Updated: Sep 1, 2020
The Raven is the second book in Mike Nappa’s “Coffey and Hill” suspense series. This story picks up about a year and a half after the “Annabel Lee” case ends. Trudi Coffey is still running her private investigations firm at a shopping center in Atlanta, and Samuel Hill now works for the Atlanta PD. It appears she’s turned down his suggestion that he return to being her partner full-time, but they do work together on cases that come up from time to time.
Like this one that’s been bugging Samuel. Rumors are floating around town about a plot with the code name “Nevermore”. No one seems to know exactly who is behind it, or what kind of terrorist attack may be planned for the city, but Samuel knows that the word “Nevermore” comes from Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, “The Raven”. Given that his ex-wife is something of an expert, he goes to her to see if she might be able to pinpoint a clue in the prose. But Trudi’s lead comes not from her vast collection of Poe’s works lining the shelves of her office, but from a young street magician she’s met recently, who goes by the name of “Raven.”
Raven narrates a third of the story from his perspective. At just 22 years old, he’s already got a messy history of underage drinking, and a tragic drunk driving accident that led him to run away from home. After that, he bounced from city to city, making a living as a thief and a “deception specialist”- his fancy word for a magician. When Trudi breaks into his apartment and rescues him from being beat up by the Ukrainian mafia, he immediately develops a huge crush on her. Despite the fact that she is ten years his senior and totally out of his league, he is determined to win her over. But first, he’s got to settle his debts with the mafia bosses.
To do that, he has to break into Mama Bliss’ Secret Stash and steal her ledger book. Mama Bliss is a 71-year old lady with a lot more secrets than the memorabilia she sells in her kitchy shop. For starters, she runs an underground gun laundering operation that helps organizations like the CIA and other government alphabet groups. But she also has ties to the same Ukranian mafia group that Raven has ticked off, and a beef with their leader-- businessman and politician Max Roman. She catches Raven breaking into her shop red-handed and offers him a job to come work for her instead.
Trudi and Samuel find out that Mama Bliss has donated an original copy of the magazine that Poe’s poem “The Raven” was first published in for an art auction and benefit dinner at which Max Roman will be speaking. Is Mama planning something big to go down at this dinner? If so, can they stop her before her plot goes into action? What is Raven’s part in all this?
Mike Nappa kept me on the edge of my seat once again as Trudi, Samuel and Raven raced against time to stop Nevermore from happening. I couldn’t put it down, not until the wee hours of the morning, as I waited with baited breath to find out the ending, which didn't disappoint!
Once again, I thought that Trudi and Sam made a kickin' team, and I'll be happy to see them again for the third installment of their series. Raven was pretty much a pain in the butt, very immature. The way he fawned over Trudi, I was like "puleeze, she is so never going to fall for you!" In the end, I think she saw him more like a kid brother though, which was nice. Mama Bliss, I wish could be in the next novel, because that lady is totally awesome. I guess I always like the sassy old lady characters (like Cousin Violet in Downton Abbey, or Connie Tucker in Young Sheldon, for example). Maybe Mike will decide to put her in a prequel someday, who knows!
If you like suspense novels, be sure to check out The Raven, and the other books in the Coffey and Hill series by Mike Nappa.