Apr 26 2013 8:30am

Fresh Meat: The Devil in Her Way by Bill Loehfelm

The Devil in Her Way is the second Maureen Coughlin novel from Bill Loehfelm, a follow-up to The Devil She Knows (available April 30, 2013).

Maureen, the plucky waitress from The Devil She Knows, has a new job in a new city and is ready to put her past behind her for good. As a rookie cop in New Orleans, Maureen is rebuilding, recreating herself after the events of The Devil She Knows, and she finds New Orleans is still, all these years later, pulling itself together after Hurricane Katrina’s destruction and the wave of corruption that plagued the city before and after.

Researching other opportunities, she discovered that New Orleans, flush with federal grand money, was announcing its first academy class in three years. She started reading about the city and the police department in the online version of the New Orleans newspaper. Even six years after Katrina, she kept seeing words like remake, recover, and rebirth—things she wanted and needed for herself. A new, reform-minded police commissioner had rolled into town not long ago and now sat at the right hand of a popular mayor. Firings, forced retirements, and indictments battered the department. Cops going to jail every month it seemed. All the scandal only heightened her attraction. She saw opportunity in it. She applied. She got in, with an offer of a city job until her academy class filled up. Just as she’d suspected, the NOPD was hot for fresh blood, eager to recruit from beyond the city and the state. And then all that was left to do was fire her therapist, pack the car, and kiss her mom goodbye.

New Orleans is a perfect setting for stories of rebirth, but author Bill Loehfelm also captures the flavor, the spirit, of a city with both a rich history and raw poverty. Especially poignant is the contrast between the new transplant with the official badge and the long-time residents without even a local address or phone number to call their own.

“A lot of families that got scattered after the storm stayed scattered. Whoever handled Marque’s paperwork inside Roots wouldn’t look twice at a Houston cellphone number attached to a grandmother moving back to town from Baton Rouge. Paperwork that says Houston on one line, Baton Rouge on another, and New Orleans on a third? That’s normal.”

“Jesus,” Maureen said, “how does anyone keep track of anything around here?”

Preacher and Dodds traded glances, each giving the other a chance to answer.

Preacher stepped up. “Exactly like this. By driving around all day and paying attention, by talking to other people trying to pay attention and then threading the stories together. Legwork. That’s the job, Coughlin. That’s the city.”

And it’s a city that grows on Maureen from the beginning and a job that she finds herself frustrated by, but utterly committed to. A city that eats young boys alive. Boys who, had it not been for the storm, might have lived their entire short lives within a few blocks. Boys she wants to save from fates that pull her out of bed late at night. Boys who hover between adulthood and childhood, with little hope of reaching one and little experience with the other.

Maureen wants to do well and she’s as gung-ho as any rookie. She’s eager to impress, eager to move up and move on. She’s earnest in her desire to help and she’s relentless in her pursuit of justice for the first death she encounters on the job.

It’s an interesting undertaking for a police procedural sort of book. So many feature homicide detectives or federal agents doggedly chasing after serial killers and drug dealers. The Devil In Her Way is quiet and strangely subtle for a book that starts with a punch to the face. It’s not bold or particularly terrifying. It’s long days in a vest in the heat. And it’s hot nights with her nightmares and sputtering air conditioner. But it’s also immensely interesting, page-turning, and fascinating. And it’s terrific watching Maureen juggle her last days of training and the early days of her new career.  Because it’s not so much a story of crime and murder as a story of rebirth and hope.

In some ways, cities were the same. Some things, she figured, you couldn’t leave behind, no matter how far away you went or how strange a city you picked. Unless you left people behind, too, and Maureen figured she wasn’t ready for that quite yet. She wanted another shot at life before she struck out for the yawning wastelands and built her Unabomber shack.

For more information, or to buy a copy, visit:

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See more coverage of new releases with our Fresh Meat series.

To enter for a chance to win one of five Advanced Reader Copies of Bill Loehfelm’s The Devil in Her Way, make sure you’re a registered member of the site, and then simply leave a comment below.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out entry at  beginning at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) April 27, 2013. Sweepstakes ends at 9:29 a.m. ET on May 4, 2013 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010


Neliza Drew is a tofu-eating teacher and erratic reader with a soft spot for crime fiction. She lives in the heat and humidity of southern Florida with three cats and her adorable hubby. She listens to way too much music, writes often, and spends too much time on Twitter (@nelizadrew).

