The Devil's Song

The Devil's Song

by Lauren Stahl

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Overview

"Family secrets, childhood memories, and old crimes influence the present in this suspenseful debut. Kate is a gutsy character, and her romance with Sam is enjoyable. An open-ended finale leaves room for future conflicts within the Magda family...A solid bet for fans of dark crime dramas."
Library Journal

"[An] exciting first novel...Stahl keeps the reader on a roller-coaster ride with unexpected twists and turns to the end."
Publishers Weekly

"It's a thrilling story about a young prosecutor, her prominent judge father and a shocking crime."
The Citizens' Voice (Wilkes-Barre, PA)

"There's never a dull moment in Lauren Stahl's The Devil's Song...Stahl allows readers to experience Kate's terror as she was buried alive by the deranged Ron Wells. She lets us feel Kate's anguish in the knowledge that her young cousin might be Wells' next victim. Flashbacks like this don't make for a cool and collected investigation, but by the time the plot reaches its crescendo, it is obvious that Kate's memories—more than cold, hard facts—will provide the solution to the crimes. The Devil's Song is an unsettling read, but a unique one."
Mystery Scene Magazine

"For fans of serial-killer mysteries, The Devil's Song provides ample fodder to keep you guessing and interested."
Tulsa Book Review

"At no time does the story stretch credibility. The story of a damaged womn coming to terms with her PTSD and her horrible experience and making a scucess of her life is really well plotted and rich in detail."
Nudge-Book

"An engrossing read from a first-time author."
The CyberLibrarian

"Exciting and realistic."
The Book Faerie

"I was up all night, utterly riveted by The Devil's Song , with its memorable characters, crisp dialogue, and meticulous plotting. It's hard to believe this is a debut. Lauren Stahl is a writer to watch!"
Alafair Burke, best-selling author of The Ex

"The Devil's Song is a book born from those dark places most writers and readers dare not go. It's not just about cops and killers, lawyers and judges. It's about real people with real lives. It's about family, fathers and daughters, lovers and friends, and the ghosts of the past that haunt them all. In this stunning debut novel, Lauren Stahl paints a chilling portrait of childhood nightmares relived, rich with both suspense and emotion."
Keith Gilman, author of Bad Habits

"A racing read by an author who knows how to tell a story, The Devil's Song plunges the reader equally into two worlds: one of killers, insanity, child victims, and revenge; and another of the details and especially the politics and power plays of law, order, and investigation. It's hard to tell at times which world is the more difficult to comprehend. Grabbed and held me straight through to the last page."
S.J. Rozan, Edgar Award-winning author of Ghost Hero

Up-and-coming Mission County, Pennsylvania, prosecutor Kate Magda has been given the assignment of a lifetime: lead counsel on a string of murders rocking the community. As the privileged daughter of a powerful local judge, Kate views the case as her chance to show her boss, her family, and the public that she is more than just "the judge's daughter."

As Kate delves into the case, she becomes convinced that she shares a personal link with the killer, who seems to know intimate details about a tragic childhood event from Kate's past—an event she’d long been trying to forget. Paranoia sets in, the night terrors return, and Kate has a strong sense that she's the killer's next victim. She no longer feels assigned to the case...she is the case, and solving it is her only chance for survival.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781617755965
Publisher: Akashic Books
Publication date: 01/02/2018
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,143,396
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Lauren A. Stahl began her legal career as an assistant district attorney, prosecuting felonies with a focus on SVU crimes. She is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University's Dickinson School of Law and received her MFA from Wilkes University. Stahl resides in northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, two children, and a giant but sweet mastiff, Myra Ellen.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Kate Magda paced the length of the tiny conference room, the legal intern, Winter-Dawn, on her heels. Kate's directive from the DA was to teach the intern the art of trial — a punishment, she supposed, for having the highest conviction rate in the DA's office.

Kate stopped moving and Winter-Dawn's legal pad rammed into her back for the third time.

"I'm so sorry," the intern rushed to say.

"And for the third time, perhaps it would be best if you sat down to take notes." Kate smiled through gritted teeth.

"I'm trying to embrace the experience. You're pacing.

I thought I should pace. You know, like method acting."

"Let's both sit." Kate slid into the cushioned chair across from Winter-Dawn, careful to keep her skirt — the one that was a little too short for court and clung a little too much to her ass — from rising to upper-thigh territory. She massaged her temples, unsure if her current state of exhaustion was a result of the sleepless nights that had accompanied the week-long rape trial she'd just wrapped, or from Winter-Dawn taking the term "shadowing" so literally. The intern had been assigned to Kate for the first four weeks of the rotation, and only a week in, Kate already felt like a conjoined twin.

