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When the Devil Doesn't Show: A Mystery Hardcover – April 16, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Gil Montoya Mystery Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

At Santa Fe’s Los Posadas, the city’s annual celebration of the Nativity story, the local man who usually appears in the role of the devil is unaccountably absent. Later he is found brutally murdered, along with his partner, who worked in one of the labs in the Los Alamos complex, and an unidentified man, apparently burned alive in a nearby bedroom. It’s up to Sante Fe police detective Gil Montoya and his partner, Joe Phillips, to figure out what happened. Unfortunately, before they have a chance to investigate fully, more bodies, similarly executed, turn up. Joe Phillips’ humor provides a good counterpoint to Gil’s serious demeanor as chief detective, while information important to the investigation is provided by journalist Lucy Newsome. Lucy’s personal story, first introduced in The Replacement Child (2008), runs parallel to Gil’s investigation, adding a bit to the mystery’s central concern while greatly strengthening the journalist’s character. Once again, Barber takes full advantage of the natural beauty of New Mexico and the multiethnic character of Santa Fe, integrating both beautifully into her story. --Stephanie Zvirin

Review

“Barber weaves numerous plot elements and multicultural strands of Santa Fe society into an intriguingly complex tapestry.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Barber takes full advantage of the natural beauty of New Mexico and the multiethnic character of Santa Fe, integrating both beautifully into her story.” ―Booklist

“Barber hits a confident, fast-paced stride with her third series entry. A past winner of the Tony Hillerman Prize, she is especially good at incorporating the human side into the police procedural. Pair this title with Craig Johnson and Steven Havill for its ensemble cast and style.” ―Library Journal

“Successful mysteries combine heroes and villains, of course, but special ones add a rich sense of place. That's what Christine Barber masters in When the Devil Doesn't Show …. Barber, as always, combines a killer plot with endearing characters. And she adds informative lore about Santa Fe's people, their customs and their connections to the conquistadors who settled the area centuries ago. If you like homicide combined with heritage and history, you'll enjoy Barber's latest installment.” ―Richmond Times-Dispatch

“An intriguing puzzle which ties past to the present and involves the affairs related to an infamous nuclear testing facility in New Mexico. … Readers will enjoy the interesting back stories and the rich Santa Fe atmosphere.” ―Mystery Tribune

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (April 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250004721
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250004727
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #816,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Christine Barber was nurtured by the Tony Hillerman writing community, and is a journalist, so it is no surprise that her depiction of northern New Mexico is perfect. In Gilbert Montoya, she presents a true to life hero, brave but not always right. More to the point, he is a family man, interrelated with many of the people he protects. Celebrities and rich retirees aside, this iconic town in the Southwest has been settled for generations by people just trying to get by. Barber highlights an exception, the bright scientists of Los Alamos, a settlement just north of Santa Fe that was created in World War II to design bombs. Now someone is torturing and killing one after another and there seems to be no explanation. It doesn't help that people who work at the National Laboratory must be tight-lipped as a condition of employment.

The series characters are hard-working and honest. Joe Phillips is Gil's sidekick, a lonely joker. Lucy Newroe (like Barber) has two jobs, reporter and EMT. Liz Hahn unflinchingly recovers bodies for the Medical Examiner. They are dealing with some desperate people, as gangs, in and out of prison, who rule the drug trade have no humanity, and their victims, often Pueblo Indians, do. The land is rugged, filled with dangers, and mostly dry. The weather is extreme, as Barber shows in this story which takes place at Christmas time. Appropriately, there are children to protect. There are traditions to maintain. This skillful writer weaves a landscape of terror and beauty, as she brings her readers along on a perilous and honorable ride.

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The Replacement Child: A Mystery
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved the setting, as I've spent a lot of time in the Santa Fe area and could easily envision the book's scenes and environment. I thought the characterization and dialogue needed some polish, but the author's knowledge of law enforcement, emergency medicine and firefighting technique and procedure was outstanding and made the story more authentic. The ending, though, was too abrupt and inconclusive unless the author planned it to lead into a followup novel. I hope so.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I finished this book by Christine Barber, I went out and bought the other two books in the series. These are books in the tradition of James Doss and Tony Hillerman. Superb characterization, intricate plotting, outstanding writing. Detective Gil Montoya and beginning medic Lucy Newroe make a good team as they investigate happenings in Santa Fe.
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By Gini on December 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good new storyteller. When I read her first book, I had a hard time liking the heroine. By the second book, she had grown and was no so whiny. The story is taut, plenty of clues, good writing. Waiting for another one of hers.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another great story from Ms. Barber. Her characters are well developed and the main characters are people you'd like to have on your side if you were in trouble. If you enjoy mysteries and New Mexico (she gets the details right), you should enjoy her books.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really like Chisine Barber's books; particularly since Santa Fe is my home town. I like the stories she tells and the accuracy of the locations, speech patterns, etc. I hope there is a next book coming that will explain the ending of the book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After reading Ms Barber's first two books I had looked forward to a third. "When the Devil..." Was fun because I live in the area she writes about and gives an almost travel guide for the people and land of our Enchanted area. This book wasnt technically as good as the first two books. However, if you like northern NM you will no doubt enjoy this as a cultural fiction.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Christine Barber tells a great story in an authentic Santa Fe setting. I admire her grasp of the history, details, and scenery of Santa Fe, as well as her characterizations. Well done. She sports a fast-paced style that moves along like a slide show and keeps the reader informed about all of the characters all the time. I'm looking forward to reading her other two mysteries.
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