Artist & Crime Fiction Author
The Devil Can Wait
Bronze Medal Winner of the 2009 Independent Publisher Book Award
"If you like your crimes fast with brilliantly developed plotlines and believable characters on every page, Marta Stephens’ latest Sam Harper mystery, The Devil Can Wait, is going to be right up our street.
Sam Harper is tracking down the murderers of some local teenagers who have washed ashore in the city of Chandler, Massachusetts and so plunging the place into a hive of terror. What Harper doesn’t know, however, is that the origins of the crimes are wrapped in a sinister plot that emerges from overseas and will take his investigation into the depths of the South American jungle and The Vatican before threatening to harm those he holds most dear.
This is a novel that will have its reader engaged from the off and hungry for more, as each lead Harper unearths builds into a tense crescendo through some superb writing. It is, however, Stephens’ sense of place that marks this book from so many others. In the hands of a lesser writer, things might become a little bit of a mess. Not so here and it is possible to smell the sea salt, feel the humidity, and taste the far of the protagonists on each and every line.
The Devil Can Wait is an absolute joy of a book that deserves every ounce of coverage it receives and the next Harper is already being awaited with much anticipation."
Chris High http://www.chrishigh.com/index.htm
"...The mystery of the murders and that of the ring and its history, make for an exciting story. This book is a stand-alone but I read Silenced Cry, the first Sam Harper book first, and was glad I did. A mystery with a lot happening to keep any reader interested."
Patricia E. Reid Armchair review
"Literarily speaking, the murder mystery genre has been excavated so thoroughly that one wonders how any author, emerging or seasoned, might find a way to put new spin on the unrepentant dastards who commit crimes, and the noir characters, some pensive and some quick with the snappy one-liners, who solve them. How do writers distinguish themselves in a seemingly saturated market?
Ask Marta Stephens. Marta knows how to put a fresh face on old caricatures. Her second novel, THE DEVIL CAN WAIT, proves that there still exists much yellow-taped, cordoned off territory to be explored. Marta Stephens' keen knowledge of forensics and her use of crisp dialogue and descriptive locales allow her to peek over the heads of other mystery writers in this overcrowded field. As Harper stands above the teenaged corpse, we can feel icy wind blowing over a snow-covered, New England beach. Alejandro struggles to sustain consciousness while a thug chauffeurs him through the jungle to his mother's house, and we smell the jungle canopy steaming with rainfall and palpate our own face as Stephens describes Alejandro's multiple head wounds. And finally, Sam Harper is not the caricature of a wise guy, fast-talking urbane dick but is instead a believable police detective rife with character flaws and a doggedly determined persona. THE DEVIL CAN WAIT is a perfectly paced, 5-star read from beginning to end."
Harry Hughes, author of THE BAIT SHACK
"Marta Stephens has developed her crime mystery plotting and scheming to a remarkable degree! The Devil Can Wait is a tautly plotted, driven tale interweaving local revenge with an exotic tale about the twisted consequences of Vatican meddling and demonic prophecy sure to engage every true lover of superb mystery thrillers and making them want more, more, more.
Marta Stephens is a writer who deserves wider public recognition and high praise!"
"This is a masterfully written tale that rides the border between hard boiled crime mystery and an all-out thriller. Her pacing was impeccable and her plotting more so. From the first page her characters reach out, grab you and refuse to let go until the bitter end. She creates the story with such realism, one almost forgets it is a work of fiction. I highly recommend this book to one and all. If you have enjoyed reading any of my books, you will love The Devil Can Wait.
James Goodman, author
"...The Devil Can Wait captivated me so deeply ... Stephens wove a complex plot into a set of engaging and creepy characters and came up with a huge winner for mystery fans. As the reader flows through each chapter, the mystery deepens; twists and turns drive the reader forward as she seeks to uncover the truth right along with Harper. The Devil Can Wait will draw the reader in from the first word to the last, and leave her anxiously awaiting the next book in the Sam Harper Crime Mystery series!"
"... Stephens has skillfully detailed police procedures in a realistic fashion, a task not easy for one who hasn’t worked a real life police investigation. But on top of this, the author has woven intriguing subplots with a love entanglement that thrusts the story forward to its climatic end. The sexual tension between Harper and reporter Jennie Blake is natural and sublime – adding icing to this already delectable confection of supernatural elements, grisly murders, and the stoic talent and courage of one very likeable cop. Don’t take my word for it – buy it and read it today."
Aaron Lazar, author of the LeGarde Mystery series