories of Hollywood and stars you will probably enjoy this book because the story was well thought out. I’m sorry it just wasn’t for me.
Still writing as PJ Tracy, the Maggie Nolan series is written entirely by Traci Lambrecht and is a worthy companion to the co-authored Monkeewrench series. This third book is mainly Maggie's story as Sam only makes a couple of cameos, but his absence doesn't diminish the book (and based on the ending, it's possible that he will have a bigger role in future installments). A good read that spans police procedural and Hollywood satire. If you like the Monkeewrench novels, you must pick up this!
Thanks to St Martin's Press for access to a digital ARC on NetGalley.
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books for the opportunity to read The Devil You Know, the third book in the Nolan series. Very enjoyable read, and recommended.
My first time reading this book from P.J. Tracy. I usually like Mystery & thrillers so this story is perfect for that. Kept me suspense and thrilling actions throughout the end. It was slow paced and well written. I'd recommend it for those who loves Mystery and suspense in Hollywood.
Enjoy this series so much. Maggie Nolan and her comrades are interesting and buried under so much human deceit and violence. Behind the veil of entertainment evil prevails. This is an excellent addition to the series. I hope that there is some redemptive happiness for these troubled individuals in future books.
The Devil You Know is the third book in the Detective Margaret Nolan series by P.J. Tracy. I have not read the first two books in this series and I do not think that it is necessary. That being said, I am intrigued enough with the characters to go back and read the first 2. I would suggest you read these first as you would get some of the backstory that I was missing. Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC of this book.
Maggie Nolan is a detective for the LAPD. She is used to all its residents from the rich and powerful to the destitute and homeless. In this particular case, they delve into the life of the movie stars, but it is not all glitter and gold. It is a world of drugs, alcohol, psychotic bosses, cheating spouses, deranged ex-girlfriends, and pedophiles.
After a large, lavish party, a popular actor is found dead.
Hundreds of people attended the party, giving her lots of suspects, but where to begin. Who is telling the truth, and who is a great actor.
P.J. Tracy is a talented mother/daughter team of story tellers. The characters are well developed and have interesting story-lines. This is a fast-paced novel with many twists and turns. I highly recommend it.
Review of Uncorrected Digital Galley
One day after a deepfake video destroys the career of a beloved actor, his body is discovered in the rubble of a Malibu rockslide following an earthquake. Was Evan Hobbes’s death an accident? Suicide? Murder?
Who was responsible for the fake video? Was it a factor in Evan’s death?
As Detective Margaret Nolan and her partner, Al Crawford, delve into the mystery of the actor’s death, they find the glitz and glamor of Hollywood tarnished by rudeness, vile acts, reprehensible actions, and outlandish behavior. With hundreds of people having attended the party at which Hobbes met his death, there is no shortage of suspects.
A second death, that of a studio executive for whom Hobbes had worked, raises even more questions for the detectives and soon it becomes a race to find the killer before there is another victim.
Although this is the third book in the Detective Margaret Nolan series, it works well as a standalone.
Well-drawn characters, a strong sense of place, and a twisty plot keep the pages turning in this compelling tale. Short chapters keep the action moving at a brisk pace. A separate story thread, running through each of the books in this series, deals with PTSD and grief at the loss of a family member and gives the characters added depth and believability.
Lingering questions and unexpected events keep readers the unfolding story provides readers with intriguing character insights.
Surprising revelations and plot twists lead to a denouement readers simply won’t see coming.
Thanks to Netgalley and Minotaur Books for the free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I did not realize that this was book #3 in a series for LAPD Homicide Detective Margaret Nolan when I read this, and I don't think you have to read the prior books to understand what is going on but it may help.
In this case, Margaret Nolan, aka Maggie and her partner are investigating the death of Evan Hobbes, a famous Disney star, who has just been the victim of a "deep fake" where he is accused of possessing child pornogrophy. It is discovered that Evan's claims of innocence in the child pornography but its too late. Was Evan murdered or was it really a suicide? Next, a Disney exec that closely worked with Evan is murdered. Now Maggie and her partner are off to investigate who killed Evan and why.
My only complaint with this book is the lack of character development and extra characters thrown in that do not add to the story. Granted this is set in LA in the "Hollywood" film industry but there seems to be myriad of interconnected characters who are cheating, sleezy, greedy agents and possible murderers who are loudly in the background adding no value. Maybe I would feel differently about this is I had read the 2 prior books but I am not convinced of that.
This is a fun quick read that I do recommend. 3.5 stars rounded up!
Overall this was a good book with an interesting, twisty plot. It's the third in a series (which I haven't read) and there were obvious references to the previous books, but it also worked well as a stand alone.
One thing about the book that bothered me was that Sam and Melody were characters from the other books who didn't really belong in this one. Their story line had nothing to do with this book.
Also, at times I felt like I was reading a thesaurus, or needed one. There were flowery word choices throughout that seemed stilted. Words that average people don't use in conversation.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
The Devil You Know is a ride through the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. It then takes you to the dark deep secrets and evil that resides below the surface.
An actor, Evan Hobbes, is found dead in mudslide, the day after a tape was released showing him molesting a child. He swears it is doctored and untrue. So is his death an accident or a murder? LAPD detective Margaret Nolan is assigned the case. With glamorous folks living with the height of privilege it is very hard to follow the threads.
The Hobbes' agent - a man who enjoys this own level of privilege becomes involved after dealing with some nasty folks that were involved in the actor's life. He ends up joining forces with Nolan to solve this mystery.
