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The Devil She Knows: A Novel

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  320 ratings  ·  57 reviews
“A taut, knowing story...Maureen Coughlin is a hero for the ages, a character who jumps off the page and demands the reader’s full attention.”—Laura Lippman, author of The Most Dangerous Thing

Maureen Coughlin’s life isn’t turning out as planned. At twenty-nine, she’s stuck waiting tables in a Staten Island bar, and her only excitement comes from the next cigarette or a dis
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Picador (first published January 1st 2006)
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James Thane
Maureen Coughlin has essentially spent her first twenty-nine years on the planet going nowhere. Now she's waitressing at the Narrows, a Staten Island bar, and her only long-term objective is to have a night good enough to pay some pressing bills. Maureen drinks too much, smokes way too much and does coke at inappropriate times.

On the evening in question, Frank Sebastian, an ex-cop and aspiring politician, is having a banquet upstairs at the Narrows. Maureen has too much to drink, piles some coke
George Lichman
The Devil could be the darkness inside the characters in this book. Maureen, a late twenties waitress. Amber, her mother, never moved on from being abandoned by her husband eighteen years earlier. Nat Waters, a broken down New York City Detective, who buried his regrets in his job and never looked back. Dennis, Tanya, Vic...owned by something they can no longer control. All of them broken, exhausted, tired of a life that they felt they couldn't change because of choices made long ago.
Or the De
Emily Green
On June 14, 2011, Bill Loehfelm, most recently the author of The Devil She Knows, came to Literati bookstore in Memphis, Tennessee. Loehfelm, despite his tattoos and earrings, had a deep, calm voice and relaxed presence. Because the audience consisted solely of myself and three other women, Loehfelm decided to leave the podium and take his coffee to sit with us and answer questions.

And answer questions he did, patiently describing his writing process, publication history, and his life in academ
Alafair Burke
What I said: “The Devil in Her Way has it all: rapid-fire pacing, dialogue that crackles, an artful depiction of the streets of New Orleans, and —in Maureen Coughlin — an utterly authentic, memorable protagonist. Bill Loehfelm is a terrific writer.”
Bonnie Brody
Physically, 29 year-old Maureen Coughlin is a wisp of a woman, 5' 4" tall and 100 pounds. Emotionally, she's a powerhouse, a person with acumen, tenacity, and a wild streak just this side of the Serengeti. She works as a waitress, the same job for the last 10 years and she's just sick of it. It's a nowhere job and she's going nowhere. She lives and works on Staten Island in a faux chic bar with the emphasis on `faux'. She's started college and dropped out more than once but she knows that waitre ...more
This story needed some heavy editing. It was exhaustingly repetitive and frequently suffered from unnecessary descriptive efforts. I almost made it to the end but could not endure any more.
Review for Library Journal published 7/22/11 in Xpress Reviews online:
I'm choosing not to finish this book. Maureen, the main character, made me feel ill. She made herself ill - too much drinking, poor eating, drugs, wistfulness about people who are doing things or have relationships that she does not have. I could have gone through with the book anyway if there weren't two scenes right after each other where Maureen is made to feel awful by others. In the first scene, Molly has the things that Maureen wish she had - a job to be proud of and a good man as a boyfri ...more
“Stop looking for that line I won’t cross. It doesn’t exist.” This is how the bad guy warns off Maureen Coughlin, a Staten Island waitress who inadvertently becomes a key witness to his crimes.

Maureen is a great character. Jaded from years of serving drinks, bright but floundering around in life, very much a working class/blue collar heroine. She is the reason I stuck with the book. She’d work fine as the “star” of a series, if Loehfelm wants to go that way.

I’m impressed with how Loehfelm handl
Kathleen Hagen
The Devil She Knows, by Bill Loehfelm, B-plus, narrated by Renee Raudman, produced by Blackstone Audio, downloaded from

Maureen Coughlin is in a rut. At twenty-nine, the Staten Island native fears she may become a "lifer" at the Narrows, the faux-swank bar where she
waits tables five nights a week. Nursing a strained relationship with her mother, she tries to find ambition in the little things - a gym membership, a
plan to return to school, a dash of cocaine before work - but there's no
Loehfelm's noirish suspense novel revolves around a memorable trio of characters. Maureen Coughlin is tough, canny, and proud. She's in dead-end waitressing job, struggling mightily to make ends meet. She's a little hard to like and make some poor choices, but Loehfelm gets the reader well inside her head, so even her worst behavior is believable, and, at least from her character's perspective, understandable. One night she sees state senatorial candidate Frank Sebastian in a compromising situat ...more
Elizabeth A.
Twenty-nine year old Maureen is slogging her way through life working never-ending shifts as a waitress at The Narrows, a wannabe upscale bar located in a rough part of Staten Island. She knows if she doesn’t do something to make a major change in her life soon she’s gonna end up a “lifer” on the bar scene, a fate she’s desperate to avoid.

She soon has more to worry about than long hours and bad tips, however, when leaving the bar in the wee hours of the morning she inadvertently stumbles upon th
M.H. Vesseur
A good novel needs people more than it needs crimes. And that goes for crime novels too. Bill Loehfelm certainly brings some fine characters to “The Devils She Knows”. The lead is for Maureen, a young woman that comes to life so exquisitely that the author wrote another novel for her, as the start of a series no doubt. I’m a fan right from the page where she makes her debut. Maureen works in a bar and though her life looks sort of glamorous on the outside, on the inside it totally sucks. Cracks ...more
I enjoyed this book mainly for its in-depth view of Staten Island. As a prior resident of Brooklyn and employee of Manhattan, I know how Staten Island is viewed by the other boroughs. It's treated like New York's stepchild. Loehfelm gives a vivid description of the often forgotten, ignored, and disregarded borough and the people who live there. It's a fascinating look at people living on the fringe of society and people you don't often hear about when writers write about New York. Maureen is an ...more
The Devil She Knows is a fast, furious tale of what happens when a young waitress named Maureen sees something she never should have late one night at the local bar where she works. Maureen wants nothing more than to forget what she saw and be left alone. But the people involved have other ideas - and in very short order, two murders occur, Maureen herself is threatened, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out she's next.

