Book Review – East of Evil

****Special preorder price of $1.99 until release day, May 7, 2023****

East of Evil is the fourth book in Fisher’s Compass Crime Series. I was drawn in from the first sentence—“Nefi’s life-changing day started ordinary and turned peculiar on the way to morning classes.” Fisher’s writing style is snappy and fun, and lots of intrigue keeps readers turning the pages quickly to see what happens next.

East of Evil is filled with well-drawn, unique characters. Nefi Jenkins, the main character, is getting ready to graduate from Harvard. Raised in the Amazon jungle by missionary parents who were killed when she was 16, Nefi isn’t the typical college-age American girl. Fisher does a great job of bringing this out in the way Nefi thinks and acts. For example, the people she is closest to are part of her tribe, and those who betray her must be kicked out of her tribe. Some mannerisms have carried forward into her new way of life, too, like tapping the chest of someone she loves during times of stress to make sure they are really there (although she recognizes this as odd in the US and tries to refrain from it). Learning she has inherited a 10-million-dollar trust fund doesn’t change the way she lives (other than the fact someone now wants her dead!) because money wasn’t a thing in the jungle. Creating a character with a completely foreign upbringing is always a challenge, and Fisher does it superbly. Besides her fascinating background, Nefi is smart, strong, blunt and good at reading people’s emotions in their facial expressions (a great skill to have since she’s planning on a career with the FBI).

Nefi’s college roommates, Cassie and Michael Ulysses Trace the Third (“Mutt” for short), are Marines studying on the GI bill. Cassie bakes brownies and cookies when stressed, and Mutt has an aversion to kitchen duty, PTSD that sometimes has him sleeping outside on the patio, and a variety of t-shirts with sayings like “Gun control means using both hands” and “There’s no such thing as too much ammo unless your house is on fire.” East of Evil features a whole cast of characters who are fun, interesting and, in the case of the villain, cunningly evil.

The book is full of fun exchanges between the characters, too. For example, this one when Nefi is going to hire Arlo, a private investigator who is a friend of a friend:

“Barlow Investigations, how can I help you?”
“Hey, stalker. I have a job for you.”
“Nefi Jenkins?”
“Wait. Is your name Arlo Barlow?”
“Are you sure you want to make fun of my name? Because I know your real first name.”
Nefi gasped. “How?”
“I am a private investigator.”
“I’m impressed, and I apologize.”
“Apology accepted.”

East of Evil’s intricate plot will keep the reader turning pages as Nefi discovers that the trust fund she just inherited has a large chunk missing and sets out to learn what happened to the missing money.

I highly recommend East of Evil (as well as the other books in the series). They are all clean, with God and strong family values woven throughout.

A colossal fortune. A secret reaper. A young woman whose drive for due process makes her the target of dangerous people…

Nefi Jenkins dreams of becoming an FBI agent. After outing her parents’ heartless killer, the Harvard grad focuses on getting into a stellar criminal justice master’s degree program. But her career goals take a back seat when she inherits a ten-million-dollar trust from her late parents…with a hefty chunk gone.

Seeking the help of a forensic accountant, Nefi discovers a cunning thief has been stealing from her inheritance. And with her legacy at stake, the hidden enemy’s scheme to swipe her cash could turn deadly.

Can Nefi restore her parent’s wealth before her investigation turns fatal?

If you like strong heroines, greed-driven crimes, and jaw-dropping twists, then you’ll love Joni M Fisher’s hunt for the truth. Order here.