Review: Blood Oath – Linda Fairstein

Blood Oath

Alexandra Cooper #20

Linda Fairstein

Little Brown

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9781408710302

 

Description:

New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein explores the depths of Manhattan’s secretive Rockefeller University in this timely, captivating thriller about the deep—and often deadly—reverberations of past sins.

 

Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper of the Manhattan Sex Crimes Unit is finally back at work following a leave of absence, and not a moment too soon. With more women feeling empowered to name their abusers, Alex is eager to return to the courtroom to do what she does best. But even she can’t anticipate the complexity of her first case when she meets Lucy, a young woman who testified years earlier at a landmark federal trial…and now reveals that she was sexually assaulted by a prominent official during that time.

 

Yet Lucy’s isn’t the only secret Alex must uncover, with rumors swirling about one colleague’s abusive conduct behind closed doors and another’s violent, mysterious collapse. As the seemingly disparate cases of her client, adversary, and friend start to intertwine, Alex, along with NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, finds herself in uncharted territory within Manhattan’s Rockefeller University, a premier research institute, hospital, and cornerstone of higher learning. But not even the greatest minds in the city can help her when unearthed secrets begin to collide in dangerous ways…and unless she can uncover the truth, the life-saving facility just may become her grave.

 

 

My View:

Linda Fairstein writes consistently good intelligent legal procedurals and if you are a fan you will not be disappointed.

 

Fairstein has skilfully incorporated elements of contemporary issues and headline crimes (#MeToo and a crime in the UK – sorry no spoilers here) into a twisted and complex plot. Surprising, suspenseful but with the characters and relationships you love so much –I am sure you will enjoy this read, however I did get a sense that perhaps everything was being neatly resolved, perhaps this series could be drawing to an end? What do you think? Twenty books is a big innings…

 

 

 

Post Script: Anatomy of a Scandal – Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal=Entitlement exposed.


Anatomy of a Scandal

Anatomy of a Scandal

Sarah Vaughan

Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 9781471164996

 

Description:

You want to believe your husband. She wants to destroy him.

Gripping psychological drama for fans of Apple Tree Yard, The Good Wife and Notes on a Scandal.

 

Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband, James, is innocent and desperately hopes to protect her precious family from the lies which might ruin them. Kate is the barrister who will prosecute the case – she is equally certain that James is guilty and determined he will pay for his crimes.

 

A high-profile marriage thrust into the spotlight. A wife, determined to keep her family safe, must face a prosecutor who believes justice has been a long time coming. A scandal that will rock Westminster. And the women caught at the heart of it.

 

 

My View:

Anatomy of a Scandal=Entitlement exposed.

Privilege, entitlement, the boys club, he said she said…such a relevant narrative that explores themes that fill our news feeds, make headlines and fill our courts. Who do you believe? For me that answer is simple.  As I started reading this book I experienced a niggling prickling of my #metoo conscience, you know that little voice that says “ look out, take care, give a wide berth…be aware, don’t relax too much, danger, danger.” I felt the possessiveness, the strong sense of entitlement, the threat that emanated and vibrated on the pages; the tension, apprehension, a subtle soundtrack as I read on. How did this narrative make you feel?  Enough said – you must read this yourself and come to your own conclusion.

 

This is an extremely well- constructed, topical narrative that is simultaneously a court room drama and a slow burning suspense told from multiple point of views and time lines. A great read, a timely read.

 

 

 

 

This is an extremely well written, topical, contemporary narrative that is simultaneously a court room drama and a slow burning suspense told from multiple point of views and time lines. A great read, a timely read.

 

 

 

Post Script: The Burden of Lies – Richard Beasley

The Burden of Lies

The Burden of Lies

A Peter Tanner Thriller

Richard Beasley

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781925368154

 

Description:

Cocaine. Construction. Corruption.

The unholy trinity of Sydney.

 

Self-made property mogul Tina Leonard has already lost her business, her home and custody of her children because South East Banking Corporation left her bankrupt. Now it appears she is being framed for the murder of her banker Oliver Randall, a senior executive of the corporation. Her motive? Revenge for ruining her life and her business.

 

When maverick lawyer Peter Tanner is brought in to represent Tina, he bends the law to learn the truth. Was the real killer employed by the bank to silence Randall, who knew too much about their corrupt clientele and business dealings?

