The Devil and the Fool

A JJ Gilbert Mystery

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
422 Pages
Reviewed on 06/18/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite

A medium whose abilities are on the fritz must rely on her determination and detecting skills to uncover a mystery and find a potentially endangered organ recipient in the sensational sleuth mystery, Devil and the Fool (A JJ Gilbert Mystery) by Linda M. Williams. Returning from a successful photo shoot, JJ is surprised when the spirit of her long-departed twin brother appears beside her in the taxicab and tells her she will be all right. A moment later, a truck hits the taxi, killing the driver. Shocked but alive, JJ tends to a teenage victim at the scene of the accident and witnesses her brother help him transition from life to the spirit realm. JJ collapses and wakes up in the hospital, horrified to find her capacity to see and hear spirits from the other side is gone. Devastated, JJ struggles with her diminished psychic abilities and the loss of contact with her brother. Eventually, the spirit of the teen who died in the accident comes through with a cryptic message. But can JJ decipher it before it is too late? Will her abilities ever return to normal?

The Devil and the Fool (A JJ Gilbert Mystery) by Linda M. Williams is a suspenseful cozy mystery flavored with the essence of the paranormal. The elements of a unique and determined protagonist, an intense plot marked by the main character's conflicts, and a riveting storyline create a splendid story of loss, rebirth, and personal growth. The twists and turns within the plot are intriguing, and I couldn't put the book down until I reached the stunning conclusion. With her stubbornness and incredible puzzling skills, JJ's character is engaging and lovable. Even though it is the fifth book in the series, the characters and their histories are skillfully blended into the story, making it easy to know and relate to them. This is an extraordinary novel, and fans of cozy mysteries with a paranormal flair will not want to miss reading this series.

K.C. Finn

The Devil and the Fool: A JJ Gilbert Mystery is a work of fiction in the paranormal mystery, thriller, and interpersonal drama sub-genres, and was penned by author Linda M. Williams. The work is intended for the general adult reading audience, and follows on from other mysteries in the series but can be read as a standalone case. We return to protagonist JJ to find her at a very difficult crossroads in her life, where she is not only overcome with grief but has lost one of her most useful powers in communicating with those who have passed on to the other side. So when the case of a young man whom she wasn’t able to save in life comes calling, JJ has to gather all her wits and take some new creative leaps to succeed.

Author Linda M. Williams has crafted a very engrossing and exciting work of fiction with plenty of new innovations and unique approaches to the paranormal detective drama genre to offer its readers. Starting with JJ on the back foot in terms of her abilities and emotional state was genius, as it rehashes everything existing readers might know and expect from the series and gives Williams the chance to really shine in a whole new direction. I also really enjoyed the narrative style, especially when the plot presented new challenges, and we could see the process of how JJ overcomes these with a close emotional tie to her at all times. Overall, I would highly recommend The Devil and the Fool: A JJ Gilbert Mystery to fans of original and entertaining mysteries, immersive emotional paranormal dramas, and for readers of the existing series looking for a whole new twist.

Ruffina Oserio

The Devil and the Fool: A JJ Gilbert Mystery by Linda M. Williams is a skillfully plotted and well-written mystery with strong characters. It follows JJ Gilbert, who finds herself at an impasse, losing her power to communicate with the dead and still reeling from another big loss. The spirit of a young man desperately needs help and JJ must use other methods to decode the message and protect another life from grave danger. Can she regain her gift as a medium and solve a growing conundrum or will she continue to fumble as a rookie investigator, relying on others for help?

This is an engaging story with enjoyable characters. It starts in the heat of action, involving an accident. Readers are introduced to a young boy called Colin and JJ’s departed brother, Jackson. Their relationships are written with ingenuity and I particularly enjoyed the one between young Colin, involved in an accident, and JJ, and the part Colin plays in saving lives. JJ is a likable character, and while she has unique powers, she is real and human, struggling to unravel mysteries on the path she must walk to solve crimes. Linda M. Williams writes in excellent prose and has a unique gift for character. The Devil and the Fool: A JJ Gilbert Mystery has an irresistible appeal to readers who enjoy sleuth novels and elaborately developed characters. The strong imagery fills the pages, even those of ghosts that can’t be seen, and the characters leap off the pages with life, infused with realism. This author brings a fresh new perspective to sleuthing and the paranormal and she writes in a voice that can’t be ignored.