Too often people use the term 'page turner' to describe a book, but in
Michelle Delgado
Loved this book- strangely , I was reminded of Stephanie Plum books.No, this isn't like those except for it's about a single city woman barely scraping by and running up against bad guys.Like the Plum books, it takes place in the seedy underbelly of the city. In this case it's Staten Island. Unlike Plum however, Maureen doesn't have hot cops and bounty hunters to back her up.Maureen is desperate,nearly alone and screwed up.There aren't a lot of laughs either. Instead ,there is tension and suspen ...more
Interesting Police mystery/adventure. Maureen is a Staten Island waitress at a swank bar working nights. She's a college drop trying to earn tuition but drinks too much and dabbles a bit in nose candy. Late one night she walks in on a tryst between her boss and local politico who is aiming for higher office. When her boss ends up dead, Maureen feels threatened and tells her story to a detective so that she can feel some protection. She is on the run in the seedy underbelly of the borough, trying ...more
Peter Fiske
Maureen's hot and totally kicks ass. This is very good read. Definitely worth rereading.
I read this book after I read the sequel, The Devil In Her Way. I have to admit that I liked the second book more. I'm not sure if I would have read the second if I read them in order. In this one I just found the main character, Maureen Coughlin, to be too smart for who she was made out to be. Also, her thoughts and actions were too pat for the situations she found herself in. That said, the pace of the story was good and it's a good basis for the second book. Not sure this was indicative of th ...more
Loehfelm does a nice job of developing his protagonist here, who is a much more believable witness-turned-investigator than is typical of the genre. How heartening is it to see a writer who will actually let his lead do reasonable things like involve the police, rather than letting her be ridiculous for the sake of the plot? The mystery ends up being a bit thin, but between this and his debut (Fresh Kills) Loehfelm's an author to watch.
Maureen Coughlin is in the wrong place at the wrong time, and now her rather down-and-out life just got far worse. When she witnesses a bizarre scene in the bar where she works, and the next day Dennis, the bar owner is found dead, she suspects that a local politician may be behind Dennis’s death. When she is actually threatened by Frank Sebastian, the slick politician, she doesn’t know where to turn. Now she’s on the run, but who will help Maureen? A dark ride through the seemy underbelly of St ...more
I really liked this novel. It is a page turner and had me hooked quickly upon starting it. At times it did seem to lag when Maureen(protagonist) pontificates her life and her choices. I was often frustrated with Maureen because she seems so self-involved, even when danger presents itself to those she loves. I kept wondering when she was going to grow up and realize that life is not only about her and that her good intentions put others in direct danger.
I listened to this book on audio CDs. Really kept my interest and couldn't wait to get back into the car to see what was going to happen to Maureen next. The book started out with a bang and just kept going. I got slightly tired of listening to Maureen say she was going to do something and then when she did it, ask herself again why she did it or "what was I thinking"?

But I'd definitely recommend it to someone else! It was a good read!
Maureen Coughlin is a heroine for sure, although that is not what she ever, ever wanted to be. I loved this book, and found myself enjoying Loehfelm's descriptions of Maureen's environment and of her thoughts at least as much as I enjoyed the pace of a very exciting story. Actually, I believe Maureen is an American version of Denise Mina's main character Paddy from her tartan noir novels of Glasgow.
Robert James
II had high hopes for this book and the story started strong but really bogged down in the middle before picking up again at the end.
Good fast crime thriller with a well - drawn, original protagonist. Maureen Coughlin, a tough waitress at a Staten Island bar sees something she was not meant to see. Soon after people start dying and Maureen is forced to reach out for help. Good writing with gritty location and an appealing heroine. I will read more of Loehfelm and hope that "the devil she knows" becomes a series.
Matt Peters
Great story and one hell of an emotional ride. Endearing characters and some down right vile ones too. I was so worried about Maureen, the main character, that I couldn't predict what would happen next. Yet all totally believable, which makes it that much more intense. Might be Loehfelm's best so far, although I'm still very fond of Fresh Kills.
Jul 26, 2013 Dee rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers
Recommended to Dee by: found it at the library
I listened to this book on CD and it made the miles pass more quickly. I wanted to kick the main character in the behind a few times for her recklessness, but that was in her character. This was a fast-moving story with a really creepy baddie who seemed to have almost limitless power. I would read other books by this author.
Picked this up at the ALA conference, it's a really good crime thriller. Maureen is a great character, an ordinary person trying her best to get out of an impossible situation. Vulnerable without being OMG stupid. My only complaint would be that I was hoping a New Orleans author would set the story there. No such luck.
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"THE DEVIL IN HER WAY is not only Bill Loehfelm's best book yet, but it may just the best mystery novel since James Lee Burke's THE TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN to have come out of post-Katrina New Orleans. I can offer no higher praise than to say that I finished it, and wanted to read more. A gem."
- John Connolly, best-selling author of WRATH OF ANGELS and BURNING SOUL

Look for Bill's first New Orleans-set
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