COMING FEBRUARY 2021 from THOMAS & MERCER
Guys, I love a thriller. Legal thrillers? Yes, even more love for those. This is my first Methos book and when I started it, I didn’t realize it was number two in a series. I wish I’d known that before beginning because I enjoy reading a series in order. That said, it did okay as a standalone; although, some things make more sense now knowing there was a book before this one.
Jessica Yardley is a federal prosecutor who gets involved in one last case before retiring and moving far, far away. Her past has earned her the right to choose a much different kind of life and she’s ready for it. When this last case comes to her attention, she wants to help prepare her replacement before boarding her plane to a new life, but in doing so, gets pulled into a serial murder investigation.
Yardley is smart woman and I like the way she handles herself. However, and because of her intelligence and integrity, I found it difficult to believe she would befriend a victim in the case she’s putting together for prosecution. This is a major plot point that didn’t work for me. I just didn’t believe it would happen. Don’t get me wrong–I am well aware of professionals that cross-lines on a daily basis. Unethical practices are overlooked all too often. I just didn’t want her to be one who would participate. She says there are no legal rules against being friends with a victim, but I think it’s still out of character for her to put herself in that position. Yeah, she’s lonely. I get it. But she’s also getting ready to move and start a new life. It doesn’t fit.
Tara, Yardley’s daughter is a bold character. Without giving away too much of the plot, she’s a mix of highly-intelligent and immature. She’s a savant and could, in later books, be an integral part of an investigative team with her knowledge and skills. Right now, though, she’s making some ridiculous choices. Not only that, but Yardley doesn’t step in when she should and that bothered me.
Overall, the story is good. I can’t help but think that it’s a second or third draft that an editor isn’t quite done with. For example, in the first chapter a sheriff and FBI agent are at a crime scene. Methos writes, “That he barely glanced at the body was no surprise–Baldwin had long known Garrett, a former army drill instructor and now a veteran homicide detective with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, to be unresponsive to horrific crime scenes.” Okay, not bad, but this is the kind of sentence an editor would break down and make clearer. Also, these two characters are introduced in the first two paragraphs of the book with their names and titles and it was a bit “listy” for me; it was as if Methos were checking off his list of characters, which is an amateur move.
There are other issues such as the line, “Some kids came in, probably no more than thirteen.” Thirteen kids? Or kids who are no older than thirteen? There were stereotypical lines in dialogue like the line, “Them models is screwed up something fierce” said by a guy who lives in a trailer park. Methos also talks about OCD, which seemed a bit like a crutch.
The person I wanted to follow the most was the defense attorney, Dylan Aster. As soon as he appeared in the book, the momentum changed. His style, dialogue, and storyline are much more compelling to me than the other characters. In my opinion, Methos has much more fun writing Aster than Yardley. There’s an ease in the writing that isn’t there when he’s writing Yardley. In fact, the biggest problem I had with the book was the plot line. For me, Aster’s chapters would have been a stronger starting point. The way the story reads, Aster doesn’t come in until halfway through the book and it made it seem like a separate story. It was almost as if the first half was a long preface. Again, this is something an editor should spot and help rework.
Perhaps if I’d read the first book in the series some of these issues would be resolved. I would give this book two stars if it weren’t for the second part of the book. Aster makes it worth it for me, so I’ll give it three.
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