This review is posted as a part of a blog tour with Litfuse Publicity.
~ About the Book ~
The police say the woman was a murderer. Emilie Wesley knows they can’t be talking about her client . . . can they?
To the world it seems obvious: Kaylene Adams killed her daughter and then was shot by police. Attorney Emilie Wesley knows a different story: Kaylene would never hurt anyone and was looking for a way out of a controlling, abusive relationship. Her death shakes Emilie’s belief that she can make a difference for women in violent marriages. Self-doubt plagues her as she struggles to continue her work in the wake of the tragedy.
Reid Billings thought he knew his sister—right up until he learned how she died. He discovers a letter from Kaylene begging him to fight for custody of her daughters if anything should happen to her. No attorney in her right mind would support an uncle instead of the father in a custody case, but Kaylene’s letter claims Emilie Wesley will help him.
Thrown together in the race to save Kaylene’s surviving daughter, Emily and Reid pursue the constantly evasive truth. If they can hang on to hope together, can they save a young girl—and find a future for themselves in the process?
Series: #2 Hidden Justice
Genre: Legal Suspense
Release date: 5 December 2017
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Amazon US // Amazon AU // iBooks // Goodreads // Koorong
~ Excerpt ~
The words echoed in Emilie’s mind. Surely she hadn’t heard him correctly. “You want me to do what?”
“I want to fight for Kinley.” He took a sip of coffee, and Emilie noted his hands trembling.
“I don’t know that you can do that.”
“I want to try.” He set the cup down and then slipped his hands out of view. “I don’t know how well you knew Kaylene.”
“I thought very well.”
“Then you must wonder what really happened.”
“All week. The woman I knew wouldn’t have done everything they say no matter what some crazy phone video shows.”
“And they didn’t know her.” He put air quotes around they. “I didn’t either, not like I should have. Maybe you knew her better.”
He sighed, a sound so deep and broken she wanted to weep for him. “I need someone who will help me fight for Kinley, help me do what Kaylene asked.”
The words sounded like something a Don Quixote would state with the same level of conviction. Was this a fight she could join?
Was this a way to fix her failure?
Why was she even asking the question? It was her job to fight for those who were likely to lose. She relished the battles, so why did the thought cause her to duck beneath an intense wave of weariness and I-don’t-want-to?
It was almost as though Reid read her thoughts as he continued. “I need someone who knew her outside the media firestorm. Someone who knew her heart. Is that you?” There was a challenge in his eyes that made something rise inside her.
“You don’t know what you’re asking.”
“Then tell me.”
She took a deep breath and quickly evaluated him. Could he handle the truth or would it scare him? While he looked shaky around the edges, if he was anything like the brother Kaylene had described, there was a core there that could see this through to completion.
“Not here.” She glanced around the busy coffee shop. “If you’re serious about doing this, we need to make sure our conversations are protected by attorney-client privilege. That means having them in private.” Where should they go? Nowhere anyone would connect them to Kaylene. “We’ll start at my house.” She’d figure out where they could meet next after she knew he was committed.
~ Review ~
This novel definitely hit a few of my ‘passionate’ buttons. Seeking to exonerate the wrongly accused? Check. Trying to protect an innocent child? Check. Fighting to make sure a killer is held accountable for his crime? Check. Next to the excitement and drama of a case-changing cross-examination, these are probably three of the biggest reasons why I have always had a love of the law and a good legal suspense. Add in a subtle thread of romance and you’ve made me a very happy girl!
Kaylene Adams’ case is one that you can’t help but be invested in as a reader: A woman taking courageous steps to escape an abusive relationship, only to lose her life after supposedly killing one daughter and seriously injuring the other. Her younger brother Reid had no idea she was having any difficulties, but doesn’t believe she would kill her own daughter, so when his brother-in-law refuses to let him visit his surviving niece while she lies in the hospital in a coma, he is determined to do all he can to gain custody of her. But how do you prove she’s in danger from a man who gives every appearance of being a devoted father and grieving widower?
I wouldn’t class this as a thriller, personally—the suspense was much more of a gradual, but consistent build up—but there were plenty of layers to the tension. Emilie is not only fighting a sense of failure over Kaylene’s death, but she’s also struggling in her second job as a journalist; words—normally her superpower—are failing her, and the pressure is on for the next big story. Well, any story, actually! Her boss at the shelter has made it clear Emilie is to prioritize the cases of women who are still alive and can benefit from their help. And to top it all off, she’s being stalked, but she can’t work out who or why.
The story builds, layer upon layer, toward a pretty tense climax. In a story like this, it’s a relief when the romance follows a gentle and natural trajectory without adding further angst to the mix, which is exactly how things progress between Reid and Emilie. All in all, a great read for those who enjoy legal suspense with a side of romance.
I received a copy of this novel through Litfuse Publicity. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ Previous Books in the Series ~
~ About the Author ~
Since the time I could read Nancy Drew, I have wanted to write mysteries. In 2005 I attended a book signing at my local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, is history. There I met Colleen Coble. With prompting from my husband, I shared my dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, I’ve been writing books.
In addition to writing, I am an attorney, lecturer at a Big Ten university, active in women’s ministry, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, my husband and my kids. I graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!), George Mason Law School (JD), and Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management (MBA).
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