There is a subplot when Sam, a friend of Nolan's, receives an old letter that leads him to do some sleuthing.
The characters are fun - some so slimy they are true slugs. The integrity of Nolan, the story of her friend, the writing that is so engaging - all make for a terrific read.
A mystery full of scandal and Hollywood glamour confronts Detective Margaret Nolan in her third outing.
The career of Ethan Hobbes, former teen heartthrob and popular actor, is on the verge of destruction. A salacious video of Ethan with an underaged sex partner has been released, and the public is outraged. He swears its a deepfake, and while people like his agent Seth believe him, others don’t….including Seth’s boss, who wants Ethan cut loose immediately. The situation is resolved when, the morning after an A-list party at the home of a Disney head, Ethan’s body is discover amidst the rubble of a rockslide in Malibu. As Detective Nolan begins the investigation, it seems like it might have been a drunken misadventure….but then another body turns up. And another. All are from the highest levels of Hollywood influence, and so are the suspects. When you are investigating people who have risen to the top of the world of make-believe, it is almost impossible to know who can be believed. Nolan is going to need all the help she can get to find out who is behind this string of murders, and to prevent the body count from climbing.
From an author best know for the Monkeewrench series, this is a well-crafted mystery full of plot turns and a fascinating web of characters. You don’t need to have read the first two installments in the series in order to enjoy this one (I hadn’t, though I intend to rectify that). There are several characters who play a supporting role here that were introduced in the earlier works, but not knowing their full backstory doesn’t impede the reading of this one. P J Tracy has always presented well-developed characters and chronicled their relationships within the context of each novel, and the same is true here. I recommend The Devil You Know not just to fans of the Monkeewrench and Nolan series, but to lovers of a well-plotted whodunnit full of complex characters and to those fascinated by the lives and woes of the rich and famous. Many thanks to Sara Beth Haring of St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for letting me get a sneak peak at The Devil You Know
This is the third novel in the Detective Margaret Nolan series. A bizarre accident or murder takes place and Detective Nolan and her partner have to determine if this was an accident or a murder or possibly even a suicide. Many suspects, minimal evidence.
This case is tied in with a double murder case in another city and so they are sharing information as yet another murder takes place and all the parties are tied together.
I enjoyed the investigation and was a little surprised at who was involved. There was a side story with Sam and Melody who were in the previous books, but it was so separate they could have easily not been there. I was also stuck with wondering about a police officer who kept and then later turned in a diamond earring found at a crime scene. No idea why that was included. Maybe all these things will tie up in another story.
I have read all P.J. Tracy books and I am glad they are still coming out.
Thank you Minotaur Books and NetGalley for this early read!
Excellent mystery. You won’t figure out who did it and why until the end of the book. My kind of murder mystery. Lots of good guys and bad guys in this one Hope the series continues b
The writing is wonderful - Tracy really knows how to flesh out a scene and make it real enough to taste. The characters are very well drawn, as well. This wasn't my favorite in her series; it just never grabbed me. Still, any PJ Tracy is a good read.
This one has several related murders: a questionable 'fall' (or was it just a fall in the fog?) and two more victims, both with gun wounds, and clearly homicide. She manages to flip back and forth among the cases, the people involved, and some personal issues as well.
All in all, I love her writing and will follow her anywhere.
I received a complimentary copy of The Devil You Know by P.J Tracy in exchange for my honest review.
LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan, aka Maggie, is investigating the case of a body found in the rubble the day after a huge A-list party, in the aftermath of an earthquake in Malibu. The body is that of an up and coming, heart throb, actor Evan Hobbes. The day before his death, a career crippling, salacious, video was released showing Evan involved in sexual activity with a minor. Evan insisted it was a "deep fake" video, that it was a complete fabrication, but the public is outraged. Was Evans death an accident? Suicide? Murder? Shortly after Evans death, his boss is found dead, then another body is found. Can Maggie figure out what is really going on before the body count rises even higher?
The ugly side of Hollywood is brought to light, the greed, privilege, deceit, and complete lack of moral consciousness is just the beginning of what Maggie has to wade through as she searches for answers.
I did enjoy this book, and would recommend it, however, the author used so many words to describe situations that the general public just simply does not use. I found the writing style to be cumbersome and wordy.
The Devil You Know by P J Tracy is the third book in the Maggie Nolan series. I have read all of them and this one was particularly good. This book written entirely by Traci, part of the mother/daughter team... I really loved their Monkeywrench series. After her mother passed away Traci continued to write. This one I can tell she has hit her stride. The writing was smooth and the twisting story believable. I thought I knew who did what but then…. There is another character Sam but is not featured much in this story. But reading the end I am sure he will feature prominently in the next book.
I recommend this book highly. I did enjoy the first two – which will help my enjoyment of this one
I love a good mystery/thriller and this one didn’t disappoint. The characters were interesting and connect with the reader. The story was exciting kept you interested. It was a great read, I highly recommend it.
Evan Hobbes, beloved Disney actor, has been caught in an Internet scandal with a deep fake, purporting to show him in a sexual encounter with a child. His agent, Seth Lehman, is dealing with it, along with his psychotic boss and a woman he scorned weeks ago. Hobbes ends up dead at the foot of a cliff slide along the Malibu shore; he was attending a party and fell (or was he helped over the edge?). Lehman's sister, Essie Baum, was the hostess at the party. She is dealing with a cheating husband, and her own kleptomania. Daphna Love, Lehman's new girlfriend, is trying to recover from being abused as a young Disney star. Bodies begin to pile up and Margaret Nolan and her partner, Al Crawford, investigate. Maggie and her friend, Sam Easton, are both damaged goods, but they help each other survive. Third in Tracy's new series, which is getting better with each book.
