Review: The Devil Doesn't Want Me by Eric Beetner

Chris Leek
Independent Reviewer

I have read a lot of books with Eric Beetner’s artwork on the cover, but The Devil Doesn’t Want Me is the first I have read with his words inside it. Shame on me, I have been missing out.
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Lars is the wrong side of forty. That’s better than 100 in hitman years. He works for Nikki, the boss of an east coast firm and for the last seventeen years he has been out west on the trail of ‘Mitch the Snitch’, a mob accountant who turned states evidence against the firm. But now there is a shift in power back home and Nikki junior has replaced his old man as the head of the crime family.

The new boss has his own ideas and Lars finds himself well on the way to being replaced by Trent, a younger gun sent out to tie up all the loose ends. Unbeknown to Lars these loose ends also include him. Trent maybe a rookie with only a couple of hits under his belt, but Lars can see the writing on the wall. As much as it grates on him to leave a job undone, he is resigned to babysitting the kid for a couple of weeks, handing over the job and then walking away into retirement.  
Two days after Trent arrives, he does the impossible and finds Mitch, that’s when Lars realizes that walking away was never an option. When the shit hits the fan in spectacular fashion, Lars is forced to run instead, along with the teenage daughter of his long term target, Mitch.
There is more to the story than this, but I really don’t want to blow it for anybody. The Devil Doesn’t Want Me is part road movie, part crime thriller and all hard-boiled action. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Eric Beetner does his thing with some serious style, and he deftly dodges the pitfalls of well worn plots and tired characters that litter the pages of lesser works. For one, it would have been very easy to portray Lars as a one dimensional dinosaur, but Beetner gives him real substance and some intriguing traits, which make him totally believable as an analogue killer surviving in a digital world.
There really is so much to enjoy here, the plot flows easily and never lets up. The dialogue is crisp and shot through with some great humor.  I don’t do the stars thing, but if I did The Devil Doesn’t Want Me would get all of them.  Hammer down people, this one is straight out of the top draw.