ARC Reviews


Samaritan Files, by Mary Schwaner. Historical Romantic Suspense. My Review.

Turn of the century New York City romantic historical suspense
Previously published as The Devil’s Dime under the pen name Bailey Bristol

The tattered blue folder that was handed to Jess Pepper his first week on the job bulged with reports of violent crimes against women. All were lovely, dark-haired women, caught alone after dark on streets New Yorkers thought of as safe. They were brutal crimes, by a fellow who was never caught, because each time, just as the young woman felt certain she drew her last breath, a man stepped from the shadows and saved her. Now, twenty years later, the crudely lettered words penciled on the folder’s cover grabbed Jess and wouldn’t let go. The Samaritan Files. Twenty women had survived those crimes two decades ago, because of one good man. One good Samaritan. Who was he? And why hadn’t the city thanked him?

Chief Deacon Trumbull relished the lavish life he lived, a life of wealth and status far beyond what his salary and station should have garnered him. He wore only the best, smoked only the best, kept only the best in his well-stocked private bar, all paid for by years on “the take”, years living on the devil’s dime. He was not about to let an upstart investigative reporter at the New York Times threaten his lucrative empire. That would not happen. Not while Deacon Trumbull drew breath. Not as long as he could find that blasted Samaritan first. He’d learned first hand from his Tammany Hall cronies how to deal with unwelcome do-gooders. And how to make them disappear once and for all.

Adelaide Magee found a great deal more than she anticipated when she brought her violin to New York City. She found a group of young women ready to follow her lead into a promising career as the Avalon Strings. She found the father she hadn’t seen for sixteen years. And she found the young man to whom she was losing her heart, who threatened to ruin it all.

Now Addie is abducted, her father is about to be executed, and an evil man’s vengeance is unleashed, all because of Jess’s reporting. 

And only Jess can save them.


Jess Pepper is an investigative journalist.  His last big exposure piece earned him promotion to the big league.  He now has a job with the New York Times.  It doesn't take him long to find a big new story,  but it could cost innocent lives to put it in print. 
Adelaide Magee is a gifted violinist.  She plays with a group of others in a local hotel and gives lessons.  But it's her work in the bank that enables her to eat and keep a roof over her head.  There is one other reason she has come to the city that might bring her heartache. 
This is a historical romantic suspense.  There are some very dangerous villains who have ruled their patch for decades.  When that rule is threatened they will go to great lengths to hide their involvement.  Will anyone believe who they are?  Can they be stopped????
An intriguing read with a sweet touch of romance.


Granddaughter of a concert violinist, Mary Potter Schwaner began her musical career in elementary school with the family string quartet, but gave up the violin to study opera at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She devoted much time in her early career to performing, directing and promoting musical endeavors throughout Alabama, California and Nebraska. She was Founder/Artistic Director of the Young People's Pocket Opera in Alabama. A move to California resulted in four years as Founder/Artistic Director of the Lake Forest Showboaters, a community music theatre company.

In Mary's "other life" she was a computer tech support and graphic arts specialist and worked as Web Developer for the Nebraska Legislature, HDR Architecture and Engineering, for The National Arbor Day Foundation, and as Director of Web and Media Arts for St. Mark's United Methodist Church.

In her retirement she is a published author, writing novels of historical suspense under the name Bailey Bristol. Courage in a White Coat is her first biographical novel. 

She lives in Nebraska with her husband of nearly five decades and joins him in doting on her grandchildren who, along with their parents--Ryan and Melissa and their spouses--are her dearest treasure.

Mary's enduring motto remains: "May you have the vision and the voice to find new songs to sing."

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