Reviewed by Melanie Kline

Jared McKean is a private investigator with issues. He is divorced and cannot seem to get over it. He is still in love with his ex-wife Maria and misses their son Paulie; he is feeling down when he strolls into The First Edition Bar and Grill. Tonight is the first anniversary of Maria and her new husband D.W.’s marriage and Jared just cannot seem to believe that his thirteen year marriage is over and Maria has moved on.

The first person Jared lays eyes on upon entering the bar is a battered and bruised woman. Jared tells himself that it isn’t his problem, yet when the woman finds her way to his table and asks him to buy her a beer, she becomes his worst nightmare.

Jared and the woman – who introduces herself as Heather – wind up in a motel room with a bottle of Sangria. When Jared awakens in the morning with a pounding headache, his last memory is of them having sex. He finds a note on the table that simply says “I’m sorry”. Jared then sees his picture on the front page of the newspaper – wanted for questioning in the murder of Amanda “Amy” Jean Hartwell.

Jared has never laid eyes on Amy and has no idea where anyone got the idea that he is her lover, but things just keep getting deeper and more twisted from there. When he arrives at his truck, his gun is on the floor sticking out from beneath the seat and he knows that he left it in the locked glove compartment. His fingerprints and DNA are found at the crime scene. It becomes quite apparent to Jared that someone is trying to frame him for this and the race is on to not only dodge the police and stay out of jail, but to conduct his own investigation into who really killed Amy. Jared is convinced that this is the only way to prove his innocence.

I enjoyed Racing the Devil, but felt that it could have used a little more work. The story and events felt a bit distanced and while the beginning of the book moved extremely quickly, the rest of the book seemed to be dragging on. In fact, I had to reread the beginning of the book because by Chapter 4, I was completely lost as to what was going on. Although slow at times, Racing the Devil was interesting and I am interested in reading the next Jared McKean mystery to see if the pace of the story has been improved.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Permanent Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.