Author of the Stella Fargo Mystery Novels and genre short stories.
About Making Angels
Stella Fargo Mystery Book 2
Discovery of a long-time body dump across the road from a missing woman’s home exposes that much is wrong in bucolic Peninsula County. Stella triggers a chain of events that changes Peninsula County when she investigates Hannah Pickett’s disappearance. Hannah, an acclaimed photographer, left behind a series of photographs that could reveal the killer’s identity, and an abused young girl living in her home. After Stella receives death threats in the form of a sickening poem from a man in her past, a series of attempts on her life begins. When local deputy sheriffs determine that there are two attackers, a complex situation, more perverse than anyone could foresee, emerges. Stella realizes that Hannah’s disappearance, the abused girl, and the attacks on her life are connected, and that she must stop the killer before more people die.
A book is a dream you hold in your hands. —Neil Gaiman
What readers are saying
There was never a dull moment in The Devil's Safe. The terrifyingly quick timeframe in which Stella goes from good Samaritan to prime suspect in a drug trafficking ring will leave readers reeling. M. J. Holt combines a fast-paced plot, engaging and dynamic characters, and breathless suspense to delight readers of thrillers and mysteries alike. The Devil's Safe Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. -- Book Review Directory.
A targeted woman and a framed man must run for their lives in this action-driven thriller debut. Stella Fargo finds herself at the center of a deadly mystery with one just ally, Egan Bogart, a man she barely knows and hardly trusts. The two are knee-deep in a drug-fueled mystery thanks to the murder of Egan's drug dealer friend Augie, who got killed before a big drop off. Now, the bad guys think Stella and Egan have the missing merchandise, and they'll stop at nothing to get it back.
After a somewhat protracted opening, Holt crafts an intense game of cat-and-mouse, with danger and betrayal powering the narrative forward. Stella proves a formidable protagonist whose courage and inner strength grows over the course of the story. Not only is she facing down drug dealers--she's also being stalked by her manipulative boss, whom she once dated, a subplot that keeps the stakes and tension high. Though she isn't looking for a man to swoop in and save her, she finds comfort and companionship with Egan, who is determined to clear his name and keep both of them alive. Some readers may find that their mutual trust develops too quickly, but they both reveal themselves as strong characters with chemistry that lights up the pages.
Tucked amid the engrossing action are occasional interjected conversations about sexuality and gender that seem out of place, and a few scenes prove repetitive. One unsettling plot thread concerns a friend of Egan's who wants to "mold" an addict into a "loving companion" for himself as she rehabilitates, making him her "savior"--unless Egan wants to "challenge" him for her. The surprise: Stella and Egan voice no objections. Still, the duo's survival instincts will keep readers turning the pages and hoping for a happily ever after. Any crime thriller fan who loves a mystery will enjoy Holt's sharp twists and turns.
Takeaway: This on-the-run crime thriller offers mystery fans dynamic leads, intense action, and surprising twists.
Great for fans of: Ann Cleeves's Vera Stanhope series, Tana French. -- Booklife
"From the terrifying opening scene to the riveting end, Stella Fargo handles everything this story throws at her with a partner she barely knows, and a cast of villains who keep her in mortal danger to the very end. I loved spending time in the Great Northwest as Stella fights off the effects of her past and some very dedicated killers." -- Mysti Berry, award-winning crime writer.