Detective Nolan and her partner are sent to a crime scene of Hollywood’s beloved actor Evan Hobbes. They have to determine if Hobbes died by accident, suicide or murder., I had a hard time following this book it seemed disjointed, too many characters introduced with out a backstory. Just not my favorite book of this Author’s. Looking forward to another book in the Monkeewrench series.
Maggie Nolan and her partner, LAPD Homicide Detectives, are called in when the remains of a prestigious Hollywood star are found in a landslide in Malibu. Their investigation takes them to the heights of Hollywood and to the depths of depravity. The story is told through many voices and sometimes felt convoluted to me but always kept me involved as a reader. Thanks to Net Galley and Minotaur Books for an ARC for an honest review.
The Devil You Know by P. J. Tracy is book 3 in the Detective Margaret Nolan Series.
Talk about being a compelling story.
I already jumped on my Kindle Store to save book one and two.
TDYK was enthralling and exciting. Tracy does an exquisite job of keeping the reader engaged and wanting more.
I personally thought it was uch a great read with real characters. The story keeps you glued to the pages. With many twists and turns. Plenty of action and tension to keep you wanting to find out what happens. The characters are well crafted and engaging.
I thought Nolan was a well rounded Detective who held my attention and she had hooked throughout.
I did absolutely nothing today other than read to finish this book.
Crime novels are one of my most favorites and IMO this author created an interesting story here.
A superbly crafted crime procedural and mystery.
I hate starting a series without reading the ones before.
So I'm most definitely buying one and two now because I need to know more about these characters.
"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."
Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this eARC!
Great mystery! This author has a flowery style of writing that accentuates every thought and every event. Every action has a deep meaning to it and yet I was still surprised at the end. I'm going to have to visit some of these scenic spots!
Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC of The Devil You know.
This was my first book in the Nolan series so I might have been missing something there.
It was well written, but the main character was not someone I could identify with nor someone I could root for. There was just too much darkness in the plot for me, but I’m sure it will appeal to many others.
Best wishes to the author in her new career-life as a “single” author as her literary partner and mother has died.
"The Devil You Know" was a good book. The reader will benefit from having read the earlier books in the Detective Margaret Nolan Series. The author introduces a whole bunch of characters very quickly and it is obvious there are connections and past history among numerous characters, but it is somewhat difficult to keep everyone straight and figure out how everyone is connected. The story revolves around the deaths of an actor (Evan Hobbes) with a wholesome image who may not be so wholesome (a video has surfaced that is either a great deepfake or reveals Evan to be preying on young girls) and a movie executive (David Baum) who also has significant skeletons in his closet. There are multiple plausible suspects in Evan's demise, and these individuals are obnoxious and loathsome. There are also convoluted connections among numerous characters that are fitting for a Hollywood drama. The story has plenty of surprising twists, especially the killer(s).
I received a copy of the e-book via NetGalley in exchange for a review.
I received this book as an ARC. The beginning was a little slow, but that may be due to it being third in the series and I have read the others. I liked the characters. A few chapters in I was hooked and wanted to continue reading even when I should have been sleeping. Very engaging. The ending was a little abrupt and it seemed like it could have been more developed. I’m not sure if that is due to this being a series or not. I would definitely recommend this to a friend.
This is the third novel in this mystery/crime series. I loved the fact that the lead character is a strong female detective. Margaret Nolan has the murder of a famous actor to solve and unfortunately the body count grows. The novel had a lot of characters and at times I did have some trouble following who was who. However I think this was due to the fact that I had not read the first two books in the series. I did enjoy this novel especially the ending so I definitely want to go back and read the previous two.
This novel is set in LA and it was an interesting look into the world of the rich and famous. The mystery will keep you guessing and I definitely did not see that ending coming. I recommend this novel for anyone who likes mystery or crime novels.
Thank you to Minotaur Books and St. Martin's Press for this advanced copy.
The Devil You Know is a series of convoluted murder mysteries. The characters: police, suspects, victims and all are flawed humans. PJ Tracy does write well, and she does love adjectives. The novel reads like a Jackie Collins story, and considering her success, that isn’t a bad thing.
The Devil You Know is an intricately woven mystery with a series of murders that conveniently appear just as the detectives collect enough evidence for an intriguing case for the prior murder making everything more complicated. As the twists and turns progress, P. J. Tracy keeps the suspense building until the ultimate surprise at the finale. Great book.
While I enjoyed the overall premise and mystery, I felt like something was missing…maybe it’s that I haven’t read the previous books or the other series that this is connected to. But I enjoyed the book so much that I will be reading the others so that I am caught up and fill any voids I seem to have missed.
That said, it was a good mystery and I really like Maggie. Strong female protagonists are always a wonderful thing! Fast paced and full of page turning script.
I really enjoyed this book. I received an opportunity to receive an ARC of this book for an honest review. My opinion of this book was in no way influenced by that. I believe that this is the first book that I have read by this author. This book just goes to show that you never really know what is going on in someone’s life, even if they are Hollywood stars or agents. Did not expect the end of the book to be what it was, but you never know. Would recommend this book.
