The Devil You Know by P.J. Tracy #BookReview #Mystery #PoliceProcedural

Darkness is nothing new to LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan, but in P.J. Tracy’s The Devil You Know, even she isn’t prepared for the scandalous deception of deadly proportions that shakes the very foundation of Hollywood and its untouchables…and leaves her entangled in its rotten core.

Los Angeles has many faces: the real LA where regular people live and work, the degenerate underbelly of any big city, and the rarefied world of wealth, power, and celebrity. LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan’s latest case plunges her into this insular realm of privilege, and gives her a glimpse of the decay behind the glitter.

Beloved actor Evan Hobbes is found in the rubble of a Malibu rockslide, a day after a fake video ruins his career. It’s not clear to Nolan if it’s an accident, a suicide, or a murder, and things get murkier as the investigation expands to his luminary friends and colleagues. Meanwhile, Hobbes’s agent is dealing with damage control, his psychotic boss, and a woman he’s scorned.

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

The Devil You Know by P.J. Tracy is the third book in the Detective Margaret Nolan series. It can be read as a stand-alone, as I did, but I believe the reading experience will be much better if the series is read in order.  There is one support character that is introduced in book 2, and this story picks up on that character where the previous book leaves off, causing some initial confusion if you don’t know that.

Actual Reading Experience:

I had trouble with The Devil You Know until about the 15-20% mark when the murder investigation finally began.  Before that point, the chapters seem to be about random characters doing random mundane things.  I didn’t know why I should care, which made the story very confusing.  I think part of the reason for this is because I hadn’t read the first two books but also partly because of the writing style.

Once the murder investigation began, though, I enjoyed a complex mystery that kept me guessing.  Every time I suspected someone of being the murderer, they turned up dead themselves.  I liked that the story kept me thinking, and that technique kept my attention focused and sped up my reading.

I particularly loved the ending.  To say it shocked me feels like an understatement of epic proportions.


Margaret Nolan is the main character and a detective with the LAPD. She is intelligent, driven, competitive, hates losing, and loves her job. I couldn’t help but like her no-nonsense style, especially in a world full of fake Hollywood types.

Narration & Pacing:

The narration is in the third person, with the point of view changing from chapter to chapter and through many characters.  I didn’t care for so many points of view. I prefer a more focused story from beginning to end, and too many points of view distract me.


The setting is Hollywood which is fun by its very nature.  The location is integral to the plot since the murder victims are all Hollywood types or somehow involved in that world.

Read if you like:

  • Complex mysteries
  • Multiple POVs
  • Surprising endings

Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Writing Quality10
Character Development5
‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness8
Use of Setting10
All scores, except the overall rating, are on a scale of 1-10. The overall rating is converted to the standard 5-point system.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a free advanced copy of this book to read and review.

12 Replies to “The Devil You Know by P.J. Tracy #BookReview #Mystery #PoliceProcedural”

    1. I think so. The mystery was awesome it’s was just the confusion at the beginning that was an issue and I feel certain it would make more sense if you read in order.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I normally don’t mind multiple POVs, but this one sounds like it might have had a bit too many. Other than that I think I’d enjoy it. The Hollywood setting is especially intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Too many points of view is a definite no-no for me. Unless the author is very talented it prevents me from really sinking into the story. Great review though!

    Liked by 1 person

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