Fiction - Mystery - Murder
274 Pages
Reviewed on 03/07/2017
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

I'm an avid fan of fictional crime fighters in books and on television, and this affection served as the inspiration for my debut novel. I began to write as a hobby, but over time, I realized I'd found my passion. I tried to create a "real" protagonist and supporting cast of characters who sometimes fail but continue to strive to do right and be kind---people you'd like as friends and would want in your corner as you deal with life's challenges. I'm so fortunate to have people like that in my life and I wish it for you, my readers and prospective readers, as well. For more, check out the Background tab on my website:

    Book Review

Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite

Accountable by E. V. Stephens is a thrilling murder mystery where a serial killer seems to be targeting the lives of big money corporate employees. The first victim is a young lawyer found stabbed to death in her tub. Having just buried her husband and unable to stay at home with his memories haunting her at every turn, Detective Val Benchik returns to work. Being a homicide detective and having a grisly murder to solve gives Val the ability to focus on something other than her personal life. When the killer strikes again, the evidence leads Val and her partner to the major businessmen in their city. The Commissioner and the Mayor are good friends with their suspects and are not very happy with the direction in which Val is taking her inquiries. As Val follows the available facts and her instincts, city officials may not be the only ones who are disgruntled with her investigation. Laying her life on the line is part of Val's job; will it come to that?

Accountable by E. V. Stephens is a stunning murder mystery. I was so caught up in the story that I couldn't put it down until I had reached its exciting conclusion. The storyline is impeccable and the plot spectacular. Val is an outstanding homicide detective and someone that you would want in your corner. She is forceful and tenacious, and behind the rough shell is a caring person. Although the deaths of those she cared for have left her feeling vulnerable and, at times, have compromised her case, her experiences have enhanced her skills and ability to relate to victims and their loved ones. Val is a fantastic protagonist, and I am hoping to meet her and her colleagues again. This sensational novel is comparable to the best-selling murder mysteries by authors such as John Grisham and James Patterson, and I believe we will be seeing this author on a best-seller list soon. Phenomenal story.

Jack Magnus

Accountable is a police procedural mystery written by E.V. Stephens. Although it had been less than a week since her husband, banker David Lukas, had been murdered, Bedford Homicide Detective Valerie Benchik found herself unable to resist following the emergency vehicles as they rushed to a new crime scene. The fifth floor loft was elegantly decorated, and the woman lying in the bathtub and covered with multiple stab wounds, had a walk-in closet filled with top designer clothing and shoes. Even Benchik, who had no qualms about her wardrobe featuring no other designers than Levi Strauss, knew what a Hermes Birkin Bag was, and she easily identified the four-inch stilettos the victim had been wearing as Jimmy Choos. Judging from the fact that the victim’s jewelry and other valuables were still in her loft, Benchik eliminated theft as a motive. Dwayne Stuckey, the building’s maintenance man, had found her body when he let himself in for some scheduled repair work. As the first on the crime scene, and having a reputation as a wannabe ladies’ man, Stuckey was one of the primary suspects for the murder of Adriana Ortiz, a 28-year-old lawyer, who had seemed to have everything going for her, but Benchik and her partner were resolved to follow every lead they could find.

E.V. Stephens’ police procedural mystery novel, Accountable, is a first-rate puzzler that will prove challenging to even the most proficient armchair sleuths. Bedford Homicide Detective Benchik and her partner are a compelling, well-matched duo, and following as they try to identify the Friday Afternoon Killer is a fascinating and rewarding reading experience. Benchik’s very recent bereavement following the violent death of her husband adds an extra psychological dimension to this story as the detective tries to cope with the distractions caused by her grief while under pressure to stop the killer from targeting another victim. Police procedurals are my favorite type of mystery novel, and I was quite pleased with Accountable. There are plenty of red herrings to consider and following these police professionals as they worked their case felt authentic and real. I’m hoping Stephens considers assigning another case to Detectives Benchik and Payton. Accountable is most highly recommended.

Joel R. Dennstedt

That satisfying moment when one picks up a cop/detective novel and hears the perfect pitch and perfect sardonic humor of the genre’s best, as one does when opening Accountable by E.V. Stephens, must be like a music lover first hearing a brand new talent hitting all the notes just right. A little “oh boy” escapes the lips, just like an eager kid at the movies … “This is gonna be fun!” The promise of gruesome violence is like the gravy on potatoes. Okay, enough metaphors, or similes. What I’m saying is that Accountable opens fast and hard and strong, with the kind of humorous asides that keep the grimness in its place. Val Benchik, the novel’s homicide detective, recently (and I mean, just the other day) was widowed by a disgruntled bank customer of her husband, and yet she dutifully arrives at a current grisly homicide scene, and though enduring vivid flashbacks of her husband’s violent death, she sets to work doing what she does best. The reader, meanwhile, was quite conveniently hooked at “hello.”

E.V. Stephens spends the rest of her taut thriller Accountable reeling you in, sometimes giving you some illusive breathing slack, then ratcheting up the tension and the curiosity even more. I’m not sure that fish think their last rides are fun, but the comparison seems apt. The author does stretch her plot credibility a bit near the book’s finale, but to this point she has been ever faithful to the genre, ever engaging with her characters, ever providing of emotionally satisfying subplots to pull the heartstrings, and one must admit, she does manage to stay just within the bounds of credence. And the honest reader will admit, it doesn’t matter that much anyway. The ride was simply too much fun; the story too well told.