 

As Tanner digs deeper the truth is harder and harder to find. Drug dealers and dodgy cops are a breed apart from corrupt corporate bankers, who’ll do anything to keep their names in the clear.

 

Who really silenced Randall? Tanner gets more than he bargained for as he tangles with craven bent banks and a client who can’t talk, and danger lurks far too close to home.

 

Bestseller Richard Beasley’s latest sharp-edged, gritty Peter Tanner thriller.

 

My View:

An outstanding read!

On my copy (and advanced readers issue) of this novel the cover has a stamp that says “If you love Michael Connelly you’ll love Richard Beasley” and as many of you have realised I am a big fan of Michael Connelly – how true this  declaration turned out to be! Like Connelly, Beasley characterisations are the strong foundation the narrative is built on. As with Bosch, you will fall in love with Peter Tanner; his wit, humour, sarcasm, self-doubts, his, at times outrageous (but truthful) courtroom frustrations and unfiltered comments…brilliant. Bosch and Tanner – both dedicated, passionate about their vocations, both mavericks who play by their own rules.

 

Loved every minute of this complex, twisty yet credible plot, loved the courtroom drama, loved the characters, and loved Peter Tanner!

I predict we will see this on the small screen sometime soon. My only conundrum – trying to work out who I think would make a great on screen Peter Tanner. Any suggestions?

 

 

Post Script: The Rooster Bar – John Grisham

The Rooster Bar

The Rooster Bar

John Grisham

Hachette Australia

Hodder and Stoughton

ISBN: 9781473616950

 

Description:

Worldwide bestseller John Grisham will keep you on the edge of your seat with his most suspenseful thriller yet.

‘The Best Thriller Writer Alive’ Ken Follett

John Grisham’s newest legal thriller takes you inside a law firm that shouldn’t exist.

Law students Mark, Todd and Zola wanted to change the world – to make it a better place. But these days these three disillusioned friends spend a lot of time hanging out in The Rooster Bar, the place where Todd serves drinks. As third-year students, they realise they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specialising in student loans, the three realise they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam.

So they begin plotting a way out. Maybe there’s a way to escape their crushing debt, expose the bank and the scam, and make a few bucks in the process. But to do so, they have to leave law school, pretend they are qualified and go into battle with a billionaire and the FBI . . .

Ingenious, immersive and page-turning, The Rooster Bar is a John Grisham legal thriller bar none.

 

My View:

A very impressive standalone from this master of legal mysteries. In this narrative the protagonists are a little like Robin Hood – exposing the exploitative sham businesses making so much money from unsuspecting, potential students – you really do feel for the victims of the scam – and I do wonder if the charade is based on real life happenings? It seems to me like it really could be.

 

The plot is intricate and yet so credible. You pin your hopes on the very likeable main characters, hoping that they can exact justice and get away with the biggest scam since The Sting!  Along the way you learn a little about the about the American Justice System, about refugees, about student loans, scams and about friendships…a very impressive and interesting read.

The Rooster Bar

Post Script: The Ex – Alafair Burke

An engrossing legal procedural/mystery enmeshed in a very tragic personal story or two.

The Ex

The Ex

Alafair Burke

Allen & Unwin

Faber and Faber

ISBN: 9780571328154

RRP A$29.99

 

 

Description:

In this breakout standalone novel of suspense in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on a Train, a woman agrees to help an old boyfriend who has been framed for murder—but begins to suspect that she is the one being manipulated.

 

Twenty years ago she ruined his life. Now she has the chance to save it.

 

Widower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene ever since the shooting of his wife Molly by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago. An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman in last night’s party dress, barefoot, enjoying a champagne picnic alone, reading his favorite novel. Everything about her reminds him of what he used to have with Molly. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best friend posts a message on a popular website after he mentions the encounter. Days later, that same beautiful stranger responds and invites Jack to meet her in person at the waterfront. That’s when Jack’s world falls apart.

 

Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she hears that her former fiancé, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide—and that one of the victims was connected to his wife’s murder—there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great lengths to frame him—and why?

 

For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, to absolve herself of guilt from a tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him?

 

 

My View:

An engrossing legal procedural/mystery enmeshed in a very tragic personal story or two.

