Rating: 5/5 Stars
Give Place to Wrath is now available on Amazon
Detective Roger Viceroy, divisional head of the Midwest Region Special Crimes Unit, awakes one morning to a bombing in a wealthy suburb of Milwaukee. As he and his team dive into the investigation, a mysterious clue launches a manhunt with scant other evidence to point them in the right direction. Over the coming weeks, the related murders unfold, each with a unique twist and the same clue left behind. Viceroy uncovers one other common thread – a seemingly random association with the small north woods town of Curwood, Wisconsin. As the death toll mounts, Viceroy has to connect the dots and stop the carnage before it reaches the final target, Governor Kay Spurgeon.
Whenever I get the chance to read a debut author’s work, I always feel a mix of excitement because you honestly never know what to expect. The same was definitely true for Give Place to Wrath. With this being Steven Harms’ debut work, I was obviously unfamiliar with his writing. Before reading the novel for myself, I looked over some reviews online and noticed the overwhelming praise that Give Place to Wrath has received from readers. As I began to indulge myself in the novel, I could see that the praise was well-warranted.
The story is kicked off by a deadly bombing and it doesn’t relent. Give Place to Wrath fits into the mystery/thriller genre perfectly. Detective Viceroy (what a cool last name) comes across as the stereotypical detective protagonist that readers of the genre love. I connected with the book for quite a few reasons. The characters were well written and I appreciate the depth the author put into the characters. The writing itself had a strong flow to it, which helps draw the reader into the story and keeps them engaged.
Another aspect I appreciated was the story’s realism. It wasn’t like the cliche Hollywood film where the detective has a “eureka” moment and suddenly solves the crime and identifies the culprit. Instead, the entire team seems to be involved in solving the crime rather than being sidelined.
The mystery is solved gradually rather than at one moment as the reader is slowly given clues as to what’s going on. While Viceroy discovers the clues (or “molecules” as he calls them), it’s the team that connects the dots at the end. Finding balance between the protagonist and supporting characters is never easy, and Steven Harms does it very well here.
I also enjoyed the antagonist, the killer in this story. He is smart enough to be a realistic foil to Viceroy and is able to stay a few steps ahead for most of the story. There are two timelines in this story, one is the present and the other from a few decades ago. At first, these timelines seem like 2 different stories, but they both tie in by the end.
This is a rare mystery book that is a true page-turner, even to the seasoned readers of the genre. It’s well-edited and an engaging read that makes this a fantastic read. One thing I will say is that this story is not for the faint of heart due to some scenes and circumstances that arise in the story. Some minor criticism of the book is that there are parts of the story where Viceroy may come across as a little more inept than he should be. However, it isn’t enough to be a major distraction from the story. As an author, you don’t want your protagonist to be too perfect to where they can figure everything out at a moment’s notice.
Thank you again to Steven Harms for offering a review copy of the novel. I look forward to future adventures featuring Detective Viceroy!
About the Author:
Steven C. Harms debut, Give Place to Wrath, has already garnered two awards including Finalist of the 2018 American Fiction Awards, and been named a 2018 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award finalist. Harms, a native of Wisconsin, is a professional sports business executive with a career spanning over thirty years across the NBA, NFL, and MLB. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and resides with his wife in Oxford, Michigan, a small, rural suburb of Detroit. Find out more about Steven C. Harms on his official web site: stevencharms.com. on Facebook, and on Twitter.
*Note: This review is written by Ammar Habib, the editor-in-chief of Thriller Magazine.