This book just kept getting better and better as I got deeper into this book. I found myself reading faster so I could find out whodunnit. Such great characters that kept me guessing .
A clever, gripping thriller with lots of twists and a fun detective to root for. Maggie Nolan is a detective for the LAPD who’s used to working cases for not only the rich and glitzy actors, but the homeless and destitute. When the body of a popular actor is found dead after an earthquake, she needs to find out if he was alive or dead before But then, more bodies start appearing. Wonderfully twisty and fast-paced.
I’m a huge PJ Tracy fan and was super excited to get an ARC of her newest release from NetGalley.
In this third volume of the Maggie Nolan series, I feel the characters starting to be well-fleshed out. The tone and feel of this series is edgier than the Monkeewrench series, and I can sense Tracy finding her individual style after writing so many books in partnership with her mother. I like the reinvention a lot.
This series is set in the LA region and adds a fresh spin to other series set there. If you’ve been a fan of Jonathan Kellerman, for example, I think you’ll enjoy delving into Maggie Nolan’s world. Mystery fans who love the backstories as much as the mystery will also find this series fun to follow. I’m now seriously attached to each character’s well being and will snarf up every volume to come.
Do not read this book out of sequence with the prior two; they are meant to be read in order and the personal stories will fall flat if you haven’t become acquainted with each character’s personal struggles. There are also unavoidable spoilers that would ruin the reading experience of the first two books.
As a mystery, this volume works well. It’s a more traditional police procedural, well plotted, with good twists and turns. I figured out the ending a bit a head of time, but that in no way detracted from my enjoyment.
If you are already a fan of this series, I predict you will enjoy this addition. If you haven’t started the Nolan series yet, go back to the first and be excited that you have three books to binge through. Now I have to wait a year or so for the next update. Boo hoo.
This is the third in the Detective Margaret Nolan series and my first in the series. I enjoyed the mystery novel and if this is your genre I believe you'd enjoy it. I have to like the main character and Margaret is a strong likeable female detective. An actor is found dead on the rocks after having his career ruined by a fake video. Margaret has to decide if it is an accident, suicide or murder.....I enjoyed it enough that I plan on reading the first two books, I wasn't 'lost' but if you haven't read the first two, read them, I plan to. Thank you to NetGalley and Minotaur books for the ARC....and especially thank you to P.J. Tracy.
This is number 3 in the Detective Maggie Nolan series and my first to read, and even though I picked it up fairly quickly, I do feel like I would have gained insight into the characters/history by starting at the beginning.
Maggie and her partner Al look into not one but FOUR murders within three days of the rich and powerful in the entertainment business in LA. Are they related? And if so, are there accomplices? Is there just one motive for all four deaths or multiple ones?
There are sordid secrets/misdeeds, backstabbing and surprises here. My only distraction was switching back and forth between multiple characters (mains and second-tier) with most chapters…it was a bit disorienting and interrupted the flow at times. Otherwise, it was absorbing and humorous too, and I enjoyed the read enough that I’d like to go back to the beginning of the series.
My thanks to the author, NetGalley and Minotaur Books for providing the free early arc of The Devil You Know for review. The opinions are strictly my own.
Having not read the previous books, some of the characters seemed superfluous without any added value to the plot. It was a bit slow going in the beginning because of all the characters, and trying to figure out if they were critical to the plot or not.
There were a couple sentences that were missing a word but otherwise the book kept me engaged enough to read it in one sitting. The outcome was a surprise to me.
I would continue to read the series just to see the personal development of the main character.
Another complete winner by one of my favorite author duos....
Smart, complex, and layered, this is a great story with intriguing and well-written characters.
This is 3rd in the Nolan series but can 100% stand alone.
Thank you to the publisher for gifting e a copy. It is my pleasure to write an honest review.
Quite complex mystery, story line was somewhat contrived. It was a pleasure to read, a light read, for the 'read in bed' group. it was interesting, but didn't keep me awake.
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books for the opportunity to read and review a pre-publication copy of <i>The Devil You Know</i> by P.J. Tracy. This is the third book in the Detective Nolan series. I had not read the previous two. Even so, it worked well as a stand-alone mystery. The characters were well developed and relatable despite the Hollywood setting.
The mystery begins as a well-loved actor is found dead in a landslide. Was it an accident, or was he murdered before ending up in the rubble? It is up to Detective Margaret Nolan to discover what happened. Her investigation becomes more involved as more and more bodies show up.
This was an enjoyable read. I recommend it to mystery lovers in general and to readers of Hollywood noir in particular.
law-enforcement, veterans, PTSD, murder-investigation, crime-fiction, thriller, noir, family-dynamics, friendship, triggers, procedural, suspense, toxic-people, multiple-murder, psychological, lies, LAPD ****
A dive into the harsh realities of those traumatized by extraordinary circumstances. A gritty story with emotionally fragile, often suicidal protagonists working The Job one day at a time. One at a time, no less than four loosely connected deaths come under the LAPD scrutiny of Detective Margaret Nolan. The investigations are messy, as only Hollywood can make things messy. I good but exhausting read.
I requested and received an EARC from St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books via NetGalley. Thank you.
When the perfectly polished veneer of fame and fortune is stripped away, what remains often fall tragically short of glamour. Author P.J. Tracy explores Hollywood’s decadence and excess as the backdrop of a series of murders stemming from the worst of human nature as Detective Maggie Nolan returns in this third installment as the hard as nails Los Angeles homicide detective in the suspense thriller “The Devil You Know.”