 

This is my first foray into the writing of Alafair Burke and I loved it! I should point out that I had no preconceptions about the author, her famous writerly family, her other works other than hearing on the grapevine somewhere that this is a good writer. I am pleased to have made your acquaintance Ms Burke and I look forward to continuing our relationship. This was a very engaging, character driven (nobody said I had to like any of the characters) narrative within a crime fiction/legal procedural context. I devoured your words!

 

I loved the use of transcripts of police interviews, emails and social media posts that added realism and contemporised this narrative.

 

The human tragedies that envelop this story are so common these days we have become almost blasé, the author reminds us that real people are involved who have families and friends that are also impacted by these seemingly senseless deaths. Grief doesn’t care who pulled the trigger. This context made a perfect back drop for the bigger picture story – gun control, responsible gun laws, children and guns – a lethal combination.

 

A sparkling read filled with regrets, guilt, what ifs and a few interesting red herrings that allowed the reader to work through a few scenarios before drawing their final difficult confronting conclusion. A most enjoyable read.

 

Post Script: Rogue Lawyer – John Grisham

Rogue Lawyer

Rogue Lawyer

John Grisham

Hachette Australia

Hodder and Stoughton

ISBN: 9781473627321

 

Description:

I’m not a typical lawyer. I don’t maintain a pretty office filled with mahogany and leather. I don’t belong to a big firm, prestigious or otherwise. I don’t do good works through the bar association. I’m a lone gunman, a rogue who fights bad systems and hates injustice . . .

 

 

Sebastian Rudd takes the cases no one else wants to take: the drug-addled punk accused of murdering two little girls; a crime lord on death row; a homeowner accused of shooting at a SWAT team.

 

 

Rudd believes that every person accused of a crime is entitled to a fair trial – even if he has to cheat to get one. He antagonises people from both sides of the law: his last office was fire-bombed, either by drug dealers or cops. He doesn’t know or care which.

 

 

But things are about to get even more complicated for Sebastian. Carl Swagger is the prime suspect in the abduction and presumed murder of 21-year-old Jillian Kemp, the daughter of the assistant chief of police. When Swagger asks Sebastian to represent him, he lets Sebastian in on a terrible secret . . . one that will threaten everything Sebastian holds dear.

 

 

Gritty, witty, and impossible to put down, Rogue Lawyer is the master of the legal thriller at his very best.

 

 

 

My View:

It has been a very, very long time since I have read a John Grisham adult novel, in fact it has been so long I have lost all memories of the individual book (it was, at the least, read thirty year ago so perhaps I can be forgiven for not remembering the details but having a lingering impression that this author can write!) and that memory is not ill-conceived!

 

I don’t know why it has been so long between drinks? This book was enthralling. I loved the solid, justice seeking lawyer Sebastian Rudd whose egalitarian belief that every person accused of a crime is entitled to a fair trial is how I believe the justice system should work. (Should and does are two very different things though – or am I just cynical?)

 

I found myself cheering on this rogue lawyer, anxious on his behalf, rapidly turning pages and hoping that all would work out in the end.

I was not disappointed. A great read.

 

 

 

Post Script: Theodore Boone:The Fugitive – John Grisham

Great YA read.

Book Cover Theodore Boone The Fugitive -John Grisham

Theodore Boone: The Fugitive

(Theodore Boone #5)

John Grisham

Hodder & Stoughton

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9781444767674

 

Description:

He was supposed to be having fun with his friends, not playing detective and stalking a killer.

Theodore Boone – teenage lawyer and courtroom hero- is on a class trip seeing the sights of the capital city. But he hadn’t counted on seeing the most wanted man in history of his home town, Strattenberg.

Suddenly Theo is caught in the hunt for an accused murderer, alongside the FBI. Theo know he’s getting in deep – and things could become even more dangerous. Because if this case goes back to court, it will be down to him.

Will justice finally be done…or will the killer’s criminal allies be out for revenge?

 

My View:

What a great YA novel – I wish there had been books like this around when I was a kid! This is an interesting mix of history, the mechanisations of law and how courts are run and some great social commentary mixed into a crime novel that any 10-12 year (I am guessing the age group here) would love to read. John Grisham is amazing – author of twenty seven novels including this YA series! The Fugitive is the 5th novel in the Theodore Boone series and yet can easily be read as a standalone without feeling that you have missed out on major parts of the story.

If this hasn’t already been recorded as an audio book – it should be – a great one for the kids to listen to on long trips. A suggestion John Grisham – next YA series – can we have a female protagonist?