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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

My Thoughts About … ‘The Devil’s Dime’ by Bailey Bristol



The year – 1896
The Place – New York City’s Battery Park


Addie is abducted, her father is about to be put to death, all because of Jess Pepper’s investigative reporting in 1896 New York City.

All Jess wanted to do was show a good Samaritan a city’s gratitude. Instead, he signed the man’s death warrant with one of his first articles as investigative reporter for the New York Times.When his story re-opened a twenty-year-old criminal case, it unleashed the anger of Deacon Trumbull, a corrupt precinct chief who thought his old crimes long buried.

Beautiful and talented, Addie came to the city with little more than a violin tucked beneath her chin and enough moxie to launch her dream – and find the father she hadn’t seen in sixteen years. And she did find him – just days before Jess’s article put a noose around his neck.

Now, in the darkest corner of the city, corruption and greed bring Addie and Jess to the brink of terror, and Jess must discover not only who wants this good man dead, but how to save the woman who has stolen his heart.



Bailey Bristol is the pseudonym used by coloratura soprano, author, publisher and graphic artist, Mary Schwaner; when she dips into her alternative persona, as the successful author of historical and contemporary suspense novels.

She confesses that her favourite period to write about, is the turn of the twentieth century, with her passion and inspiration for this time, coming from letters that came into her possession from her grandmother. Whilst her original intention had been to transpose these letters into a biography about her ancestor, she quickly found that her imagination was running away with her and that many fictional stories were evolving from events described by this great lady.

So with the opening lines of a story under her belt, Bailey set about creating some strong, independent and resourceful heroines to do justice to the storylines inspired by their elder counterpart.

Bailey has a fantastic website, and if you click here, you can read an interview with her; where she shares her inspiration, her advice for aspiring authors and her motivational messaging .. all of which only helps to secure her well deserved place in the writing world of contemporary and historical suspense novels.



Words and the way he put them together were not only is livelihood, they were his life. Exploring the human condition was his pastime. Recording what he found in ways that prompted readers to dance or weep was his passion.


She stood there. Breathing. Then, head still bowed, she raised her violin to its home beneath her chin. And with every vibrant note she’d ever explored, with all the sweet strength she’d ever conjured, and with every strain of loving Jess had planted within her, Addie played.


Elsewhere in the city, the line between dark and dawn eventually began to form. But in the small room on the fourth floor of Sutton House, the line between two lives had begun at last to blur.



“Those who prosper by thievery, thuggery, or by ruining another, have chosen to live on the devil’s dime.”

I was a little unsure about reading this book, when Bailey first contacted me, as she told me straight off, that this was to be the first in a trilogy of books, titled ‘The Samaritan Files’. I was concerned that ‘The Devil’s Dime’ would therefore be an unfinished work, left to be completed in the two remaining episodes.

I need not have worried … this book works perfectly as a stand-alone story; with an enticing opening; a richly crafted, suspenseful plot; and a defined, thoughtful and unrushed conclusion … which leaves you wondering just enough, to be pleased that there might be more adventures to come for our hero and heroine.

It was especially rewarding to see that a US author, has centred her story around the New York City of the turn of the twentieth century, rather than have me find our characters in London, or some other UK location, as is so often the case with historical romances. The background information for the period, appeared thorough and almost lovingly described. I had some great times spent researching authentic American, period words and terms of which I was unaware and I had a real sense of ‘being’ on the streets along with Jess and Addie, as they traversed the deprived, ravaged and gang controlled areas, which were home to the seedier elements of society and those in the dubious employ of the corrupt few amongst the upper echelons of society, who sought to profit and gain from others misery.

This, in direct conflict with the the more glamorous, decorous circles in which Jess and Addie were becoming used to circulating; Jess with his increasingly sought after journalistic and investigative skills and Addie in her aspiring career as a virtuoso violinist.