Battlelines are drawn and loyalties are tested when a salacious video of a Disney superstar with an underage actor hits the internet. Swearing he’s the victim of a deepfake as the public, the industry, and even his agency questions his innocence, Evan Hobbes is found murdered outside of a party of Hollywood elites. Rich and powerful suspects abound, but clues are few and far between. Within days, three additional murders are tentatively linked to the Hobbes murder and Detective Maggie Nolan and her partner must wade through the dregs of humanity disguised by fame and fortune to find justice for a man who may have gotten exactly what he deserved. All the wealth and fame in the world aren’t enough to hide the truth that monsters roam among us in “The Devil You Know.”
P.J. Tracy created a wonderfully dynamic and engaging cast of characters with 2021’s “Deep into the Dark” and 2022’s “Desolation Canyon.” The characters return once again, and the characterization of the protagonists remains one of the strongest elements of the novel. Detective Margaret Nolan and her partner Detective Al Crawford return as LA homicide detectives balancing intense investigations with empathy and relationships that feels genuine and thoroughly developed. Both detectives clearly care about the work they do and are a far cry from the cynical, burned-out detectives that often populate the genre. Sadly, two of the series most engaging characters, Sam Easton and Melody Traeger, are largely under-utilized in this installment. While they make appearances and contributions to the plot, their character evolutions seem to largely lay the groundwork for a future installment featuring both characters. Detective Jenny Wyler of the Santa Barbara PD is also likeable and a dedicated detective but adds little to the plot. The standout characters remain Maggie Nolan and Al Crawford with the remaining cast serving as little more than accent pieces to service minor subplots.
A distinctly mysterious tone rings throughout the narrative as the plot gets increasing more complex with each chapter. New victims, suspects, and investigations arise throughout the narrative and add to the intrigue inherent to the subject matter. Evocative descriptions of characters and settings support the mysterious tone throughout by adding texture and nuance to a very complicated string of investigations.
The themes of technology and the darker side of fame are explored in great depth. Technology from a social media standpoint and the contemporary advent of “deepfakes” serve as anchors for the plot. The unfortunate global trend of the vast majority of society living their lives fully immersed in electronic devices result in a phenomenon where everyone feels as though they truly know the personalities they “follow” on social media. By providing the entire world a vantage point into our lives, even if that vantage point is wholly manufactured and manipulative, a deeper sense of familiarity is resulting in unrealistic expectations, both elevated and diminished, of those we allow into our spheres of influence. As an extension of the pseudo-intimacy garnered through social media, an obsession with fame has grown uncontrollably over the past several decades. Through social media and entertainment outlets, the lives of the rich and famous are on full display to the world, and not always for the right reasons. These windows into the lives of the rich and famous, once again result in expectations that are in no way commensurate with reality. P.J. Tracy does an amazing job of exploring these deeply relevant themes from the perspective of a homicide detective and the victims and suspects involved in her investigation.
As with previous entries in the Nolan series, there are troublesome story elements that prevent a fully immersive reading experience. Several murder investigations are being led by different investigators and the result is a somewhat muddled composition as a whole. While each investigation has tangential connections to the others, a sense of narrative cohesion is never achieved, and certain lines of investigation are never fully resolved. The inherent covenant between writer and reader is somewhat neglected as certain plot points remain unresolved and a level of satisfaction that might have otherwise resulted is never fully realized.
The story is told from several 3rd person POV characters, and similar to previous entries the head-hopping effect felt early in the story results in a jarring narrative flow. While most of the POV characters are lead protagonists, some are very minor characters whose perspective lends little more than confusion in the sense that certain characters feel more important that they truly are. The narrative eventually gains enough traction to support the literary weight of multiple POV characters and the intrigue created through the many POV characters adds to the mysterious tone of the narrative.
As a fan of earlier entries in the Nolan series, I am once again a fan of the 3rd entry. The plot in engaging and the characters are compelling. While there are weak points that I feel burden the overall enjoyment of the story, I am hopeful that certain unanswered questions and underutilization of important characters will be resolved in future installments. Fans of the series will enjoy this newest entry, and fans of character-driven suspense thrillers will thoroughly enjoy P.J. Tracy’s latest entry “The Devil You Know.”.
I really liked this novel, despite not being a big fan of police procedurals. I used to read P. J. Tracy all the time when P. J. And Tracy Lambrecht, the mother daughter author team wrote about the Monkeewrench Gang, an operation of computer geeks in Minneapolis that used their talents to solve crimes. After P. J. died, Tracy changed the setting and style and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to like the new series. I chose to read an ARC of this, the third Detective Margaret Nolan offering, based solely on my good experience with the Monkeewrench series.
I read The Devil You Know in essentially one week (fast, for me) while on vacation. I was cruising from San Diego to San Francisco. Santa Barbara, one of our stops, was also one of the settings of the book. The context of the book is basically a look at Hollywood insiders and the strange things that keep them together and apart.
It might have been helpful to have read the first two offerings in this series, but it certainly was not a necessity. The characters are well developed. But I think I will go back and read volumes one and two based on my positive reaction to this one. To that end, I have already backed up and purchased the first of the series.
It seems to me that there is a lot of room for this series to go on at least as long as Monkeewrench did. Margaret (Maggie) Nolan and her partner Al are smart and dedicated L. A. cops. There are lots of other ancillary characters, including a vet with PTSD, an F.B.I. computer geek named Darcy, and a singer with a need for a fresh start.
