And the Devil Walks Away
by Kevin R. Doyle
Helen Lipscomb seemingly has nowhere to go but down. Cashiered from the force, ostracized by most of her former acquaintances, and with no real connections left to the community, she's been getting by as a sort of unofficial investigator, doing piecework for various lawyers and bail bondsmen. Her former life as a homicide detective seems far behind her until a notorious serial killer, locked away and facing the death penalty, offers her the challenge of a lifetime. Not to prove his innocence, but to prove him guilty of even more murders than the authorities suspect, murders for which another convicted man, several states away, is taking credit.
“Huh?” The beginnings of a headache developed as she tried to follow the lawyer’s logic.
“Every day that we’d spend in motions, hearings, or actual trial, were we to get so lucky, would be one extra day that Mr. Benson’s part of the news. Do you have any idea what the publicity of the last few years has done to his various companies’ stock valuations? Not to mention their overall bottom line?”
“I get it,” Helen said, leaning back in the chair. “Don’t want the entire thing to go down the rabbit hole, right?”
“You’re not going to try to get him out at some point, are you?” she asked.
“I would if I could,” Conroy said, “and please don’t look so shocked. You know how the game’s played as well as anyone. Probably better than most. It’s my job to get my client the best deal I can. Even so,” he shook his head, “some sort of freedom, any certain number of years, would be too much even for me to pull off. No, Leo Benson, minus all his billions of dollars, is going to spend the rest of his life, however long that may be, in either this prison or one very similar.”
“So what you’re after is getting rid of the death penalty,” Helen said.
Conroy nodded. “Both here and, if it ever gets to that, in Colorado. And that’s where you come in.”
Momma Says: 4 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐
In an effort to circumvent the death penalty, serial killer Leo Benson doesn't want to prove he's innocent. Nope, he wants to prove he's guilty of more murders than the authorities even know about. To do that, he needs former police detective Helen Lipscomb to figure out how another man knows so much about Benson's past that he's taking credit for those murders. Helen, being out of work and pretty much broke, can hardly afford to say no. And that's just the beginning of the story. From there, And the Devil Walks Away is a combination of procedural and crime thriller. Helen is tenacious, and the more she learns, the more she wants to know. The story takes her to multiple locations and jurisdictions, and with that comes local police politics as well as her own notoriety. So, with little help, our determined PI gets herself into some sticky and dangerous situations.
Crime fiction is a favorite genre, and I enjoy both procedurals and crime thrillers, so it was no surprise that I enjoyed this one. The story is well-paced and often exciting. There are plenty of twists, and there are times when I really wanted to reach into the book and give Helen a good shake. So, it's safe to say she sometimes frustrated me to no end. That said, I still really liked her. She's sharp and relatable, and I feel like Kevin R Doyle crafted his heroine very well.
This is the third book in The Group series, and events from the first two books are mentioned in this one. Nevertheless, this book works well as a standalone, in my opinion. This is my first experience with this author's work, and I think he did an excellent job of giving me any information that I needed from those earlier books without bogging me down with too much of that and not enough of this. I don't feel like I was missing anything that I needed to keep up with the characters in this book. But based on everything I saw here, I am inclined to check out those earlier books as well as watch for any future ones.
A lifelong Midwestener, Kevin R. Doyle teaches English at a small, rural high school in Missouri. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in communications, both from Wichita State University. While he spent several decades writing short stories, mainly in the horror field, for a variety of small press publications, in the last eight years or so he’s moved into longer works in the genres of crime, horror and rock fiction.
His first published “book” was actually a short novelette, One Helluva Gig, recently re-released by The Wild Rose Press. His first full-length book, a crime novel titled The Group, was followed by two sequels, When You Have to Go There and And the Devil Walks Away, all currently released by The Wild Rose Press.
Besides straight crime thrillers, he’s also written four novels in the Sam Quinton private eye series, beginning with Squatter’s Rights, nominated for a Shamus award for Best First Private Eye Novel of 2021.
In the horror field, in 2015 Night to Dawn Magazine and Books released his novel, The Litter and in 2022 will release a new mystery novel, The Anchor.
The book will be $0.99 during the tour.