The Devil’s Wind: A Spider John Mystery

Written by Steve Goble
Review by Sara Dahmen

Set on the seas during the latter days of pirate glory, The Devil’s Wind weaves a mystery for protagonist Spider John to unravel. Trying to hide from his pirate past and get to Boston to live once again with his wife and son, Spider John cannot help but ask the question: who killed the ship’s captain shortly after setting sail? While it’s initially suspected a suicide, the recovering pirate discovers many potential killers on board. He gets help from his sidekicks, Hob and Odin, and they must sneak around, ask questions, and save themselves and others from the worst pirates of the seas with help from unexpected places.

Pulling in colorful historical characters such as Ned Low and Anne Bonny, as well as many others created by the author, The Devil’s Wind certainly spins a mystery that leaves the reader itching to figure it out, too, as the crime seems impossible and no one seems sure of what is going on half the time, the protagonist included. The beauty of the story is the wide cast of characters, each uniquely portrayed and many with their own cadences of speech. Spider John is an aloof protagonist, though, and leaves the reader wondering why exactly one should care about him. Some of the action and conversation suspend reality; what could be a swashbuckling tale comes across stiff in places. It is not an epic tale by any means, but for lovers of a bit of pirate history and a solid murder mystery, this one’s for you.