I haven’t told you much about the plot, but needless to say, murders abound. Deepfakes and the Dark Net raise their ugly heads. But there is also tenderness and reunion at some points. I’m looking forward to learning more about the mysterious Remy, Nolan’s love interest. In fact, I’m rather glad that P. J. Tracy is back on my radar screen.
I received a complimentary electronic copy of this Detective Margaret Nolan, #3 of the series, from Netgalley, the author P. J. Tracy, and at the invitation of publisher Minotaur Books. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read The Devil You Know of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. I am happy to recommend P. J. Tracy to friends and family. She writes an excellent police procedural and paints exceptional mental pictures with her prose.
I am so pleased to have found Ms. Tracy. Our story flows occasionally back to 1864 in Lancaster, Pa. for the Easton family history, but for the most part, we are in the present day in Southern California. Los Angeles Homicide Detective Margaret Nolan and her partner Al Crawford battle their way through L.A. traffic and up and down to coastal towns via Pacific Coast Highway. When Malibu calls them in to investigate the death of Hollywood heart-throb Evan Hobbes, whose body was found on a section of a cliff face that separated and fell down onto State Highway 1 (PCH) during the earthquake. Traffic is backed up on the one-lane highway for miles in both directions. they aren't sure if the Malibu local police didn't want to handle such a high-profile case or just didn't want to crawl down the 200-foot unsteady cliff face to investigate and retrieve the body. If it was murder, there are a lot of potential suspects - the actor had recently been outed on social media with an accompanying film as a purveyor of kiddie porn and sexual abuse. Rumor has it the film is a deepfake though that has not yet been explored. Or it's possible he was just in the wrong place, the wrong time. There had been a party at the top of the cliff the night of the earthquake, and the victim smelled strongly of alcohol. But before the coroner can determine whether Hobbes's death was a homicide, suicide, or accident, more bodies are found.
The Devil You know by PJ Tracy tells the story of LAPD Detective Maggie Nolan. An accident, suicide, or murder of a well known star occurs in the area. This is the first time I have read this author. I’m guessing there is a history with the characters from prior novels. It was a bit difficult to follow the characters and story line. It did come together and the main plot was really good. It kept me reading. I would recommend this novel. Thank you to NetGalley for letting me review this book.
This books was really full of twists and turns that I often didn’t see coming. The characters were broken into two categories: the law enforcement, who were easy to like and hope for, and the rich and famous, who had seemingly no good qualities. But, the author wove them together with skill and made the story interesting. This was a quick but fun read.
Detective Margaret Nolan is sent to investigate a body found after an earthquake. This leads her uphill to a magnificent home where a large party ran into the wee hours. The body belongs to an actor who attended that party. Wading into the cesspool of lies and pretense of Hollywood's elite, Nolan and Detective Crawford find connections to the wealthy and privileged in LA, Hollywood, and Santa Barbara whose lives intersect and intertwine in shocking ways.
A lively, fast-paced police procedural, this story is told in bite-size chapters with a large cast. In truth, I had to jot a few notes to keep track. Crisp dialogue and vivid descriptions kept the story roaring along.
This book is part of the Detective Margaret Nolan Series. Since it is my first look at the series, I can say this book can be read as a standalone.
Thank you, Minotaur Books and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader's Copy. The release date for this book is January 17, 2023.
This is a great mystery about a murder very well camouflaged during a natural disaster. The first step is determining that the death is not an accident, From there, the investigation explodes to every area of Evan's (the victim) life. He is under a dark cloud for purported activity despite being well liked until the rumors started. He and his agent are surrounded by people that are manipulative and self-serving, some downright mean. When his agent Seth is also murdered, the suspect list expands to include almost everyone around them. Nolan is an excellent detective, and aligns the clues to reach a surprising ending! A wonderful whodunit!
This is a well-written, fast paced, entertaining, crime thriller. It has a likable, intelligent, strong and capable female protagonist, murder, mystery, intrigue, wit, Hollywood scandal, twists and turns, and a satisfying conclusion. This is the third entry in P.J. Tracy's Detective Margaret Nolan series, and can be read and enjoyed as a stand alone. The author's note is interesting, insightful, and truly appreciated. P.J. Tracy, St. Martin's Press, and NetGalley kindly provided me with an ARC of this novel, and this is my honest opinion.
The Devil You Know by P.J. Tracy
I received this book from Minotaur and NetGalley in exchange for a review.
It’s kind of funny that as I was reading this one, I was thinking I was gobbling it up. I didn’t even think about it being the week of Thanksgiving until I was writing this review. But I did gobble up this story. I read it in part of one day in two sittings. Probably would have read it in one sitting but I had to head to my parents’ house for Sunday dinner.
This is clearly the third or fourth book in a series. I have not read any of the others, but that did not take away from my enjoyment at all. There’s enough back story woven in to make it so it’s not necessary to have read the others. I will go back now and catch myself up but not because I need to in order to follow this plot. Only because I did enjoy this one so much that I’d like to read the others.
The story here is very Hollywood heavy and having been to Los Angeles, I enjoyed the way the author made the city a big part of the story. Even including Pink’s hot dog joint on La Brea.
The characters are well written and fully fleshed out. No one seemed one dimensional at all and that takes real talent and care. Especially with the large cast of characters in this story. All of the characters had distinct personalities and quirks.
