The Raven is a young, street-wise magician (or deception specialist as he likes to call himself) who picks the pockets of the tourists he entertains in the parks of Atlanta, Ga. A PK (preacher’s kid) from Oklahoma, in his teen years he rebelled against everything his father stood for, and when it got him in trouble with the police, he split. After landing in Atlanta, he got a nice little routine going for himself in various parks, making ends meet and needing no-one and nothing. Until he steals the wallet of a local mayoralty candidate and finds himself in difficulty with the Ukrainian Mafia. The three men who come to reclaim the incriminating photos in the wallet were experienced in torture.
Trudi Coffey, P.I., has been hired to find a rather expensive stolen watch and she’s pretty sure our rebellious pickpocket, who is well known at the pawn shops, is the culprit who stole it. When she walks into Raven’s house, he’s tied to the kitchen chair and looks pretty much the worse for wear, while the Mafia gentlemen try to figure out their next move. Her ex-husband, ex-CIA operative, Atlanta cop, Samuel Hill, has been tipped to a terrorist plot called Nevermore but he can’t seem to find any leads. Even his usually great source, Mama Bliss, hasn’t been able to find out any information about it.
Before he knows it, Raven is indebted to Mafia head to the tune of $10,000, Sam Hill suspects violence at a fundraiser/charity auction, and Mama Bliss is the one who is the true deception specialist, holding all the cards of revenge for the death of her grandson, a victim of a gang robbery gone wrong. Throughout the story, Raven’s difficulties slowly lead him to turn back to the truths his father tried to teach him about Jesus and to pray for help and guidance. Eventually, Mama Bliss helps him realize he needs to go home.
There is lots of action and suspense in this fast-paced adventure. The story begins almost at the end, then goes back 4 weeks, 3 weeks, etc. until the climax and it is told from various perspectives: Raven, Trudi, and Mama Bliss. The nice thing is, it tells you at the beginning of each chapter who the narrator is, what day it is, and the countdown to Nevermore. Nappa is a huge Edgar Allan Poe fan, hence Raven’s name from Poe’s poem and its refrain, Nevermore. His first book was called Annabel Lee and was also a Coffey and Hill novel. * * * *