With taut suspense, Devore’s debut features an accountant turned crime solver.
At first glance, Michael Chapman appears to be an average accountant at a prestigious Denver firm. In fact, he’s an undercover operative with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, assigned to detect corporate-accounting fraud in the wake of financial debacles like Enron. When Chapman is reassigned to software giant X-Tronic, mystery mounts as he uncovers a consistent inflation of revenue in the company books, which creates the illusion of higher profitability. The strained relationship between reclusive X-Tronic CEO Don Seaton and his co-president sons, Lance and Lucas, further confounds matters. Working in conjunction with Chapman is Denver Post rookie reporter Sarah Matthews, whose brother died in a mysterious skiing accident when he was involved with X-Tronic. Devore displays ample skill in weaving varied characters into a swiftly paced plot. He includes enough technical accounting language to intelligently inform the story, but he deftly avoids dry, academic jargon. Overall, the dialogue is nimbly wrought as it propels readers through the narrative. The sense of place is also clearly developed: Devore makes the most of Colorado’s dramatic terrain and weather in an atmospheric backdrop. His characters are realistically flawed and engaging—so much so that readers may be disappointed that some, like Matthews, become less prominent toward the end. Readers will likely gloss over the few typos, and although various loose ends are tied up a bit too tidily in the conclusion, most readers won’t care a bit. The strength of this debut will have many readers clamoring for more.
Devore displays a sure hand in a tight, eminently readable thriller certain to draw a substantial following.