Franz Legrand is a private investigator who seems to attract murder more than he does actual clients. After surviving a mass killer’s violent rampage, Franz turned to PI work to put food on the table and get some use from his sleuthing skills. But his recent cases have taken a decidedly deadly turn. It doesn’t that help that a mysterious and frankly rather sinister platinum-haired man seems to be involving himself with the cases and their outcomes. The man calls himself Lucian and he claims to be the Devil. As in the actual Devil. As conversation starters go, even Franz has to admit it’s a good one.
Of course, Franz doesn’t believe Lucian. Not at first. But in time, the truth of who and what Lucian is becomes all too clear. So does Franz’s growing attraction to him, an attraction he’d rather resist and yet somehow can’t. As Franz and Lucian begin to untangle one mystery after the other, their attraction grows, but so too does the risk for Franz and those he loves.
I felt Devil in the Details was, in a word, absurd. This book was billed as a Sherlockian-style series of cases where Sherlock and Watson are in an obvious relationship. Except Sherlock wasn’t the Devil and Watson wasn’t a bumbling PI. I generally try to find the positives when I do a review; every author puts effort and heart into their work. And I appreciate the author of this book tried to put a twist on the classic Sherlock/Watson relationship. But it felt like a swing and a miss at almost every level.
Normally, I don’t care much about grammatical/spelling and general language issues. They don’t tend to disrupt my enjoyment or reading flow. But this book has more than a few of them. There are odd capitalizations, clearly misspelled words, and enough of them that even I noticed. And it happened with enough regularity that I found it slightly jarring and it detracted the overall flow of the plot.
A good mystery doesn’t have to be filled with red herrings or gotcha twists. It just needs to be compelling and it must make sense, or at least be plausible. When a client shows up to Franz’s office distraught because the police have ruled their child’s death a suicide, I was intrigued. When Franz then goes to the crime scene and finds the police still in the middle of their initial active investigation, then the entire event becomes implausible. That isn’t how police investigations work and it’s not even remotely realistic. And there were a lot of unrealistic scenarios in Devil in the Details. Situations that read as bizarre — and I’m not talking about the Devil being involved or the supernatural things. No, it just felt like a lack of common knowledge or realism about everyday things, such as how police investigations are run.
I love the Holmes and Watson dynamic and they were some of the first stories I read when I first discovered mysteries as a kid. So I appreciate when an author tries to do something unique or different with these classic characters. Unfortunately, Devil in the Details never managed to generate much mystery. Too many grammatical and language errors and oddities disrupted the overall pacing and unbelievable situations coupled with a general lack of fictional grounding made this read disappointing. I’d have to recommend giving it a pass.