This review will contain minor spoilers from earlier books, particularly Terminal City and where Alex's romantic life stood at the end of that novel.
The basics: Devil's Bridge opens up a few weeks after Terminal City. Mike and Alex are slowly feeling their way into a relationship that's new, even if they've been close friends for many years, and they're fielding questions most people get to avoid in the early weeks of new relationships. Early in the book, (minor spoiler) Alex is kidnapped, and Mike begins narrating the search for her.
My thoughts: I didn't know I was yearning for Mike to narrate a novel, but when the narration switched, I got excited. This device worked beautifully. It offered insight into his thoughts and feelings, but it also was incredibly effective as a storytelling technique. Although Alex works closely with Mike and Mercer in most novels, I enjoyed the opportunity to just focus on the mystery as a police procedural. I also liked having more direct insight into Mike as a character, including the history of his feelings for Alex.
There's an urgency to this novel because no one knows where Alex is. It reads quickly, and I was completely engrossed. Yet after I finished the book, I felt some frustration for the series. The last few books have all taken place in the span of a few months, which allows for little character growth, either during the books or between them. Particularly given the changes I've been hoping for for more than ten years and expecting for more than five, part of me is ready to just be there. Admittedly, Fairstein has come up with wonderful diversions for Alex and Mike the last few years, and perhaps if I were reading them all for the first time in quick succession it would feel fine, but to wait a year for the next adventure and mind more mystery than character movement feels like we're all standing a bit too still.
The verdict: Devil's Bridge is an adventurous thriller and a unique entry in this long-running and well loved series. In many ways, it stands on its own and would be a nice place for new readers to enter this series. The mystery is superb, but this long-time fan wanted more development in Alex's personal and romantic lives. And with Alex absent for much of this novel, I'm really looking forward to spending time again with her in the next book (but I wouldn't mind it at all if Mike helped tell the story.)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 384 pages
Publication date: August 11, 2015
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