I did figure out the whodunnits pretty swiftly, but that didn’t take away from the fact that I was scrolling through the pages eating up the dialogue and action.
The pace was well done and the author’s use of language was smart and refreshing. So many times, crime stories are not done with sophisticated language and nuance. This was different and I quite enjoyed it.
The main protagonist is a female detective and she was likable and relatable. Her relationship with her partner was amusing and they worked well together. I was happy to see the author gave both of them insight and that she allowed them to solve the case together with each giving ideas and building off what the other thought. So many times in these stories, the lead character is always the smartest person in the room and never asks for help nor bounces ideas off others. The way these two were written seems much more realistic. I enjoyed the relationship between them.
I don’t often give five stars—four is pretty much as high as I go even when I enjoy a story, but since I got so wrapped up in this one, I’m giving it a five.
LAPD homicide detective Margaret Nolan’s third outing finds entangled in in the messy public and private lives of the Hollywood elite. When an earthquake brings down part of a cliff, it also reveals a body. It is not immediately clear whether accident or murder, but actor Evan Hobbes is dead a day after a deep fake video ruined his career. Maggie and her partner have to wade through powerful agents, producers and actors who all have a stake in Hobbes career. Tracy provides plenty of bodies and possible motives that kept me reading and guessing possibilities to the end. I enjoyed the insights into Maggie’s personal life, that while necessarily brief, kept her character growing. Sam, who also featured in the previous books, is peripheral to the plot. Tracy synergistically weaves hot topics such as Me Too, deep fakes and PTSD into the storyline. Recommended.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC. All opinions expressed are my own.
So this was my first read by PJ Tracy. It is the third in the series, I didn't read the other two, but still enjoyed this book. So Disney actor, Evan, is “filmed” in a career ending, video and it goes viral, but it would appear that it’s a fake. Then before anything can be done, his dead body is found in a landslide. LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan and her partner are on the case. The more people interviewed, the more questions surface. Evidence is hard to be found and clues have them questioning the same group of people. The FBI cybercrimes finally gets involved & the rest I will leave for you to read and find out! Thank you to NetGalley for the digital advance reader copy of “The Devil You Know by P.J. Tracy and to St. Martin’s Press. These are all my own honest personal thoughts and opinions given voluntarily without compensation.
Third in the Detective Margaret Nolan series
When the body of Disney star Evan Hobbes is discovered in the rubble of a Malibu rockslide, Detective Maggie Nolan and her partner are called in to investigate. Is his death related to a deep fake video circulating revealing him to be a pedophile? As the guests at a party that Evan was last seen at are questioned, the ties between various guests raise more questions, especially when two more bodies are found. Will Maggie uncover the killer before someone else dies? A story with twists and an unexpected conclusion.
Having read many of the early Agatha Raisin mysteries, I thought that I would like to try one again. The mystery starts when a naked man from a nudist society runs in front of their Agatha's car for help. Edward has found a dead man but it was gone when they went to where he discovered it. I received a free copy of this ebook from the publisher through Netgalley. This is my honest and voluntarily given review. I didn't find this book as charming or as amusing as the earlier ones. Agatha is still man crazy, man wary, and concerned about always showing her best appearance. I did like that there was more than one mystery that her team was involved in, but it wasn't difficult to determine who the villains were. This mystery just felt a little flat for me.
I was excited to get a copy of #TheDevilYouKnow by P.J. Tracy from #NetGalley .
The book and its multiple murder mystery set in the superficial world of Hollywood is incredibly complex, with compelling characters who, because of their background, could very well not be who they seem to be.
Within the pages are sometimes profound insights on social issues such as PTSD, and on the toll some cases can take on those who solve them. The book is well-written and the mystery one that carries you, intrigued, to the ultimate conclusion.
This was the first time I'd read a book in this series and it stands well on its own. One problem I did have was the authors' tendency to use complicated and sometimes rare words throughout the book when a simpler word would do. Each time it takes the reader out of the book, trying to decide whether to look up the word, guess as to its meaning through the use of context, or ignore it entirely. Whatever decision, the reader is still slammed out of the book and the enjoyment of reading.
Some instances include the use of the word 'colloquies' instead of the simpler 'conversations', 'obviating' instead of 'removing', 'ersatz' instead of 'fake', 'gustatory' instead of 'tasty', 'susurration' instead of 'whispering', and the list goes on.
It's as though the writers are trying to seem brilliant through the use of a thesaurus, when the storyline itself speaks to their brilliance. And instead of enhancing the book with bigger words, they are detracting from it instead.
All in all, however, it is an excellent, suspenseful, and intriguing book.
At first, the characters were a little confusing, but as the story wore on they became much clearer. Very good storyline! Since this is part of a series, I am eager to go back and read the first two as well.
The main character is likeable, yet flawed. And the main character is also a strong woman which is nice to see. The plot was well organized, and I did like the different points of view through the story.
I’m excited to read more by this author
As with any series, if you jump into the middle, the main characters have already been developed and some of the subtleties of their defining moments have been played out elsewhere. Nonetheless, the heroine's character seemed familiar enough that I felt almost as if I had read one or two of the previous novels.
The first several chapters are a series of sketches in minute detail; an excellent psychological study of people you wouldn't want to know. But there is positive character development on several of the main protagonists as well.
You may well figure this one out. I didn't quite, but was left satisfied with the ending, whether or not justice was adequately served.
