Devils at the Door has arrived . . .

By: Susan W. Smith

Volume 18, Issue 11, November 2023

On the very last page of Tessa Wegert’s latest book, Devils at the Door, are acknowledgments. Tessa writes, “Whether you’re new to Shana Merchant or a long-time reader, thank you for choosing to spend time with her. I hope this story satisfied.”

Well Tessa, it did, plain and simple.

Tessa Wegert's fourth Thousand Island's novel.

I, like others who reviewed the book, want to add my two cents . . . I came home one afternoon and I saw the envelope in my mailbox and knew it was the book. I wrote to Tessa with the email title: DARN YOU!!!

"I think my book review may start out that way as I have 1001 things to do today and your book arrived 35 minutes ago. We came home from an errand and it was in the mailbox. I put the milk away and sat down to look – just for a second. Now I have to unpack the rest of the stuff . . . and you can see it is 1:41 – and I have done nothing but shake my head and say – I have to read only one more page . . . one more . . . So thanks a lot, pal . . .  you will be in my life for the next few days – if not a bit less . . . I love it so much."

You see, I am not a great fan of nonfiction, but I have read all of Tessa’s other books and I knew they were not only fascinating, but each chapter seems to take me, the mystery solver, on a different tangent. Good thing I am not a real detective, as I am sure I would miss half the clues. Certainly Devils at the Door had me wondering and wondering.

Of course, one of the best parts of the book are its locations: Alexandria Bay, plus Devil’s Oven Island, and even a trip to the small Canadian town of Gananoque.

When I started that first journey of 35 minutes, I never in a million years thought I would discover what really happened, not only on that September night when a young teen boy died, or the fact that his mother died years before, or the days that followed . . . well, I don’t want to give anything away, so I certainly recommend getting this book for Christmas and your island library. You will not be disappointed, I promise!

Inside cover:

Sixteen-year-old Henrietta used to be happy. But that was before her family hits the national news. Before she – and the whole world – knew she was related to one of New York’s most prolific serial killers.
Senior investigator Shana Merchant readily agrees when her brother asks her to take in his troubled, rebellious daughter for the fall semester. Doug’s convinced that spending a few months in Alexandria Bay with Shana will straighten Hen out.
But when Hen arrives, Shana’s not so sure. She can’t help but distrust the strange and manipulative teen, who binge watches bloody movies and roams the house at night, taking thing that aren’t hers.
Soon though, Shana has more to worry about than missing heirlooms when she’s called to investigate the suspicious drowning of a local teenager, only to discover her niece at the scene of the crime.
What happened that night on the dark, uninhabited island of Devil’s Oven? With Hen and her new friends not talking, and a community determined to keep their secrets dead and buried, Shana knows it’s a race against time to uncover the truth before her niece is upgraded from key witness to prime suspect.

Past Reviews

See our past book review, to learn how Tessa Wegert was persuaded to not simply write one novel, but to make this a series. She also explains how a real New York State woman detective gave her time and expertise to help make the heroine, Shana Merchant, come alive.

This time Tessa has a long list of others who she wished to thank – you will recognize many of the names from the North Country and you will smile and agree, they helped provide vital details that make Devils at the Door so real.

Question: Can I read this book without reading the others first?
Answer: Yes, certainly, but reading this one book will make reading the others a must. March 22:  DEAD WIND: A New Shana Merchant Investigator Novel by Tessa Wegert, Book review by Susan W. Smith

See also a feature interview in: UP Close: Tessa Wegert


Christmas in Clayton/Launch party
Saturday, December 2, 2 pm
The Little Book Store, 413 Riverside Drive, Clayton, NY

Canadian readers: Tessa Wegert's books are available at Beggars Banquet Books, 126 King St. E, Gananoque ON K7G 1G2, Canada. Telephone: 613 463 8998

[Header photo of Tessa Wegert by Hildi Todrin/Crane Song Photography]

By Susan W. Smith, Editor,  

(PS. Susie's reading schedule: "Devils at the Door" opened at 1:05 pm, on Thursday, November 2, and read on Friday afternoon, November 3, enjoyed and mystery solved 2:11 am, Saturday November 4.)

Posted in: Volume 18, Issue 11, November 2023, Book review

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