Read all posts by Neliza Drew on Criminal Element.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Neliza Drew
2. nelizadrew
The setting is excellent. Becomes a character in its own right. You can almost feel the city breathing on the page.
Tony Fitzpatrick
11. fitzp100
Was in NOLA once, would be fun to connect this book to my travels.
David Rainey
14. davidrainey
I would love to read it. Sounds really exciting.
Allison Moyer
16. The Loopy Librarian
I love to read books that are set in New Orleans. It's such a colorful place!
Cindi Hoppes
18. CindiHoppes
Please count me in...I really enjoyed the description about
this book...Many thanks, Cindi
19. maryc
Thanks for the giveaway - love the setting.
Patricia Nicklas
21. pmernick
I've spent quite a bit of time in N.O. and would love to read this.
22. pegni
This looks like a book and a series I could really get into. Just my cup of tea. Would love to share it with my book club. I can't wait to read more.
23. Mary M.
Sound interesting!
25. TerryH
Would love to read this story
Donald Hornbaker
27. Donaldthe
I think that this would be a great read!
Marie-Louise Molloy
28. Wezzie
If it's a mystery/thriller, it's for me!!
29. MESS
iris sachs
30. iris
I haven't be to New Orleans since the flooding. It would be interesting to read a mystery set durring the rebuilding.
32. mosaix
Female rookie cop and New Orleans! Yes!
Melissa Dials
33. Mimi
A city and a detective growing together!
Sally Winkleblech
35. sallyw
Hope to be reading this on my porch in our nice spring weather.
Rosa Abraham
36. ravensfan
Book sounds interesting. Would love to win it!
Phyllis Sinclair
37. psinclair
I would enjoy reading a book like this.
susan beamon
40. susanbeamon
I've read many police procedurals, of all sorts. To date my most favorite of the subgenre are the 87th Precient. I have also read several different policewoman stories, and I can't say I'm overly impressed with them. To my mind, they spend too much time on romance and not enough on the job. It sounds like this book is trying to move closer to a woman on the job POV, and I'd like to read that. See for myself, as it were.
42. Gail Dickey
I love books that take place in NOLA. I'ts such a sultry city with a diverse culture. I'm looking forward to this book.
Karen Cherubino
45. kcherubtx
Great review. It's good to read a book that's subtle every now and then.
caite fitzgerald
46. caite
oh, we all love a fresh start...sounds good!
Brenda Tucker
47. rango3
New Orleans sounds so wonderful and mysterious, good read.
Karen Terry
48. bblol65
I would love to win this book, because I just love mystery
Louis Burklow
49. Nash62
Post-Katrina New Orleans should be a great place to set a mystery. Look forward to this one.
Melissa Keith
55. melly801
Bill Loehfelm’s "The Devil in Her Way" and I don't want to knock anyone down. lol! This book appeals to me greatly!!

Sheila Korman
59. skkorman
I would love to read this book—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!
Suzanne Gonneville
60. Thumbs
I don't like tofu, but I LOVE to read!
Susan Mahaffey
61. Smbirds
A interesting book to which I am already fascinated by its plot.
Renee' Booker
62. renee58
I can not wait to win and read this book sound like a good reading times by the title.
Bruce Hamilton
64. deerwalker
If this book is only half as good as it sounds it will be a must read.

Juli Lear
65. jlear
I love that it's a cop story set in New Orleans---I would love to read this!
Kelley Tackett
66. tackettfamilyky
The link for the entry isn't working. This sounds like a great read!
kathy pease
70. klp1965
Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in :)
Kari Flores
73. kari944
Looks interesting, would .love to read this book.
Eileen O'Keefe
74. scoob
Always interested in meeting a new protagonist; great setting too.
Brenda Elsner
76. brat52101
Sounds like a great read!! Thanks for the giveaway!
77. Lynne T.
I love books and this sounds like a good one to read.
Buddy Garrett
It sounds like a great read. Thanks for the giveaway.
Heather Cowley
80. choochoo
Sign me up. I'd love to read this. Thanks!
82. strangerwmancandy
Wow!! great looking book!
Shirley Zolenski
85. daveshir2005
I sure hope you pick me. Thanks
Neliza Drew
90. nelizadrew

There's no romance. A bit of sex. A bit of awkward, "that was fun, but..." No romance.

Hope you like it. I thought it was great.
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