"Where were we?" she asked, trying to sound pleasant.

Winter-Dawn looked at her notes. "You were discussing the importance of convicting the defendant and then obtaining max jail time." She cleared her throat and began reading verbatim and in the same tone in which Kate had been dictating to the intern, "Max time leads to bigger cases, better cases. It leads to federal appointments and helps launch platforms for political careers —" She flipped the page. "The conviction and sentencing go hand-in-hand. Not getting max jail time after a conviction is like taking Johnny Depp home, getting him in bed, and realizing he has whiskey dick." Winter-Dawn cleared her throat a second time and looked up.

Kate stifled a laugh. She wondered if Johnny Depp was still considered good-looking among the early-twenty-something crowd.

"What happens when the victim doesn't want to prosecute?" Winter-Dawn asked. "Or wants the defendant punished, but not given max jail time?"

Kate waved a dismissive hand. "Worrying about the victim will get you nowhere in this job, other than burned and out of work. Forget the victim. Prosecutors don't represent victims, we represent the state." It was the same speech that had been given to her when she was starting out in the DA's office — words to stand on when a case left an ADA feeling vulnerable and helpless and when the desensitization techniques failed her.

Andy Barber, the ADA in the novel Defending Jacob had said it best. Lure. Trap. Fuck. That was the key, the only key, to being a successful prosecutor.

Kate had been trapped and fucked years ago, before she even understood the significance, though she admitted it to no one. She ran her fingers through her reddish-blond hair, wondering when she had started taking the advice of fictional characters.

"You can't tell me the victim is completely lost on a prosecutor. That's absurd." Winter-Dawn was finally putting her foot down — method acting session over.

Kate glanced down at her fingers, the skin around her nail beds still tinged orange. The rape trial had cost her four bags of cheese curls and an extra hour in the pool each morning just so her trial suits would still fit. "That's exactly what I'm telling you."

"That won't be how I prosecute my cases," Winter-Dawn said self-righteously.

Kate rose, leaning slightly over the table, palms on the plastic wood. "Then I guess you're going to make a shitty prosecutor. And shitty prosecutors don't help the state ... or the victims —"

"Kate!" District Attorney Lee Bowers stood in the doorway of the conference room. "We need to talk about Reds."

Reds was the interoffice name being used for what the Pennsylvania media had dubbed, "The Mission County Murders." The women being murdered had red hair. Assigning monikers to cases was yet another way the police and DA's office subconsciously attempted to desensitize themselves from their cases. Kate also knew the Reds case was intensifying. A case she should have been assigned to as first chair. A case that had, instead, been assigned to ADA Winn, who had a horrible conviction rate and less time on the job, but dished out blow jobs the way politicians handed out campaign pens. A case Kate's overprotective father, who also happened to be Mission County's president judge, had most likely demanded the DA assign to someone other than Kate. It frustrated her to no end that at thirty-four years old, she still needed a green light from her father, especially when it came to prosecuting high-profile cases.

Winter-Dawn rose, preparing to excuse herself from the impromptu meeting. Kate's cheeks flushed, hoping the DA hadn't overheard her harsh comments.

"Stay," DA Bowers ordered the intern. He looked at Kate. "I want the Winter-Dawn to continue working with you. She can hear this."

Why Bowers added a "the" each time he referred to the intern, Kate had no idea, but leave it to Bowers to turn what was already a ridiculous name into something that sounded like a feminine douching product.

"Your skirt," he said, pointing at Kate. "Judge Roberts?" Winter-Dawn's mouth formed an O while Kate simply raised an eyebrow, a half-smile on her face.

As Bowers approved with a nod, Kate contemplated filling Winter-Dawn in on how a short skirt or tight blouse meant a smoother day in court when appearing in front of the defense-oriented Judge Roberts.

"A serial killer. Right before the primary election. Catch-22. Landslide win if we close the case. I'd hate private practice." Bowers swiped his hand in front of his face and squared his shoulders. "Kate!"

She looked up while sipping her cup of cold coffee, accustomed to the DA's discombobulated monologues and hectic thought process.

"Winn's on leave. She blew out her knee. Such a shame ... too young to already have knee problems."

"She'll have to come up with a new position," quipped Kate.

Bowers coughed into his fist while the Winter-Dawn appeared unsure as to whether she should be writing something down in her notebook.

"You're on Reds. First chair." Bowers shoved an accordion-sized folder stuffed with papers in Kate's direction.

"Homicide wants you briefed. Call Detective Hart."

Kate had heard nothing past, You're on Reds.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The Devil's Song"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Lauren Stahl.
Excerpted by permission of Akashic Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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