Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Carole Sutton
Recovering from the trauma of her own brutal attack and subsequent personal tragedies, detective Hannah Ford attempts to regain her career and life by going undercover to investigate drug trafficking in a small Australian coastal town. But things quickly become more complicated for Hannah when a local bar maid’s body turns up in a newly excavated grave. Convinced these events may be connected, Hannah investigates both crimes in hopes of finding the truth. Unfortunately, she must battle her past demons haunting her every move while the town’s killer soon stalks her as their next victim.
For those who have ever lived in or visited a small town, there is something special about the way everyone knows everyone else – their families, their past, their desires, and their secrets. But while the town’s residents are inviting to visitors, being able to be truly taken in and trusted as one of their own is quite a different matter. Inherent in these small towns is a mistrust of outsiders especially when something untoward such as a murder takes place. Suddenly everyone clams up concerned that external prying eyes may discover secrets folks would rather have left buried and forgotten. In And the Devil Laughed, Sutton does a marvelous job at creating such a small town. Her characters are wonderfully complex, flawed, and filled with intrigue – each one having their own personal hardships, interests – and more often than not – something to hide. The isolation of this tight knit community further adds to the overall ambiance of this unique mystery.
As in her debut novel, Ferryman, Sutton draws on her sea fairing experience to provide the reader with a sense of realism that can only be achieved by someone having a love and passion for sailing. In Agatha Christie flair, Sutton introduces us skillfully to an eclectic mix of characters each having their own potential reasons for committing the crime. I, for one, was left guessing until the very satisfying and action packed ending.
Sutton’s readers will not be disappointed. And the Devil Laughed is an entertaining and engaging read.