The back story is a pivotal part of this book and has been given all the due care and attention to detail which it deserves. Each and every element of the history has been well thought through and information is released into the current day storyline at just the right time and in the right way, so as to keep the dialogue flowing and the pages turning freely as this enticing story of greed, corruption and the abuse of power, unfolds.

The storyline is well drawn,  intriguing and one to savour, with the suspense and danger growing page by page, as the couple become drawn into an underworld more dangerous and depraved than they ever could have imagined, where each new danger could potentially be their last, as unknowingly their very lives are put on the line, as they seek to secure justice and truth.

Abuse of power, greed and corruption, which rises from street level to the very top of the food chain in the offices of law enforcement.

The mental abuse towards one man less able than most to control his own thoughts and emotions, abandoned by his family and let down by a system which was meant to protect him. He is living an increasingly drug fuelled exiestence, forced upon him by his masters, to ensure his compliance.

Then, when an anonymous protector comes to the man’s aid and learns the truth, he is in turn, falsely accused of being the criminal and sentenced to death to ensure his silence …. and all this is just the tip of the iceberg!

The pivotal characters of Jess and Addie, are well formed and totally realistic, with their burgeoning romance being given just the right amount of freedom to develop and grow, before leaping from the confines of the book’s pages as the two of them realise that what they have is a relationship in which they can genuinely trust in and rely upon one another, and which is strong enough to cherish and nurture into the future.

All of the secondary characters have great personalities and roles to play, which are as fulsome and complete as those of the two main protagonists. Individually they have some great stories to tell, however collectively, they all inhabit their own space as part of the whole, to create a complete experience for the reader.


This historical romantic suspense novel, was gifted as a request for me to read and leave my comments about, by its author, Bailey Bristol and as such was free of charge.

This will in no way influence any comments I may express about the book, in any blog article I may post. Any thoughts or comments will be my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.


I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a 5 out of 5.


Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • It sounds like you enjoyed this well written novel. I like when the author can draw the reader in like that. Excellent review as usual Yvonne. Enjoy your weekend 🙂

    • Hi Naida,

      I am really enjoying my dip into the historical/mystery/romance books at the moment.

      I have only praise for the style and quality of writing, which Bailey has brought to the genre, together with a cleverly crafted and detailed plot, making for a fulfilling and enjoyable reading experience.

      I can’t wait for the next episode in the series, which will hopefully go to publishing in the Autumn of 2012.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and for the lovely comments, which are always appreciated.

      Where does the time go to? I can’t believe that the weekend is here again already!!

  • I always wait with baited breath, when I contact an author to let them know that their review from Fiction Books has gone live, just in case they feel that I haven’t done justice to their hard work.

    I was so relieved when Bailey got back to me within hours of reading the article, with her response…..

    “Yvonne, I am humbled by your thorough and thoughtful review of The Devil’s Dime. I’m still absorbing your wonderfully crafted review, and can’t tell you what a lift it has given me!”

    That’s me ‘made up’ for the weekend!

    Thanks Bailey, I really appreciate those kind words.

  • An excellent review and this sounds like a read I’d definitely enjoy.

    I’m glad Bailey responded to your review… It’s always a joy to get an email like that from an author. I had a similar response from an author this week 🙂

    • Hi Nikki,

      I think that you might quite enjoy this book, even though it is outside of your normal reading genre. It does work well as a stand alone novel as well, so if it wasn’t as much to your liking as you had anticipated, it does have an ending which wraps up the story really well and doesn’t leave you in limbo and waiting for the next installment.

      It is always great when an author responds positively to an article or review, especially when they have requested it direct with me and not via a publisher.

      It is only just lately that I have started including the email responses in my comments, but I think that it can only provide more positive points for an author, if they can be seen to be engaging in conversations with bloggers and reviewers.

      Bailey’s response was totally unexpected though and I was overjoyed to receive such a lovely email.

      Thanks as ever for the lovely comments.

Written by Yvonne