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Jeff Ollman
The Devil's Kettle
Jeff Ollman, author
Three missing persons cases over a two-year period collide in this novel. The most recent person gone missing, Seth Tryton, has friends in low places that won’t let the case stand as is. Placing his freedom in peril, fugitive from the law, Gerald Hodges, returns to Minnesota to help find out what happened, A couple of associates accompany him as they roam the streets of Duluth and travel the North Shore in search of clues to his disappearance. They discover that Peter Karonen, a local man living in the small town of Finland may hold the key to all three disappearances. He is a man who has lost everything important in his life—his wife to cancer, and a daughter mired in a persistent vegetative state. His dark journey leads him on a collision course with Gerald Hodges and his crew. Complicating matters, the local police discover that Hodges is in the vicinity and pursue him with vigor. Hodges must not only find his friend, but dodge the police in the process.
Plot/Idea: 6 out of 10
Originality: 6 out of 10
Prose: 5 out of 10
Character/Execution: 6 out of 10
Overall: 5.75 out of 10


Plot: The story is engaging and decently structured, and for the most part everything is tied up satisfactorily at the end. However, the narrative could use some tightening to eliminate unnecessary plot points that slow down the development of the story.

Prose: The prose is straightforward and workmanlike. However, errors in punctuation are often confusing and work to take readers out of the story.

Originality: Although missing persons cases are a staple of the genre, the author manages to tell a story is original and features unique and believable characters.

Character Development: For the most part, the characters—both the major and minor players—are well developed and will seem real to readers. However, Gerald Hodges's character arc could be clearer and better explained.

Date Submitted: August 03, 2017

Chris, Amazon purchase

I thought Gerald Hodges and Earl Mancoat were the perfect one-two punch that made this story. They each played off of one another very well. Also, with a lot of different scenarios going on at the same time, the author made it flow effortlessly throughout. Very suspenseful and intriguing. It was made to appear as if Karonen was folding under all of the pressure of being captured and then, all of a sudden, he was rejuvenated (I am guessing it was all an act!) and came out of the woodwork like the evil person he was. I am waiting for the author's continuance of a new story-line that will take place up in Canada where this story left off! Kudos for some fine writing!!

Sott, Amazon purchase

I've read all of Ollman's books and found them very entertaining. The Devils Kettle stands out as a real page turner. The timeline weaves its way through past and present cohesively lending to the mystery's plot. Very nice character development paints a compelling picture of each of the story's members. A most enjoyable read.