"The Devil You Know" By P.J. Tracy: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Margaret Nolan is an L.A. homicide detective, known for solving some high profile cases, has a dubious relationship with a colleague, and hates golf, and her parents seem to think her perfect match is a former murder suspect. Sam Easton was her golfing instructor, but also a murder suspect turned asset, a disfigured vet with PTSD, and struggling, due to his late wife, with his relationship with an ex-rocker, ex/addict, hoping for a comeback, and in the wake of Maggie’s family grieving over her brother not returning from Afghanistan, Sam was key in helping her father, the Colonel, find closure. They were, oddly, both killers. Killers is a strong word, but it’s true. Both have killed, albeit in the line of duty, and both suffer from the consequences of such experiences. Maggie is a good cop still navigating her nightmares and fending off innuendos from her partner and mentor, and Sam, having traded his nightmares for sleepless nights, is contemplating the offer of a consulting job with the LAPD. Although intense circumstances have had them crossing paths, they’ve yet to find a bonding moment to bring about more than mutual admiration.

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The Devil You Know
Earns 5/5 L.A. Sunsets … Compelling & Suspenseful Gem!

“Karma would take its pound of flesh eventually. It always did. The universe believed in justice, too.” — P.J. Tracy, The Devil You Know

Kira Tanner, a young model and actress, wasn’t suppose to be at the Santa Barbara beach house, she wasn’t suppose to find the dead man on the bed, and definitely, she wasn’t suppose to end up dead herself. What explosive evidence is hidden in this double murder?

Daphna Love is a popular actress, strikingly beautiful and talented, whose “chronic discontent” is lessened thru her innocent voyeurism. She watches from behind her sunglasses everyday people in everyday situations creating in her mind the details and scenarios of their lives. Although she’s impulsive and demanding, she knows what she wants, but are there limits to what she’ll accept?

Seth Lehman’s professional success has been waning, not unnoticed by his boss Rebecca Wodehouse, and with his most lucrative client, Evan Hobbes, prominently featured in a disturbing deepfake video with a minor, Seth fears he is destined for the streets. Maybe he could get Daphna Love to sign a contract for his representation to fill the void in his bank account as well as in his life. Will Seth’s plan work or be a bridge too far?

Evan Hobbs, once the darling of Hollywood, had himself been struggling for relevancy, but the video, however manufactured, will ruin all of his prospects. He’d approached the federal cybercrimes unit, and Special Agent Darcy Moore is convinced Evan is the  victim of a well-produced fake video as he claims … of course, does it matter when his body is found in the aftermath of a Southern California tremor? Will his public persona stand up to official scrutiny?

Esse Baum, trophy wife of major Hollywood executive David Baum and Seth Lehman’s sister, enjoys privilege with all its perks and problems, but having her party a possible crime scene has put her into debilitating hysterics. Her brother arrives for support amidst his own meltdown, but Esse’s unable to get ahold of her husband … and now it seems highly unlikely she ever will. Will the blind eye she uses in her marriage prove to be more 20/20 vision?

L.A. Brilliant! I chose to go beyond by “cozy” comfort zone with P.J. Tracy’s newest book in her three-book Detective Margaret Nolan series and didn’t regret a moment. The complex drama has several third person narratives, but it’s easily followed and compelling as the different storylines converge with several “Oh my-s!” and “Wow-s!” that punctuate an engaging investigation. The Hollywood community, of course, with all its elitist attitudes, narcissistic personalities, and tarnished reputations is the perfect backdrop for greed, jealousy, egos, and all manner of addictions and deviances that ultimately make murder the answer. The trickle of clues from crime scene to the lab, from Malibu to Santa Barbara, from official sources to accidental discovery from what you’d expect to shocking revelations, kept me flipping the pages til I reached the final shocking arrest. P.J. Tracy’s story was extremely well written, rich in vocabulary with clever references and witty snark that enriched and informed my experience, short chapters (my favorite), diverse characters, multiple investigations, and dialogue that did well to illustrate the varied personalities. A great way to start out 2023 with a candidate for on of my best of the year!

Detective Margaret Nolan series

Deep Into the Dark (2021)

Desolation Canyon (2022)

The Devil You Know (2023)

Be a Big P.J. Tracy Fan!

New York Times Bestselling Author PJ Tracy is the pen name of mother-daughter writing duo P.J. and Traci Lambrecht, and although mother P.J. passed away in 2017, daughter Traci continued the literary work “with PJ’s spirit sitting on her shoulder, cracking wise.” Together they published seven books in Monkeewrench, a cyber-crime/psychological thriller series set in Minneapolis with Detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth enlisting Grace MacBride and her “geek squad” at the Monkeewrench Software to solve some “tech”nically dangerous cases. Traci kept the pen name in honor of her mother and their partnership writing two more Monkeewrench books, then releasing in 2021 this DetectiveMargaret Nolan series set in L.A.

Facebook: P.J. Tracy, Author

Website: P.J. Tracy

To enter to win a copy of The Devil You Know, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "devil,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 4, 2023. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I'd like to be included! tWarner419@aol.com

  2. Another new author to me. Adding to my TBR list.

  3. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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