Tuesday, August 23, 2016


"On the run. Fugitives. An ex-hitman and an orphan girl."

Lars and Shaine are back! Two years following the escapades that brought them together in Eric Beetner's The Devil Doesn't Want Me, the pair has carved out a nice quiet life in Hawaii. They escaped the mainland with very little, but have a cool million in the bank and spend their days surfing, home schooling and firearm training. Lars may be retired, but he wants Shaine to be prepared, just in case.

Did I say "retired?" Ha. We all know better than that, right? Eric might write a lot of great things, but the only type of retirement he writes has some serious finger quotes around it. When former employer Nikki Senior calls asking Lars for "one last favor," the qualities that make an excellent hitman a questionable hitman kick in. Loyalty and conscience have Lars heading back to the mainland, Shaine at his side. One quick hit. In and out, no problem, done forever.

Of course, nothing is ever that easy, especially in a Beetner novel. Soon enough, Lars and Shaine are caught up in mobster hijinks, personal vendettas, ghosts of Lars's past and the FBI net that Nikki has used to try and protect himself by turning on his former associates and going into witness protection. And while Lars may have loyalty to Nikki, Shaine has nothing but revenge on her mind when it comes to the man who ordered her father killed.

A  slim volume at 224 pages, When The Devil Comes to Call is what we've all come to expect from Eric - fast-paced, tightly-plotted shenanigans that always entertain, even when everything is covered in brains, blood and putrefying corpses. It's a fast run through a gritty world that makes mayhem and violence the norm.  

Book 2 in the Lars and Shaine saga digs into Lars's past in a new and somewhat unexpected way and introduces some great new characters that a girl can only hope she gets to revisit in further entries to this shotgun blast of a series.

STREET SENSE:  If you like high-octane crimefests with plenty of gun play and action to burn, When the Devil Comes to Call is definitely recommended, along with Eric's other work. Best get ready for the next installment in the McGraw series by reading Rumrunners (if you haven't already, and if you haven't already I'm not even sure what to do with you) before Leadfoot comes out in November.

A FAVORITE PASSAGE:  Lars had suffered a broken heart. Shaine knew he had one, she wouldn't be alive if he didn't, but she always thought of his heart as solid, like polished marble. She didn't consider it had a warm, gooey center. And this Lenore, she turned his heart hard, calcified and carved with her initials.

COVER NERD SAYS: 280 Steps does a great job with its covers, and When the Devil Comes to Call is no exception. Although all the covers have a similar feel, they are also relevant to the content, and this cover aptly depicts all the pulpy innards.

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About Malcolm Avenue Review

I was lucky enough to be born and raised in a nifty, oak-shaded ranch house on Malcolm Avenue, a wide-laned residential street with little through traffic, located amid the foothills of Northern California. It was on that street and in that house I learned most of my adolescent life lessons, and many grown-up ones to boot. Malcolm Avenue was "home" for more than thirty years.

It was on Malcolm Avenue, through and with my family and the other families that made up our neighborhood of characters, that I first learned about and gained an appreciation for the things I continue to love the most to this day: music, animals, photography, sports, television/movies and, of course, books.

I owe a debt of gratitude to that life on Malcolm Avenue. It gave me a sense of community and friendship, support and adventure. For better and worse, life on that street likely had the biggest impact on the person I've become. So this blog, and the things I write here, are all, at their base level, a little bit of a love letter to Malcolm Avenue.


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