Works as a stand-alone as I hadn't read the previous books I followed it well. There are a lot of characters and I did stop and kept a list so as to not get confused, but saying that all the characters are needed to flesh out the full story. Twists and turns are all over the pages and it is fairly fast action, I enjoyed the main character and her partner, they worked well together and off each other to solve the mystery presented to them, along with the rest that piled on as the book continued. Well written who done it with interesting tidbits thrown in. Look forward to catching up and following further stories in this series. I received this book from Minotaur and NetGalley in exchange for a review, thank you very much enjoyed it.
I received this complimentary book from the publisher and the reviews are strictly my own opinion.
It took a me a bit to get wholly involved with the characters with the first chapter kind of disappearing for several chapters. Once I got involved it was a hard book to put down. The storyline kept me guessing and wanting to know more. All the likely suspects that should get their due were in this story. Highly recommend this book and get your thinking caps on because it keeps you guessing.
The body of a famous Disney actor is found after a landslide due to some minor earthquake tremors. What first appears accidental or suicide quick becomes questionable. Detectives Nolan and Crawford are hard pressed to find answers. A murder in Santa Barbara of a main Disney boss is thrown into the mix along with a video released that was a deepfake but closer to home than anyone realized. Nolan and Crawford are working overtime to find the killer when another body of a main player is found. Who dunit and will they catch them?
The third in the detective Margaret Nolan series works best if you've read the series in order. Otherwise, there are too many relationships that might confuse the reader.
Tracy sets up a great premise here. A Disney actor is “filmed” in a compromising video, but it would appear that it’s a deep fake. Then before anything can really be done, his dead body is found in a landslide.
L.A. is as much a character as the humans in this story. The earthquakes, ocean vistas and high end real estate. There are also a host of characters, mostly mentally unstable. It’s not a flattering portrait of the Hollywood set. But it did make for an interesting whodunit. Nolan and Al have their work cut out for them, especially as the body count rises. There’s also a side story concerning Sam which has nothing to do with the mystery and appears to just be a method of keeping him as part of the story.
I adore Tracy’s use of the English language. “ “Steady, girls and boys, don’t drop my body!” Weil crowed to his corpse Sherpas like a Teutonic coxswain.” And that’s just an example of a vocabulary rich book.
There are lots of moving parts here which demand the reader pay attention. I was able to suss out the murderer early on, but there was a twist I didn’t see coming. It didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the story.
My thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book.
It has been said that Hollywood is not only a geographical place on the map of the world, but an idea and a frame of mind. The author’s success in this installment is that she perfectly conveys the idea and mindset of Hollywood. While I might not have liked the Hollywood characters, they were a true representation of this ‘unreal’ setting.
What I loved:
✔️LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan returns
✔️Shows us the many faces of the City of Angels
✔️Explores the scandals and deceptions of Hollywood
✔️Fast paced crime thriller/police procedural
✔️Refreshingly rich vocabulary for this genre
✔️Hooked for book 4
✔️Reveals more of her central characters backstories
What I struggled with:
🤔Swearing and sex
🤔Too many secondary characters and subplots bogged the story down
🤔Sam’s role was unclear as were the ‘way too long’ glimpses into the Hollywood scene
🤔Mystery too easy to solve
Although I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the previous two in the series, it won’t stop me from anticipating another great read in book 4!
I was gifted this copy by St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
This is a very good series by a very talented writer. This compelling book, complete with Detective Maggie Nolan and Los Angeles glitz, can be read as a stand-alone. Recommended!
Hollywood at it’s darkest, trust no one. Mystery, fractured relationships, multiple murders and enough suspects to keep it interesting. I was a bit confused about a few of the characters in this book as they seemed to add little to the story. Now that I am aware that this is the third part of a detective series I understand that there must be more in depth character development in the first two novels. It works as a stand alone but I’m interested in reading the first two books in the series.
Fast-paced crime drama taking place in the entertainment industry. Who has it out for whom and why? I figured out the plot fairly fast but still a very interesting action packed read.
Thank you Netgalley for this arc
The Devil You Know
By P.J. Tracy
This is another murder mystery with plenty of plot twists to keep the reader on edge. It involves a female detective, Margaret Nolan; an "accidental LAPD asset", Sam Easton, who suffers from PTSD; a movie star, Daphna Love; Seth Lehman, an agent; and various others who love and hate each other alternatively. As people are murdered, it's up to Detective Nolan to figure out who is behind all the murders and why. Plenty of red herrings here!
This is a quick and entertaining read and will delight mystery lovers – especially the ending!
Los Angeles has many faces: the real LA where regular people live and work, the degenerate underbelly of any big city, and the rarefied world of wealth, power, and celebrity. LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan’s latest case plunges her into the realm of privilege when beloved actor Evan Hobbes is found in the rubble of a Malibu rockslide, a day after a fake video ruins his career. It’s not clear to Nolan if it’s an accident, a suicide, or a murder, and things get murkier as the investigation expands to his friends and colleagues. Meanwhile, Hobbes’s agent is dealing with damage control, his psychotic boss, and a woman he’s scorned.
This was a very good and well written book that seemed to capture the life of the privileged celebrities in Los Angeles. It describes the characters so well and the life these people live. It also reminds us that the wealthy are not always happy and have many problems to overcome. I did not realize that the book was #3 in a series and enjoyed it so much that I will be looking up the first two in the series to read. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for granting my request to read this author that was new to me.
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